Can You Get Out of Your Bubble Risk Free?

 

Most of us preferentially consume information because it comforts us and confirms our way of thinking. But it also makes it harder and harder to comprehend how anyone can think otherwise. I often think “the world is upside down”. It is easy to write-off “other thinking” as deranged and sometimes outright evil. In fact, as I write this I am having difficulty coming up with reasons to wade into progressive redoubts and listen to what they are saying. If I credit them with sincerity it will make me beyond sad that they can think and act that way; if I do not credit them with sincerity then it makes me blazingly mad to contemplate such mendacity.

I think we all understand the need to get out of our information bubbles. (If we want to preserve citizen-controlled government we have to persuade enough citizens to actively control our government in the right way.) Surveys show that conservatives are generally better at getting out of the bubble than progressives. But it is and can be painful to do so. So here is my query: What techniques do you employ to read/listen to progressive speech without risking an aneurysm?

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  1. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    After I read my post to Mrs Rodin, she remarked that it used to be that you could read publications that leaned progressive without completing excluding more centrist and conservative points of view. But now we seem to have divided into separate cheering squads, and it is all propaganda. As much as we like Tucker — whose version of fairness is to spear everyone — he does engage in unfair arguments from time to time. Those segments risk unwatchability unless his end game is one you favor. But it is not enlightening.

    • #1
  2. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    The most liberal I can stomach outside exposure to msnbc headlines on my unchanged homepage is Reason.com.

    I can’t read stuff without counter argument available because I’m susceptible to rhetoric.

    • #2
  3. Peter Meza Member
    Peter Meza
    @PeterMeza

    I just read a book by Julia Galef called “The Scout Mindset” that is relevant to this topic. “It’s about something I call ‘scout mindset’ – the motivation to see things as they are, not as you wish they were; to be intellectually honest & curious about what’s actually true.”

    • #3
  4. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    One reason to read “progressive” media…and, especially, to follow your Prog friends on social media…is competitive analysis.  See what “arguments” (if you can dignity them with them name) are being advanced and what misrepresentations are being floated.

    • #4
  5. Caltory Thatcher
    Caltory
    @Caltory

    You’ve reminded me of how, once upon a time, The New Republic was readable, & even lefties like Steward Alsop and Walter Lippman could put 800 words together without sounding like Bolsheviks. These days, I check in with The Nation and Mother Jones occasionally to see what progressives are screeching about. Same ol’ same ol’, Republicans are evil, CEOs are criminals, and Palestinians are heroes. How do I keep my blood pressure in check? By remembering Ecclesiastes 1:9: The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

    • #5
  6. John H. Member
    John H.
    @JohnH

    Occasionally I listen to sports-talk radio, and on it occasionally Colin Cowherd verifies his prog-cred by saying black lives matter or he is so tired of people claiming there were irregularities in the last Presidential election. I think he also said that Portland is a fine city. It is? 

    Material like this emphasizes the stiffness of leftism, its orthodoxy. Because I can count on rigidity in that political zone, I feel no need to pay attention to it. I always know what it, all parts of it, are going to say. It only gets interesting when it stops saying certain things. Mr. Cowherd of course believes in the pandemic, and mentions it often, and not just because arenas have few or no spectators. In its imposed paralysis, there is virtue. We’re being good! But if the mentions dwindle or cease, I will know that leftists are officially changing their minds. 

    • #6
  7. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Rodin:

    I think we all understand the need to get out of our information bubbles. (If we want to preserve citizen-controlled government we have to persuade enough citizens to actively control our government in the right way.) Surveys show that conservatives are generally better at getting out of the bubble than progressives. But it is and can be painful to do so. So here is my query: What techniques do you employ to read/listen to progressive speech without risking an aneurysm?

    How else would I know which of their own cliches and shibboleths to use against them if I didn’t listen to them now and then?  And to do that I need to take their arguments as seriously as I can, so I can extend their use.  

     

    • #7
  8. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Rodin (View Comment):

    As much as we like Tucker — whose version of fairness is to spear everyone — he does engage in unfair arguments from time to time. Those segments risk unwatchability unless his end game is one you favor. But it is not enlightening.

    Good point.

    The set A (Tucker’s segments where

    • B (he engages in unfair arguments)
      and
    • C (his end game is one I favor) )

    are unwatchable to me, as are

    D (All segments where he engages in unfair arguments),

    which includes A.

    I see that you share this aversion with me already.

    I hope that there are many others on Ricochet who find “D” unwatchable, or are gradually learning to as a result of exposure to Ricochet. 

    Note: I don’t say “learning” out of vanity.  I am like a child who was in a lower grade a year ago and hopes to be in the next higher grade next year, not because of superiority but because of the inevitable passage of time, and hopes for the same for everyone, whether younger, the same age, or older than himself.

