Whenever I try to debate most anything, if I’m being honest, I haven’t a dang clue. It requires learning details of how a law works, what its probable effects would be, a lot of history, and/or what a candidate stands for. Best I can usually do is proclaim my group allegiance, state a vague version of what my side usually believes and what the other side usually believes, and why I think my side’s better.
It seems to me that a sane thing to do would be to research a few issues, and take a stand, and then be able to debate them confidently. Then shrug on most anything else and just try to learn from anyone stating any opinion, the best I can.
However, that sounds like a lot of work, and after my day job, I have no energy to.
Some things I’m thinking about doing:
- just skip the “research some issues” and only learn from people. Just like, every political conversation is a chance to open my mind. The downside: I think most people’s opinions are about as informed as mine, which is to say, not very.
- listen to more podcasts. The ones that I feel like I sometimes learn something about The World from: Econtalk, Conversations with Tyler, the Sam Harris one, On the Media, and sometimes Decrypted. I would like more like this; please recommend me some.
- read more blogs. Slate Star Codex is worthwhile. I would like more of these too. The Weekly Sift is a pretty well-researched news blog, but it does just make me mad about everything that’s going on.
- take Twitter app off my phone. Tweetdeck is actually a somewhat sane desktop Twitter UI: just shows you all the posts in chronological order. Twitter Android mostly does that, but also has ads, and also shows you things your friends liked. (That’s terrible. If I wanted my friends to see it, I’d retweet.) As a result, I can get sucked into the clickbaitiest culture-warsiest post any of my friends liked.
- move off Twitter too and onto Mastodon? This solves a different problem (that Twitter Inc’s interests are not aligned with ours) but it’s one that’s worth solving.
One worry I have:
- do these proposals just entail retreating? Does this just mean that even less informed people will talk more than me? Is this irresponsible? (maybe it’s good though! retreating from useless noise is probably healthy.)
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