Free speech and social media

Discussing political topics in person generally seems to result in people liking each other more even if they disagree. Discussing politics on social media seems to result in people disliking each other even if they agree on everything but one small point. I’m not sure what it is about social media That leads to such polarization and hatred, but it’s unhealthy. I actually deleted Facebook from my phone again for the second time after recently having some very angry friends.

The thing I tried to keep in mind is that we have far more in common than we have things that divide us. The news media and social media exploits that which divides to get more views and ad money. But the reality is that we actually agree on 99% of life and have a great time hanging out with our friends.

I am not sure if what upset you was someone from the right or the left or somewhere else entirely posting things that were upsetting. But I am guessing that you would agree with me that democracy is the best form of government we humans have. Fundamental to democracy it’s freely and openly discussing and disagreeing and thinking together about solutions to thorny problems. It can be very hard to do and not get upset, but I’ve been trying to learn how to do it.

I am not religious anymore, but Clevenger got me young and a lot of us libertarian ideas stuck with me 😆

I guess advocating for free speech has become a conservative cause recently, but you have to remember the ACLU and a lot of free speech ideals have been held most strongly by liberals for the last 50 or 60 years. I understand that speech can sometimes be uncomfortable to hear or say, but it beats the alternative which almost always seems to just be violence.

We humans though have a way of taking one or two small differences and magnifying it until it becomes all consuming and destructive. If we focus on what we love instead of what we hate and on what binds us rather than separates us we see that we mostly are united. But talking about boring things we all agree upon does not get clicks and likes and ad money on social media or the news media.

That’s why it’s called political “issues” not political “agreements”. All the focus is on what divides us.

I am guessing we both agree that lying is bad, genocide is bad, some form of privacy is good, some form of free speech is good, The people being able to vote in their government is good, and probably 99,584 other things. But there are a couple hundred issues, sometimes with what are actually just minor differences that can cause enormous upset.

And I think it is much better for people to talk and argue and get mad, then come back and talk and argue again, and again, and again, ad infinitum then to walk away from that argument and use force to destroy the other side.

But I am actually curious about the other side of this argument. I have had one of my best friends actually stop talking to me because he disliked what I thought was a fairly minor opinion on a news event. Why does dis-engagement seem like the best solution?

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Joel Gross

Joel Gross is the CEO of Coalition Technologies.

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