This is something I've thought about for months and months, and I've been wanting to write about. I just don't know if anyone will see it.
Before I continue: You, who are reading this, are you often in disagreement with me? If so, I honestly want to know. Shoot me a message or email and lay into me about how wrong my opinions are and tell me your own. If I don't get any messages and there is one or two people that do disagree with me, the satisfaction I'm going to get from how right I am in this post will be absolutely nauseating to you. You can't let that happen.
If you disagree with me, email me at email@example.com, I honestly want to hear from you.
I know people read this blog (or it's just my mom clicking my links over and over just to make me feel better), but do they actually read the blog? This isn't self-pity hour or anything; in fact, it's not really even about me or this blog. I'm just trying to dig for an example.
Last Friday, I posted a bit of political opinion that I have no doubt many of my friends and followers agreed with. My question: did anyone that disagreed with it, read it?
Does anyone that disagrees with my opinions unfollow or block me? (dumb question, they wouldn't be reading this) Or does anyone "hate-read" my stuff, much like how you would "hate-watch" Keeping Up With The Kardashians or The Bachelor?
Today, we hear a lot about bubbles. "The Hollywood Bubble" in which Meryl Streep resides, "The Conservative Bubble", "The Liberal Bubble", "The Christian Bubble", and so on and so forth. The internet helps us stay in these bubbles just as easily as it could allow you to leave one. If someone is endlessly posting unproductive rants about politics or religion or something, chances are, I will unfollow or hide them. If you're a Christian, and someone posts anti-Christian stuff all the time, you probably don't want to see that all the time.
A while back I read this article about how few people actually read conservative news.
I thought it was interesting, because I often don't read the news like CNN (I've heard that organization is terrible), or NBC, or even Fox News (or Faux News, as someone I know referred to it recently). The way I stay informed is that I read editorials and opinions by intelligent and extremely educated (typically older) people who I've grown to trust over time. Often times, I end up reading National Review, because most of the time they create level-headed arguments and are well-researched. If there's some news I want to get more facts on, I just google it and read multiple articles and compare for myself. (Staying informed takes a lot of work these days)
Anyway, I read an extremely rational article about MLK Day and race yesterday, and my father-in-law made a comment referencing this very phenomenon: Almost no non-conservative will read that article because non-conservatives aren't browsing conservative media. I made mention of this when referencing Tomi Lahren's huge following last week: No one who doesn't agree with her is watching her stuff unless they want to ridicule it. (See: Hate-Watch)
I used to rant about this on Twitter (ironically), that your political Facebook opinion is only being seen by those you agree with, and ultimately it's unproductive. It's possible that you have one or two friends that stick around to see what crazy articles you post next, but like I often do, they'll just hide that stuff from their feed. Thus the bubble becomes stronger.
This is why I have such a weird relationship with Twitter: I follow mostly people who don't agree with my opinions. In a weird way, it helps keep me informed and have more awareness of bubbles (but I'm sure, like everyone, I'm in a certain category of bubble that I'm unaware of. That's how bubbles work), but it is extremely difficult not get angry or annoyed with others' opinion. That's why I have to jump ship every once in a while.
Let's get back to the question at hand: is anyone actually listening to anything I say? Or even better: Are you ever reading anything you disagree with, to actually try and learn something? Chances are, if you're reading articles that you disagree with, it's often to just get angry about it or ridicule the author or their material in some way, or hate-watch/read.
Maybe I'm cynical, but I believe I'm talking into a void. I don't believe that someone who may not be in line with my ideas reads last week's post "Sticking it to those snowflakes", and says to themselves, "Interesting, that argument was never presented to me that way before. I'll be rethinking my tone and how I argue my opinion. What valuable insight!"
Secretly, when I hit the "publish" button, I dream of this reader. Unfortunately, I don't think they exist. Yet here I am, writing anyway.
Here's my argument or thesis to this whole thing: I think we need to read things we disagree with, probably more often than things we agree with. It's like in Christian school, we used to read mostly books written by pagan authors, because it shows you that God puts his creation and beauty into everyone, whether they believe in Him or not. (See: Common Grace)
In the same way, we need to feel discomfort more often than comfort. That's the only way you learn and stay educated. If you play the same C, D, and E chords on the guitar over and over, you're going to get really good at Sweet Home Alabama, but that's it. (actually most songs just use C,D, and E, so actually you'll probably be in good shape. Bad example) If our ideas or views are never challenged, how are we going to learn how to better defend them?
Let me reference last week's article a third time only to admit that this is an unwitting sequel to that one (kinda like 10 Cloverfield Lane is to Cloverfield): The people that yell and call the other side names reveal how little they strive to be better educated. They don't read different opinions to learn, but only to get a rush and indulge some bitterness. (See again: hate-watch) They want to feel like they are better than those that disagree with them, only to get patted on the back by their loyal followers, who will always agree.
So again, I'm curious: You, who are reading this, are you often in disagreement with me? If so, I honestly want to know. Shoot me a message and lay into me about how wrong my opinions are and tell me your own. If I don't get any messages and there is one or two people that do disagree with me, the satisfaction I'm going to get from how right I am in this post will be absolutely nauseating to you. You can't let that happen.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me how much you disagree with me. I honestly want to know.
If you do regularly read this and often disagree with me, I appreciate that you come here and I hope you continue to do so. Thanks for dropping in every once in a while.
If you do often agree with me, keep reading and enjoy. I appreciate the time you take to read this despite how derivative this blog has become in this weird "age of always talking about politics" we're in.