What if people didn’t know each other?
Sadly, political people these days rarely even meet each other, except to argue, which mostly means “attack.” Political debates once were thoughtful dances of thrust-and-parry. Now, they are screaming sessions of slash-and-dash.
Understanding the other side just kills your clicks, man.
Here are two examples from real life.
First, from the right, Steve Moore of the Heritage Foundation:
Democrats are for jobs, but they’re against business. They’re no longer a growth party, they’re a redistribution party.
Mr. Moore is a proponent of the new tax law, which he asserts will boost the economy. Maybe, it will.
Most of the money in this country is made in and around our largest cities by blue and purple voters.
That same tax law will absolutely redistribute income by limiting deductions by the wealth-producers in blue and purple states and doling it out as favorable tax treatment for those citizens who live and vote in the red states.
Steve Moore’s rhetoric against redistribution is so automatic that he hasn’t noticed that the socialist shoe is not flying at him, it’s flying from him.
Next, from the left, now retired Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public interest:
In the ’70s, I remember, I’d meet somebody from industry and I would just as soon insult them as say hello.
Mr. Jacobson is going to get off easier this morning, not because he deserves it, but rather because he has mellowed, if only as he neared retirement. In his Washington Post interview quoted above, he continued:
But I realized that some of the people [in business] are good people trying to make improvements to their products. And even if they aren’t such great people, they probably know more than I do about what’s going on in industry and government. So we can work together on some issues.
Mr. Jacobson, even when mellow, is harsh: his phrase “even if they aren’t such great people” exposes that he judges the value of another person by whether that other person agrees with him, or, if not, has some slight utility to him.
So much for those two aged ideologues.
Sadder still is that the millennial generation of Americans, who are now taking over the jobs within and around government, have witnessed most of their debates on Facebook and Twitter.
Here is a prominent venture capitalist Om Malik:
The algorithmic world we live in puts convenience and speed ahead of these abstract concepts of human consciousness and connections.
Facebook has blunted the idea of friendship, and relationships. LinkedIn has turned business relations into a spectator sport of likes, follows and recommendations.
Algorithm writers forget that we all need narratives, stories we need to tell each other to have a real connection.