    • #8
  9. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    I follow The New York Times, The Atlantic  and The Washington Post on Instagram, so I can see their stories and opinion pieces without having to get the papers or subscribe online. I also check Ann Althouse for her takes on NYT articles. I check Slate every once and while just to see what they’re writing about, and I like Real Clear Politics as a clearinghouse for opinion articles from the right and left.

    • #9
  10. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Lilly B (View Comment):

    I follow The New York Times, The Atlantic and The Washington Post on Instagram, so I can see their stories and opinion pieces without having to get the papers or subscribe online. I also check Ann Althouse for her takes on NYT articles. I check Slate every once and while just to see what they’re writing about, and I like Real Clear Politics as a clearinghouse for opinion articles from the right and left.

    Interesting. I’ve never done Instagram. I didn’t know newspapers and magazines had a presence there. 

    • #10
  11. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Lilly B (View Comment):

    I follow The New York Times, The Atlantic and The Washington Post on Instagram, so I can see their stories and opinion pieces without having to get the papers or subscribe online. I also check Ann Althouse for her takes on NYT articles. I check Slate every once and while just to see what they’re writing about, and I like Real Clear Politics as a clearinghouse for opinion articles from the right and left.

    Interesting. I’ve never done Instagram. I didn’t know newspapers and magazines had a presence there.

    This is some of the fabulous content you get:

    so I don’t know that you want to get into it, but I follow Michelle Obama and others like her. That way I get a little view of the culture that I am otherwise not engaging in.  I was thinking of writing about the NYT post for Ricochet, but I went in a different direction. Maybe I could do some posts if the, “I’m reading it, so you don’t have to” variety. I have many more ideas for posts that time to write them.

    • #11
  12. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    @lilybart

    I have to use the old fashioned TV once in a while to get sports scores and also the weather forecast from the Weather Channel.

    So that inadvertently pushes some of the progressive drivel my way, as the ubiquitous scrolls at the bottom of the screen let me know that for example, somewhere in mountainous Colorado, a small town has not yet put in a  bathroom for a transgendered student. (Never mind that the entire grades one thru eight only have a total of 63 students, none of whom is transgendered.)

    I like Lily B’s suggestion of Real Clear Politics, and will try and remember to use it.

    • #12
  13. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    @ lilybart

    I have to use the old fashioned TV once in a while to get sports scores and also the weather forecast from the Weather Channel.

    So that inadvertently pushes some of the progressive drivel my way, as the ubiquitous scrolls at the bottom of the screen let me know that for example, somewhere in mountainous Colorado, a small town has not yet put in a bathroom for a transgendered student. (Never mind that the entire grades one thru eight only have a total of 63 students, none of whom is transgendered.)

    I like Lily B’s suggestion of Real Clear Politics, and will try and remember to use it.

    Thanks. I also get updates from my daughter in high school, who watches CNN10 as part of her classes. I need to look into that, although it appears not to be as biased as CNN TV. Last week she came home and said in response to my usual, “well, what did you learn today?”: “we learned about our lord and savior…Amanda Gorman.” She had me for second thinking, ‘wow, they actually mentioned Jesus in school?’ But it was quickly clear that Amanda Gorman was much more likely to be promoted in school. If you aren’t up on who that is, you clearly missed the highlight of the Biden Inauguration.

    • #13
  14. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Caltory (View Comment):
    The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

    That was written when?  800 BC?  How much more true is it now?

    • #14
  15. Caltory Thatcher
    Caltory
    @Caltory

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Caltory (View Comment):
    The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

    That was written when? 800 BC? How much more true is it now?

    I’ll suggest it depends on how much faith one puts in the Bible. Also, if you believe anything can be “more” true, we have different opinions on truth.

    • #15
  16. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Caltory (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Caltory (View Comment):
    The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

    That was written when? 800 BC? How much more true is it now?

    I’ll suggest it depends on how much faith one puts in the Bible. Also, if you believe anything can be “more” true, we have different opinions on truth.

    That was poorly worded.  It should be something like how much more evidence have we had that it is true since then.

    • #16
  17. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Lilly B (View Comment):
    If you aren’t up on who that is, you clearly missed the highlight of the Biden Inauguration.

    I missed the whole thing. Haven’t watched one since JFK in 1961, and that was a class activity. 

    • #17
  18. Caltory Thatcher
    Caltory
    @Caltory

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Caltory (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Caltory (View Comment):
    The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

    That was written when? 800 BC? How much more true is it now?

    I’ll suggest it depends on how much faith one puts in the Bible. Also, if you believe anything can be “more” true, we have different opinions on truth.

    That was poorly worded. It should be something like how much more evidence have we had that it is true since then.

