Listening to the Other Side

2018-04-26 – We live in a world of contradictions. We are more interconnected than ever in history, but the freedom of the internet has allowed us to sort ourselves in a way that excuses us from ever hearing a sympathetic expression of the views of the “other side.”

I try to counter this by following a number of conservative news sources. Frankly, it’s not easy, which is exactly the problem. At first I didn’t even know who to follow. I have quite a spread. I’ve got alt-right sources and Muslim sources and Christian sources. This is added to my liberal sources and Jewish sources.

I have Facebook all confused. (I am not kidding. I looked at what they have on me and it is definitely not recognizable as me! Y’all might want to try this, if only to fool Facebook!)

Predictably, a lot of what I read from the “other side,” is offensive or nonsense. But a lot is not. A lot of it is good information about what is important to people. Sometimes I learn that the “other side” has wants and wishes that 100% mirror my own. And the frustration arises that we can’t get together on these things because they and we are labeled “other.”

If you don’t read what the other side has to say, you never learn that you have something in common.

Wednesday, I read two pieces and watched one video that proved the point to me.

  • The first one came from Breitbart (yes, I read Breitbart): Exclusive—Ted Cruz: Use Antitrust Laws to Break ‘Massive Power’ of Tech Lords to ‘Subvert our Democratic Process.’ This article has positives and negatives. It wouldn’t be Breitbart without negatives! That’s their brand. They’ve got to bash the MSM and social media—even though Breitbart exists only because of social media. So what are the positives? The recognition that concentration of power might not always be a good idea, and the idea that antitrust laws might be useful in breaking up that concentration. The idea of using antitrust laws seems quaint after 30 years of GOP-led (but Dem following) non-enforcement of these powerful laws. But the idea of antitrust laws is to keep things competitive. No business so large that it dominates. That should apply to social media. It should apply to banks. It should apply to airlines. It should apply to internet retailers. The list goes on.
  • The second one comes from one of the New York Times conservative columnists, Ross Douthat. (Anyone know how to pronounce his name? Is it “doubt that”?) Liberalism’s Golden Dream. In this article he talks about how liberal principles are at work in California. So far, nothing new. But then he points to the consequences of gentrification to an entire state. Liberalism shouldn’t be pushing out lower class people. If it’s happening, it needs to be called out and fixed. I don’t care who calls it out.
  • The third one is a video: Trevor Noah interviewing Jonah Goldberg from National Review on his new book “Suicide of the West and Preserving the American Experiment.” Two take-aways from this. First: although Goldberg is pretty solidly right wing, he’s not an ogre. I disagree with a lot of what he says, but he’s not an ogre. Second, and more important, watch how the two men discuss the ideas in Goldberg’s book. Noah doesn’t do a namby-pamby interview. He asks hard questions, but they are not gotchas. They bring out the issues. Goldberg is definitely challenged, but the give and take is something your rarely see.

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