Well written and eloquently expressed. Those of us on who left the Left precisely because of these idiotic purity tests did so knowing the Left is eating itself with things like what you've written about.

I'm glad you've gone independent because frankly, we need more of this intelligent discourse without people worrying they are going to be punished for not towing the corporate line.

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You writing is such a breath of fresh air in an otherwise toxically polluted media environment. Keep up the good fight. I am with you every step of the way.

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You perhaps inadvertently nailed it in the first paragraph. Yes, every branch of this tree represents a splintering, but the elephant in the room is THAT IS ITS PURPOSE. All these branches are from one: Critical Theory. Critical Theory is in turn the main branch of Marxism/communism.

The Marxists thought they had it all figured out: the oppressed proles were going to rise up! and overthrow the bourgeoise overlords, but unfortunately the proles were middle class, happy, and getting even happier. What to do..........

Thus was born Critical Theory. It started in Frankfurt, Germany, but the Germans threw them out, and they ended up in Columbia University, NYC, USA, where they found a home.

Their purpose is to turn everybody against everybody - women against men, blacks against whites, queer against straight - a bloody free-for-all - using the young Empty Heads Full of Mush as their line soldiers/cannon-fodder.

And here we are, but all we have to do to stop them is say no. And vote. I can't wait.

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Tara, love your thoughts. However, it has become apparent that those writing about current culture need more BBQ and beer and less Twitter. IRL, I have never seen more genuine acceptance of diversity (humans and thoughts). Cable news, opinion polls, and tweets are misleading cultural indicators. Go to concerts, festivals, and sporting events and then tell me people can't get along :)

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Of course, the one exception to guilt by association is "no enemies to the left". There's no penalty for associating with someone who hates cops or Israel or white people too much.

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"Because what would there be to say?" Indeed. I think this is (perhaps unconsciously) what some are up to out here in the inter-webs. Certain folks have little resilience, and instead of spending energy on the long-term plan of cultivating robust resilience to show up in the world, they spend their energies in the short-term, endless, and futile Whack-a-Mole game of trying to stamp out anyone who associates with someone who associates with someone they disagree with. They are hopeful that there will be nothing to say, because the belief is someone--anyone--saying something they don't like might hurt. It's a terrible strategy, and it won't work, in the end. But in the meantime, it's exhausting for those just trying to show up with a bit of common sense to navigate.

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"The writer likened the current culture to a tree that continually grows new branches...And so, the more branches there are, the more hostility there is between friends, family, co-workers. Each newly-sprouted branch represents a further splintering of society."

I dunno; I prefer to celebrate the branches of the tree of culture, rather than see them as a source of conflict and hostility. Where some see splintering, I see diversity. The cultural differences between a Hindu, an academic, and a Native American? Fascinating! Skate boarder to mid-western quilter? Delightful! Sushi to cabbage rolls? Delicious!

I don't think the problem lies with the branching of the tree of culture, but with the narrow minded reaction of some of the monkeys in the tree who will fight to defend their opinion that their branch is the best, and all others (even/especially the ones they have never visited) are inherently inferior.

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"The writer likened the current culture to a tree that continually grows new branches. Critical race theory is a branch, Elon Musk buying Twitter is a branch, and so on. "

I love the tree analogy. I also use it to describe the health of society in general.

In my mind the roots represent our history and culture... our base morality if you will. The trunk is our system of governance including our legal system. The branches are our progress... the thicker and more established ones have stood the test of time... the growing tips are the innovations... the activist-driven attempts at change.

The left is a collection of societal malcontents and excitable youth with underdeveloped frontal lobes that are not satisfied with growing new branches. They want to own the entire tree. More accurately they are intent on destroying the existing tree and planting something fancifully new.

That is the key in understanding the culture wars. Their "word policing" - which reaches back into the archives of history and also by connection to others speaking words - isn't really about the words... not at all... it is just part of their overall nihilistic agenda to destroy what is so they can own the power, wealth of control of what would come next.