    In answering the question of a technique used to avoid an aneurism, I cited mine—faith that human beings behave according to the Preacher’s words: “twas ever such.” Hard core Ayn Rand fans may dispute the source. And some folks may be comforted otherwise, e.g., by repeating a mantra, opening a fifth of Johnny Walker Black, or watching looped MyPillow guy commercials. It doesn’t matter to me, I only hope they dodge the stroke @Rodin warns against. All I have to offer is the therapy I fall back on whenever Katrina vanden Heuvel or Paul Krugman open their mouths.

    Perhaps your question regards the frequency of repeated behavior: Is it greater today than historically? I suppose so, given that the world population was less than 2.5 billion when I was born and is approaching 8 billion today. If your question is qualitative, I’ll guess that the same percentage of fools, grifters and monsters has held steady. If anyone differs, I won’t quibble.

    • #18
  19. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Caltory (View Comment):

    In answering the question of a technique used to avoid an aneurism, I cited mine—faith that human beings behave according to the Preacher’s words: “twas ever such.” Hard core Ayn Rand fans may dispute the source. And some folks may be comforted otherwise, e.g., by repeating a mantra, opening a fifth of Johnny Walker Black, or watching looped MyPillow guy commercials. It doesn’t matter to me, I only hope they dodge the stroke @Rodin warns against. All I have to offer is the therapy I fall back on whenever Katrina vanden Heuvel or Paul Krugman open their mouths.

    Perhaps your question regards the frequency of repeated behavior: Is it greater today than historically? I suppose so, given that the world population was less than 2.5 billion when I was born and is approaching 8 billion today. If your question is qualitative, I’ll guess that the same percentage of fools, grifters and monsters has held steady. If anyone differs, I won’t quibble.

    I think there is much in what you say. Percentage is the right calculation. But mass media and social media is relatively new. It increases the amplitude and becomes like an annoying ringing in the ears unless retreated from — thus the preference for “bubbling”. To survive engage we need a filter that calms the noise down and gives us the detachment. Johnny Walker Black helps with the detachment, certainly. And select sourcing for progressive talking points can reduce the noise without losing the content.

    But that raises another question: Do we need to get out of our bubble because of content or the need to be aware of who and how many share a certain thinking which leads to adverse action? This is where the Scout approach mentioned previously comes in. Why are we leaving our bubble?

    • #19
  20. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    One of the things about Rush that made him a great teacher was how he would show the left’s side of an argument on an issue, then identify the weaknesses in it.

    • #20
  21. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    I listen to NPR. 

    • #21
  22. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):

    I listen to NPR.

    We all have our cross to bear.

    • #22
  23. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):

    I listen to NPR.

    We all have our cross to bear.

    Democrat talking points with well modulated voices and a frisson of indifference. 

    • #23
  24. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):

    I listen to NPR.

    We all have our cross to bear.

    Democrat talking points with well modulated voices and a frisson of indifference.

    It warms the cockles of a Progs heart. 

    • #24
  25. Caltory Thatcher
    Caltory
    @Caltory

    Rodin (View Comment):

    I think there is much in what you say. Percentage is the right calculation. But mass media and social media is relatively new. It increases the amplitude and becomes like an annoying ringing in the ears unless retreated from — thus the preference for “bubbling”. To survive engage we need a filter that calms the noise down and gives us the detachment. Johnny Walker Black helps with the detachment, certainly. And select sourcing for progressive talking points can reduce the noise without losing the content.

    But that raises another question: Do we need to get out of our bubble because of content or the need to be aware of who and how many share a certain thinking which leads to adverse action? This is where the Scout approach mentioned previously comes in. Why are we leaving our bubble?

    I suggest that the rise of social media has transformed what used to be private thoughts into public shouts. This has increased the number of those who fit the adage of opening one’s mouth and removing all doubt. I reckon the percentage of total fools is static. Innovation has simply facilitated the demonstration of folly.

    We leave our bubbles to strengthen our own convictions—or change them. Those interested in convincing others of the “right way” are better equipped to do so with familiarity of other possibilities and the arguments of antagonists. Examining the rationale of opposing thoughts gives us the opportunity to revisit our own. And if convictions change, so much the better. It isn’t a bad thing to abandon old notions and adopt new when ample consideration supports doing so.

    If you want to strengthen your beliefs, attack them–and actively promote them.

    • #25
  26. EHerring Coolidge
    EHerring
    @EHerring

    I turn 68 this summer. The 60s generation of lefties put forth their ideas. Their kids repeated them. Now the college kids are repeating them. It is like watching bad reruns on TV, only now the bad ideas are being expressed by kids less educated and less articulate than previous ones. They act as if they are presenting some new, country-saving ideas never before known to mankind. I can pass and remain in my bubble. Even if I learn nothing new, I am entertained by a happier, more polite crowd.

