Siloed Into Oblivion: Parler Is Not The Answer (EP.297)

The last thing that we need is to further bury ourselves into think-alike silos, in the warm embrace of easy thinking. And this way is seductively easy. 
The last thing that we need is to further bury ourselves into think-alike silos.

Introduction

Hailing the banning of unwelcome and disturbing (to you) thoughts and opinions, or joining a resurrected Parler or otherwise retreating to the warm embrace of sites and apps where you feel comfortable and unchallenged is the opposite of what we all need. The basic choice is between: 1. Further separating ourselves into silos or 2. Changing ourselves and our political and conversational environments to encourage and embrace an active marketplace of ideas. Choose the marketplace of ideas.  

That is the subject of today’s 10 minute episode.

Continuing

The last thing that we need is to further bury ourselves into think-alike silos. Wrapping ourselves up in the warm embrace of everyone-thinks-like-I-do, or at least every person of goodwill with a room temperature I.Q. thinks like I do, is lazy, self-congratulatory and destructive. And this way is seductively easy. 

We–all of us–must dig into the inconvenient, often unrewarding, and difficult task of sharing what we believe, especially with people who believe very differently. And “sharing what we believe” starts with caring deeply for the other person and their convictions, and listening. Yes, listening. Before we can expect to be heard, we must earn the right to be heard, and that comes from making it clear that you care about their opinions and best interests, and listening to them. Ask open ended questions like, how did you come to that belief, and what makes you think that will work. Then, and only then, can you begin to introduce your beliefs and well supported reasons, for why you believe that way. Gently lead them to understanding your beliefs and your reasoning. It may be tempting to answer a cliche with a cliche, and a broad claim with a broad claim, but that is simply a shortcut to an argument. An argument that will leave both of you more dug in than ever. 

Listening, understanding, learning and leading is much harder than simply insisting on being right. And it is clearly what we all must do; it is what we are all called to do. Retreating into and reinforcing our silos must and will lead to a further disintegration and disorder. That’s the path to more Seattles and Capitol Hills. Let’s remember that first and foremost we are all Americans. Reject intersectional politics, learn from each other, and focus on the common goals that we all share. They do indeed exist.

Is it an accident that states like California and New York are predominantly progressive, and states like Texas and Oklahoma are not? Take a look at this electoral map; with few exceptions, all of the states in the contiguous 48 that voted one way or the other are in connected blocks.

Question: Did everyone of a like mind move to the same places, or is something else going on? 

Answer: Something else. In the absence of differing opinions from a variety of sources, people will rely on the opinions of family and friends, co-workers and their selected news sources and social media. Outside of family, all the sources will be selected more for comfort and absence of frustration than political reasoning and diversity of thought. Not surprisingly, they will pretty much share the same opinions. Similar opinions from a variety of sources that reinforce each other and can easily be seen as not only a valid consensus, but the by golly truth. And with some notable exceptions (Uncles and Brothers-in Law?), families tend to lean one way or the other on significant issues, adding to the sameness. 

Remember the story about the blind men learning about their first elephant by feeling different parts of the animal? Those feeling the trunk thought it was a snake. Others feeling a leg thought it was a tree. Each group based their opinions on a partial experience, and each one of them got it wrong. The same thing is happening when we rely on people and sources who are focused on the same parts of our political, social and economic “elephant” to the exclusion of the other parts. Like the blind men analysing the elephant, they do not give any credence to the other parts. The difference is that the blind men were completely satisfied that the part they had represented the whole, while the vast majority of political, financial and social commentators are aware of the other parts, the other positions and arguments–they simply dismiss them as inferior or hateful. In other words, the blind men were not curious enough to feel for other parts to determine if another view of what they were feeling might be valid. People with political views are aware of other views, they simply dismiss them, often with nothing more than an insult, as being wrong or hateful.

And this will snowball. The nucleus of same opinions will attract others with the same views, and, over time, discourage those with other thoughts from speaking up. Like the snowball which when rolled attracts more of the same snow, opinions on a roll attract more people with the same opinions. Pretty soon it will begin to appear to those in the expanding nucleus that the correct opinions and answers–on even the most controversial subjects–abortion, school choice, foreign involvement, healthcare, etc., are obvious and unanimous to every “correct thinking” person. Once again building and reinforcing the silos that we must be destructing, not constructing.

Let’s close with two quotes:

  1. “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Henry David Thoreau
  2. “The mass of men lead lives of loud separation.” William Henry Luden

Tell me what you believe. I and many others want to know. 

As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty.

Contact

As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.

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4 Responses

  1. Charles Cabral Reply

    In answer to your question, something else IS going on. The reason states seem to be in blocs is basic geography. The rural, less populated places are more appreciative of individual freedom, nature and initiative. The more urban areas are more conscious of social responsibilities and getting along. When it comes to politics, those views become polarizing when the prevailing ethos is that anyone who is not perfect, i.e. agrees with me, must be castigated (cancelled).

    I don’t believe social media will ever be a way to reasonably resolve disputes. Your method of accommodating and discussing differences is right on, but when the questions get too uncomfortable and close to affecting one’s world view it’s easy to just ignore them or just respond with “pound sand”.

  2. Terry Tracy Reply

    Yes we shouldn’t wall ourselves off from differing view points. Yes we don’t need to be living in an echo chamber. And a resounding yes we do need thought provoking social inter-mingling in order to shape a better future. I agree with Charles Cabral, social media is not the answer but for the sake of argument, where do we go for that very diversity of thought? It is not in our educational system, it is not in main stream media and it is not in the entertainment field. We use to be able to at least come together for our local sports team, that is being hijacked as well. (The last thing I want to see is BLM going up for a lay up and ANTIFA blocking it.) Parlor may not be the answer but it at least gave opportunity for both sides to give opinion. Freedom of speech is at stake here. Conservative opinions are no longer tolerated. What I see in social media may be the truth but it is only a piece of the truth conveniently clipped to support one side of the argument. Just as your example of the blind men and the elephant expressed, I see social media painting a picture of a man on a window ledge with the caption “Man throws himself from window ledge!” Obviously a suicide until the camera pans back and you see the building was on fire and the window was 3 foot off the ground. Partial truth is just a lie and meant to deceive. Does it matter where that info comes from? Parlor gives you the opportunity to hear both sides but that is if and only if, as you stated, no matter where it comes from you are willing to listen.

    • Will Luden Reply

      Parler is a plus, but I am concerned that people will dig in further with the sites and sources that align with their thinking–to the exclusion of others. Cheers, Will

      • Terry Tracy Reply

        I understand Will. I fear the same. But one voice, one opinion, one side of the argument scares me more.

        I must apologize Will. I owe a reply from an earlier comment on term limits. I will get to it but need to do some research first. We have been down here for awhile.

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