Conversation is a meeting of minds with different memories and habits. When minds meet, they don't just exchange facts: they transform them, reshape them, draw different implications from them, engage in new trains of thought. Conversation doesn't just reshuffle the cards: it creates new cards. ~ Theodore Zeldin, Oxford scholar & author
Good conversational debate is an end in itself, and talking for the love of conversation is what makes us human. ~ Bryce Courtenay, novelist
One way to prevent conversation from being boring is to say the wrong thing. ~ Frank Sheed, Catholic apologist
Conversation means being able to disagree and still continue the discussion. ~ Dwight Macdonald, leftist philosopher
One good conversation can shift the direction of change forever. ~ Linda Lambert, author
Fascinating conversations are one of my favorite things in life. Grab a beer, sit down with smart people who have interesting takes on the issues of the day, and solve the world’s problems while the ballgame plays in the background. If all goes well, before you know it hours go by and it seems like minutes and you still don’t want it to end. (Although, if you’re in a restaurant your poor server probably does. Hint: always tip well!)
In such conversations - especially between friends - listening, not just speaking, is an art, and conflicts aren’t conflicts in any awkward, confrontational way, but merely opportunities for clarification, dialogue, and greater understanding. Words can get heated sometimes, and that’s fine. I want to talk to people who are passionate about what they believe, and unless you’re a crazed leftist whose delicate sentiments are disturbed by thoughts different from yours, you probably do too.
I certainly don’t know it all (though my wife sometimes insists I think I do), and neither does the family, friends, acquaintances, and co-workers in my life with whom I’ve had meaningful conversations over the years. But put our brains together, converse honestly and sincerely, leave it all on the table, and we’ll all come out knowing far more than we knew before. You’ll never agree on everything, but if you can find some common ground and even a bit more understanding about an issue than you had before you started, it was worth it, and then some.
The key to it all, of course, is truth. It’s what all of us are after, or it should be. If you aren’t seeking to find the truth on an issue, whatever that may be, what’s the point? What free person wants to believe even the most comfortable of lies? So good conversations by necessity aren’t about grandstanding, virtue-signaling, or playing politics. None of those things are about truth. That’s why you can usually find more workable solutions to the world’s ills in the corner of a bar than you can in the halls of Congress. Indeed, we need MORE, not fewer conversations these days.
But that’s not what’s happening, and we all know it. The partisan divide is wider than ever, and the political right is increasingly frightened of unwittingly stepping across any of the countless imaginary PC red lines they’ve drawn for us for the express purpose of pouncing when we do. It’s a war on truth, on reality, and we’re playing by their rules. The left, of course, hates the truth, because by definition it runs contrary to everything they want to think about how the world works. Tell the truth openly enough and people might start believing it and stop believing THEM, they fear. Thus, their primary response is to suppress the expression of truth by any means necessary. And since good conversations tend more often than not to bring the truth to light, they must be suppressed as well.
This speaks to the heart of the political left’s censorship of opposing views and touchy conversations on Big Tech platforms like Twitter and Facebook, as well as their stringent opposition to podcasting giant Joe Rogan. As a fan of conversations, I thoroughly enjoy listening to Rogan’s podcast on the lawnmower or an hours-long road trip, getting lost in the meandering exchanges between him and his guest. They expand my mind, keep me engaged, and make long trips or household chores absolutely fly by. They also make me test my beliefs and think about the world in a different way, which is always a good thing. The left obviously knows this, which is why, obviously, Rogan has to go.
It isn’t that Rogan is himself a purveyor of beliefs they disagree with or hate. He is, after all, a Bernie Sanders voter. He just happens to have an open mind and enjoys talking to people, even those with whom he might disagree. Except, to today’s leftists, even daring to speak to people on the ‘wrong’ side of an issue is verboten. They believe their ideological opponents must be silenced, not challenged directly based on facts (what facts?) and certainly not listened to. So by extension, Rogan himself is now verboten because he provides a platform, through conversation, for people they disagree with and hate.
And so our leftist would-be overlords have now embarked on a massive psyops campaign to deplatform Rogan, spearheaded by a trickle of has-been artists removing themselves from Spotify in ‘protest’ and amped up by the weekend release of a compilation of years-old instances where he simply used the n-word in dialogue with guests. Now, I’m not going to self-righteously tell you what you should think about that, except to say that none of the utterances were used in what rational people would consider a racist way and Rogan himself has apologized (yeah, never, ever apologize) and insisted he hasn’t used the magical syllables in years and will never utter them again.
Obviously, none of these deplatforming calls have anything to do with any sort of alleged ‘racism’ from Rogan, who is absolutely not a racist in any meaningful, real sense. No, they have to do with silencing an open-minded man who is willing to have conversations with people who disagree with the left’s twisted worldview, conversations that millions upon millions of people listen to every week and could potentially have a dynamic impact on the culture.
They also have to do with silencing all of us. That’s because to the left, the conversation is over. When you have the answers for everything, why discuss it further, right? There’s no need for people like Joe Rogan or for petty, bourgeoisie notions like free speech. All that just gets in the way of crafting the hellscape they want us all to live in, where everyone contributes according to their ‘ability,’ receives based on their ‘need,’ and a good conversation can get you sent to the gulag.
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