EP32: Death of Discourse

Few people practice the Doctrine of Charity. Many seem to be actively looking for reasons to be triggered. Social justice warriorism is running amok. Welcome to 2020 and the death of discourse.

Show Notes

Doctrine of Charity

  • Phew has degree in Philosophy
  • Wanted to limit his own income potential
  • Granting other people the most favorable interpretation of whatever they say or write

Destroying Our Ability to Communicate

  • What tends to happen: People jump to immediate and worst-possible conclusions
  • It becomes functionally impossible to have a normal conversation
  • Giving people the benefit of the doubt and interpreting whatever they said in the most positive for them manner

Why This is So Crucial

  • So much of our discourse these days happens online and in written form
  • Most people really are not that objective, even when they are trying to be
  • Unc makes every effort to anticipate misinterpretation and fix it before publishing even a Facebook comment

A Lesson in High School

  • Phew got a lesson on this in high school
  • Op/ed in the PCEP newspaper about Black History Month
  • Lack of tact on the part of the author
  • “We should move beyond the idea of race being a factor in such things”

A Quote Completely Misunderstood

  • “If they want a race war, they have it”
  • That quote was misinterpreted completely; the author was referring to people who oppose treating all people equally, NOT to African Americans
  • The student ended up having to leave the school
  • Phew attended a very diverse high school (the largest high school campus in America, actually)
  • There was zero application of the Doctrine of Charity in this situation

How Social Context Affects Everything

  • Phew’s dad refers to homosexuals as “the gays”
  • He means nothing bad by that
  • He’s just tone deaf to such things
  • Phew lives in a cutting edge context every day
  • Lifestyle choice often dictates perspectives
  • We should take into consideration the context from which a perspective is originating
  • Northern Michigan vs inner city Chicago

Will Be Triggered for Food

  • So many people are ACTIVELY LOOKING to be triggered and offended
  • That is the exact opposite of the Doctrine of Charity
  • What the world needs now, is the Doctrine of Charity

The Sad State of Public Discourse

  • Has public discourse ever been worse than it is right now?
  • There are people whose entire reason for living is looking to be triggered
  • How far we’ve gotten away from civility
  • Doctrine of Charity could save our culture

Jonathan Haidt

  • Jonathan Haidt is a Professor of Psychology at NYU’s Stern School of Business
  • The social value of being triggered and “call out culture”
  • Gave a talk at UC Colorado Springs that everyone should watch

The Right to Be Wrong

  • How did we get away from the idea that we have THE RIGHT TO BE WRONG
  • In this culture, people have the legal right to have wrong opinions
  • It’s better for a society when people can openly disagree with things
  • When they can’t, they have to go underground with those thoughts, which is worse

Who Makes the Rules?

  • Who makes the rules? Who decides?
  • Either it’s free speech for everyone, all the time, or there is no free speech
  • People have the legal right to be bigoted, as long as they don’t break the law in doing so

Cancel Culture

  • We also have cancel culture
  • Logan Paul in Japan’s suicide forest
  • An amazing display of a lack of tact
  • That said, the reaction was so out of proportion to the reality
  • We’re moving in the direction of not being able to say just about anything

Social Media Fatigue

  • Phew posting less and less
  • Twitter is like posting things into the ether
  • At most comedy clubs, the waitress is making more than the comedian on stage
  • Phew made a complete accurate observation while onstage: waitresses make more than him
  • People completely overreacted
  • “WTF is wrong with you that you think those people don’t deserve to make a living?”

Unc Scaling (Way) Back

  • Unc went from an unhealthy level of participation in social media from 2009 to 2017 to a much lower level today
  • Unc has had success with social media
  • Was invited to speak on a national speaking tour
  • Averaged 55 Tweets per day for almost first year on Twitter
  • Article in Inman News that wrote about that exchange

Phew Also Far Less Engaged

  • Phew uses social media to connect with high-value people
  • Also to push and promote things he produces
  • Now having to think about how something he posts today might be interpreted in five or 10 years

Cancel Culture Run Amok

  • Kevin Hart was not able to host the Oscars because of something he said 10 years earlier
  • THAT’S where we are now
  • It’s dangerous to post things – you have to almost be able to predict the future in terms of how society might change

She Walked In Looking for a Job

  • Phew working in Chicago at major marketing firm
  • Person walked in looking for a job
  • Phew was director of sales, her resume landed on his desk
  • Interviewed this person

Completely Innocent Behavior

  • She pulled Phew aside, and told him a story
  • A few years ago, several stories were written about her that were not flattering
  • Friend who blacks out at parties
  • She dressed as that friend
  • On social media, someone says it looks like blackface

Front Page of the Student Newspaper

  • Next thing she knows, she’s on front page of student newspaper, with calls for her to be expelled from school
  • Almost got expelled from school, conservative media picked up the story
  • This person did nothing wrong
  • Her life was basically destroyed

All it Takes to Ruin a Life

  • That’s the WHOLE STORY???
  • That’s all it takes to ruin a life
  • Phew’s company could not hire her
  • Global marketing head discussed with COO: no way we can hire her
  • It’s not a principle until it costs you something

Is the Pendulum Starting to Swing the Other Way?

  • Unc used to think we was in tune with the state of online discourse
  • Two years of radically reduced participation
  • The pendulum may be starting to swing the other way
  • People just saying “fuck this;” I don’t care what you think
  • People starting to defend those people; seeing less of the attack culture

No Intent to be Political

  • We had no intention of this podcast being political
  • RIP Journalism podcast reached nearly 500K people
  • Over 20K reactions
  • Over 5K shares
  • Media is now OPENLY not objective

What’s Next?

  • One of two things will happen: a new platform will rise up, and or people will start to drift away from social media
  • Choosing simple happiness

Narrative Delivery Machines

  • Unc’s mom now lives with him
  • She watches Fox News
  • Unc can’t watch Fox News because it is just as biased as CNN
  • He just wants the truth, and can’t find it anywhere
  • Even though Unc is conservative, he sees it for what it is
  • Am I happier with or without this social media in my life?

Kill Your Expectations

  • Unc’s behavior has been changed by the simple awareness of the Doctrine of Charity
  • If one person listens to this podcast and is impacted re the Doctrine of Charity, it’s worth it
  • Gary Vaynerchuk
  • Insane amount of content
  • A brilliant guy with tons of wisdom
  • The single most powerful thing Unc has heard him say: eliminate ALL EXPECTATIONS you have of other human beings

Founders Syndrome

  • Founders have artificially high expectations of people
  • Unc has lived Founder’s Syndrome many times over
  • Constantly upset and disappointed
  • It’s a real problem for a lot of people
  • Attitude, perspective and philosophy is so much of life