One of the many fringe benefits of friendship is the sharing of probing thoughts and the artful expression of ideas.
Just this morning, a good friend texted me today’s article by David Brooks (New York Times), which provided me with some real hope, based on specific developments in the world of punditry and public discourse. According to Brooks, several new online outlets have emerged, in response to the censoring of the so-called “cancel culture.” Journalists and writers who have backed away or even quit media organizations that fail to foster diverse opinions are now banding together around a common cause: open, freewheeling debate.
Freedom of speech may be making a comeback by way of loose-knit, self-sustaining (subscription-based) online forums, like Substack, which represent a genuine cross–section of writers from all over the political spectrum—left, right, and everything in between.
Wouldn’t it be nice to think that our current, often irrational cultural moment might inadvertently produce a few flowers of thought? Perhaps the rhetorical bludgeoning of nonconformists will prompt insightful, eloquent thinkers to reconstitute their work by finding new ways of disseminating their ideas. Maybe we’ll find ourselves developing an electronic version of Ben Franklin’s Junto, where we share ideas and openly debate their merits, in the honest hope of learning from each other.
Out of this current, often irrational cultural moment, we might rediscover the value of diverse opinions.