    • #26
  27. Shauna Hunt Coolidge
    Shauna Hunt
    @ShaunaHunt

    I go to Real Clear Politics and subscribe to some individual Substackers. I don’t always agree with them, but it’s good writing. I learn new things all the time. I read some of these writers before they came to Substack.

    • #27
  28. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    Peter Meza (View Comment):

    I just read a book by Julia Galef called “The Scout Mindset” that is relevant to this topic. “It’s about something I call ‘scout mindset’ – the motivation to see things as they are, not as you wish they were; to be intellectually honest & curious about what’s actually true.”

    Would you please tell me what I’ll learn if I spend money on the book ? Except for one, the reviews on Amazon were enthusiastic but vague. The one review (too brief) that piqued my interest mentioned that the book covers our unrecognized need to be aware of, and guard against, our tendency to take on a view as part of our identity, and then resist examining evidence that contradicts our view out of defensiveness over the unacknowledged threat to our identity.

    • #28
  29. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    Peter Meza (View Comment):

    I just read a book by Julia Galef called “The Scout Mindset” that is relevant to this topic. “It’s about something I call ‘scout mindset’ – the motivation to see things as they are, not as you wish they were; to be intellectually honest & curious about what’s actually true.”

    Would you please tell me what I’ll learn if I spend money on the book ? Except for one, the reviews on Amazon were enthusiastic but vague. The one review (too brief) that piqued my interest mentioned that the book covers our unrecognized need to be aware of, and guard against, our tendency to take on a view as part of our identity, and then resist examining evidence that contradicts our view out of defensiveness over the unacknowledged threat to our identity.

    While we wait for Peter’s response, I will give some incomplete information. 

    1. I read the WSJ review and learned a useful metaphor for a distinction that I’ve had trouble finding a commonly understood term for.  “Scouts“, and “Soldiers“. There are two groups of people participating in Ricochet Conversations who cannot ever carry on an honest conversation with each other on some subjects.  Now we have a name for them: Scouts, and Soldiers.
    2. As a result of my enthusiasm, my son DID buy the book, and read it.  He told me that it turned out to be mostly a self-help book.  He was very disappointed.  It reminds me of that initially promising book “Good Profit” by I think one of the Koch brothers.  It turned out to be, after a few good chapters, a self-help book.
    3. Therefore, read the book review, and only buy the book if you need a reference to the valuable idea in the book that will stand up on a shelf for later when you need it.

     

     

    • #29
  30. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    Peter Meza (View Comment):

    I just read a book by Julia Galef called “The Scout Mindset” that is relevant to this topic. “It’s about something I call ‘scout mindset’ – the motivation to see things as they are, not as you wish they were; to be intellectually honest & curious about what’s actually true.”

    Would you please tell me what I’ll learn if I spend money on the book ? Except for one, the reviews on Amazon were enthusiastic but vague. The one review (too brief) that piqued my interest mentioned that the book covers our unrecognized need to be aware of, and guard against, our tendency to take on a view as part of our identity, and then resist examining evidence that contradicts our view out of defensiveness over the unacknowledged threat to our identity.

    While we wait for Peter’s response, I will give some incomplete information.

    1. I read the WSJ review and learned a useful metaphor for a distinction that I’ve had trouble finding a commonly understood term for. “Scouts“, and “Soldiers“. There are two groups of people participating in Ricochet Conversations who cannot ever carry on an honest conversation with each other on some subjects. Now we have a name for them: Scouts, and Soldiers.
    2. As a result of my enthusiasm, my son DID buy the book, and read it. He told me that it turned out to be mostly a self-help book. He was very disappointed. It reminds me of that initially promising book “Good Profit” by I think one of the Koch brothers. It turned out to be, after a few good chapters, a self-help book.
    3. Therefore, read the book review, and only buy the book if you need a reference to the valuable idea in the book that will stand up on a shelf for later when you need it.

    I like the scout and soldier analogy. I mean: the scout who checks out an area to see if a battle there is a good idea being analogous to the person who checks out a story, idea, plan, allegation—whatever; the soldier committed to the battle being analogous to the person already committed to a particular view of a story, idea, plan, allegation. We should always be only soldiers for a very few certain things.

    I think Progressives outright lie more often than Conservatives do, but both sides leave out certain facts about things. We all need to get better about recognizing what we’re not being told and the ways people manipulate public opinion.

    Jordan Peterson’s March 22nd interview of Abigail Shrier about her book Irreversible Damage is a fantastic example for all of us of the way we should be thinking about anything we’re being told. He was like a soldier for truth, life and Liberty acting as a scout regarding Shrier’s assertions. He really grilled her.

     

    • #30