I hope that you are well, feeling accepted, loved, and if you do not feel empowered, that at least you feel comfortable with your existence. If not today, then surely tomorrow, with renewed resolution, may you advance your work, your art, your connections.
Here is today’s stream from The Majority Report with Sam Seder and friends. I love Sam and the gang, and if you have yet to watch this YouTube channel as a means of political commentary, then I would advise that you check it out!
I have been going through my posts, trying to fix broken links, making little (appropriate) edits along the way. More to that, I have not been shy about pointing out when and where I have held up a person, an idea, or a publication that I do not, today, agree with. There’s quite a bit of such content, such prior takes of mine, such beliefs as I would today frame as lazy, as errors, as naivete, as the efficacy and virulence of bad information –a testament to how well false information can spread.
I often, well… in bursts, and with healthy breaks, do find myself in conversation, in what would be nice to be arguments upon reality, facts we can agree upon, and reason, as we proceed through the arguments, with modern right-aligned persons.
That is, I am often talking with those who I would characterize as being modern right-wing populists (supporters of Trump, of the Trump GOP, and of publications and ideas which pander to them), and in these talks, I am often reminded (and I often remind them), that I was once where they were.
Yes, there was a time when I was such a mind that if I met my then-self on the street, today, I would likely think I was smart enough, but I would worry and wonder why I believed this, that, and the other thing which would seem boorish, uninformed, generally contemptable to my modern self.
There are posts on this blog which may well undermine, if not merely dismiss such ideas as feminism. There are posts which are fearful of global cooperation, and there was much thinking, then, by way of paranoid conspiracy theories.
I certainly hope there aren’t any climate-change denial trash in here, but, as I said, there was a time when I was scared, tricked into believing such things as I am really not interested in admitting. In fact… it was as recently as 2016 that I was captured by some of the same lies and propaganda which presently holds the right. I shudder at the thought of how I may have reacted to the Black Lives Matter, movement, back in 2008, 2009, 2010…
Was I a supporter of Trump, naively, in 2016? Well, I do not believe so, but I do recall being of such a… malaise, a creeping nihilism as to not be as politically active and informed as I am today, as I see as being a necessity, today.
I can see people, today, taking positions, making arguments (or repeating arguments) that I once may have made, that I may have repeated. I have been there.
Of course, I have not been four years deep into such lies and propaganda, and so, despite once having common roots in prior errors, I am too far removed, and they, too alien from my own perspective for these talks to really go anywhere.
I have had temporary breakthroughs with persons of such beliefs. However, since each of us stews within our own realities, it’s as simple as going to sleep, waking up to the same news sources, to the same reason and beliefs and errors of the day before, and then all that which I perceived as progress with this or that other, then becomes no progress at all –we may as well have not even had a conversation.
The few (aforementioned) temporary successes are overshadowed by a great wealth of irrational, unhelpful discord, a disagreement from which there can be no path to agreement, at least not with respect to any of the core beliefs, nor the facts and beliefs which must support these.
Our perceptual filters are of a form that, unless we are diligent, rigorous in questioning our positions and beliefs, then we are likely doomed to have our biases only entrenched further, as we easily accept material which confirms our beliefs, and as we find comfort in the rejection of that which, if true, and if we were reasonable, ought to shake our beliefs.
Such talks about Trump and Trump-aligned thought typically go quite poorly. This is so, because their core narratives require the belief that the institutions which I would deem reputable and trustworthy, are not, in fact, to be trusted at all, and that what I perceive as Trump and the GOP being backward, unintelligent, untrustworthy, acting against the common good of America, her allies, and the world, future, et al is actually my error in perception.
Indeed, to believe Trump’s position, so far as I can tell, one must believe that Trump is fighting a deep state which wants to stop him… to… hurt America? Or to make America communist? One must believe that the media lies about Trump, and that he is actually very-very intelligent, kind, and is a selfless statesperson who has America’s best interest at heart. You can see how impossible it would be to have a real (useful) argument with such a person, can’t you?
If Trump isn’t an incurious moron, a huckster pandering to the lowest common denominator, then where shall we find reputable proof of this? We must use Breitbart? We must use OAN? We must use Fox and Friends on a day when they are particularly kind to the president? We must use Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Qanon? And yet, we cannot use the New York Times, we cannot use the CBC, we cannot use The Globe and Mail, not Reuters, nor any source who does not, themselves, parade the populist narrative that the media lies about the president, and that the president is guilty only of being unpopular in the eyes of the establishment.
It’s not possible. I’m not going to take 4chan as a source, and they are not going to take NPR as a source. I will be dubious of the GOP-controlled senate, and they will be dismissive of the Democrat-controlled house.
And since it is not possible for either side to reason with each other… then… well, I don’t yet see a way ahead, a way through what has been developing for the last four years.
Beyond mere identity politics, tribalism, and an understandable unawareness of what is happening to them (I’ve been there), I truly do not understand how it is that an intelligent person can be duped so, and how they can take on the charge, to defend such things as they cannot, themselves, understand, and to do so for so many years…
People who “do not believe in climate change”, in fact, don’t know what they believe. You cannot understand climate science, and then not believe it. That’s not how it works. You either understand it, and then you know that climate change is a real problem that needs collective action, or you repeat what you have heard and read in your political circles, that climate change isn’t real, and this lies in place of what otherwise would be an interest in understanding, and/or the consequent understanding of having looked into the subject with an actual interest in knowing what is what.
How a person can change over the course of ten years. University, newsroom experience, newsy and philosophy friends, late night talks, many old books by brilliant humans, paying more attention to politics, science, my prejudices; and to, in effect, be shielded by the worst of the disinformation, a mere product of my being a progressive, of having built such an understanding of the world that I have no reason to dislike the opposite sex, or to disparage other races, or to support someone like Trump.
Depending on how you look at it, I have either believed things in the past which I find boorish, dumb, offensive (if I may be so mean to myself), or… well, and/or, I have grown, and where I believed one thing, I now have come to look at it, to look at these things with more information, more context, et al.
I should here like to say that I would like to apologize for much of what is posted here.
There was a time when I was comfortable saying that pretty much whatever Joe Rogan has to say, or thinks, that I, too, believed this, that I support it. Well, of late (especially so), I am really not very happy with Joe Rogan, as I don’t believe he does enough to protect himself, and his viewers/fans from misinformation, disinformation, and, frankly, outright propaganda.
I’ve said it before, you cannot, as Joe has done, sit down with so many intelligent people to talk, and then fall back upon a position of, “Hey, I’m just a dummy, don’t listen to me”. You can’t. That’s so intellectually-dishonest that it is downright irresponsible.
People listen to Joe, and Joe knows this, and I believe that Joe owes it to himself, and to his audience, to become the journalist that the world needs.
I know Joe is good in his heart, and I know Joe is essentially intelligent enough, certainly enough to lay it down onto fake intellectual Candace Owens.
In this episode, below, Candace Owens tries to do her schtick, but accidentally insists to die upon the really dumb hill of “climate change isn’t real”, ugh, yuck, and Joe recognizes her glaring intellectual fault, and so he holds her feet to the fire, and makes her either account for her comments, or to suffer the humiliation of having to repeat “I’m not going to die on this hill”, while doing just that.
Climate change is a wonderful litmus test of intelligence, in 2020. If someone cannot explain it, that’s okay, but if they cannot explain it, while also disavowing it… yikes!
Yuck, why would you go around saying that climate change isn’t real, or that the science isn’t settled, or that it’s too late, or that it’s blown out of proportion? If you are so uneducated on the topic, as you must be, why on Earth are you talking so boldly about something that many people know quite a bit about? This is like putting your ignorance onto a flag, or a red hat, and then waving it about. It’s bewildering for the rest of us.
So, yes, I will continue to prune, adjust, to update this blog, while also, ideally, not simply removing all the content that I do not now agree with. Some of it must come down.
I’m pretty sure there are still posts which hold on high such names as Stefan Molyneux, Jordan Peterson. The former, I listened to a long time ago, and I thought he sounded smart (yuck!), and the latter, I basically had a crush on… yeah, until he did his pivot, and then embraced the right wing.
If you come across something that is gross, please send me a message, or leave a comment, and I will address these at my earliest convenience. Just know that, these days, I am nearer (I’d like to think…) Carl Sagan, to Attenborough, to minds who think science and humanity can be good and useful, and that responsibility, truth, kindness, social and technological progress are necessary.
Anyway, thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful day.