When you speak the words without fear and fight for your rights to do so, you are in fact fighting to prevent the enemy from destroying our system. It is a system that is terribly flawed, but still happens to be the best system ever devised.

Few, including the malcontents, seem to understand how miserable would be the overall human condition if the tree topples. Their focus on the system flaws without a corresponding perspective for the benefits derived from the foundational stability (for example, that allows them rights, time and resources to protest and agitate for change) clearly demonstrates that they are hazards to themselves and everyone else. It is our moral duty to fight them and defeat them.

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It could be even worse…you are responsible for your ancestors and their ancestors. And so on. Let’s feel SADNESS for those who can not, do not, or perhaps don’t know how to think their way out of the trap. They are most likely well meaning. Could understanding and something like ‘love’ of human beings have a place here?

If only the politicians at the debates would SHOW the way: instead of calling names and inciting discomfort and anger, they could TURN THE OTHER CHEEK and carry on showing us (and esp the youth) how to be civilized and we will ADMIRE them their wisdom!! 👍🏼🥰

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If a provocateur with a set of flags stages a photo op a few hundred yards from your truckers' protest, you're a Nazi sympathizer.

I guess it's reassuring to watch as you peek from under the veil -- but man, oh man, you're late to this party.

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Oh wow. This resonates. I deactivated my Twitter account because I felt I could no longer like a journalist’s tweet (because that too shows up in a feed for your followers). I work in media and didn’t want to deal with getting caught up in journo-beefs. My sudden hyperawareness got tedious.

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Please don't stop writing. As a musician and composer, I find myself increasingly challenged to give a damn until that moment when I know I've connected with someone.

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btw, "Elon Musk buying Twitter" is NOT a branch. Elon Musk buying Twitter is an event. Elon Musk buying Twitter creates a BOOGEYMAN for a Special Interest Group to become outraged at. That SIG = people who think TWTR is owned by them, not by TWTR shareholders.

Anyone who says "Elon Musk buying Twitter" is a branch is simply trying to legitimize the outrage and it fundamentally not to be trusted.

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I would push back slightly:

1. Platforming matters. I recall in the 80's and 90's historians came to a general consensus that they would not debate Holocaust deniers. During the late 80's and 90's it was quite the thing for daytime talk shows to bring on KKK and Nazi members in order to rile up their audiences. At first some of this could be excused as an honest attempt to engage (Phil Donahue, Oprah Winfrey in her early years) but after a while it became clear it was a ratings grab and became disreputable. You may remember how characters like Gerado and Jerry Springer didn't go broke from doing it, but they were caste out of any possibility of being considered respectable journalist types even on the tabloid level.

2. Gaslighting matters: The "heterodox" sphere is notorious for whitewashing fellow members of their club by softball 'interviews' or focusing on their most mild and reasonable sounding assertions.

Imagine a journalist was given a one shot time machine to use to go back and interview anyone in history. Imagine the frustration if she used this gift to go back to interview Hitler but only asked him questions on the merits of vegetarianism. No that doesn't mean, say, Jordon Peterson or Bret Weinstein are Hitler, but the analogy still holds.

3. Bad takes matter. Twitter esp. is notorious for the 'bad take'. I define this as something that looks and feels like a respectable and decent argument just from the context of Twitter (or other forum) but everyone with a lick of practical sense knows and sees is BS. Glen Greenwald's feed, for example, demonstrates a mastery of this.

So yes the consequence is every interview you will ever do will have critics buzzing around you asking "why didn't you ask about X" or "how did you ignore he hangs out with a blatant Nazi" Welcome to the reality of everyone being connected. One of my favorite Youtubers is a guy called Mauler who is publishing a 6 part critical take of Star Wars The Force Awakens. To give you a sense, the project is going to be around 15 hours long, he is up to part 4, part 2 or so begins with him just finishing up his criticisms of the opening title crawl.

I can imagine a film director in the 1980's or before would find that type of deep analysis and criticism distressing and perplexing...maybe a sign of mental illness. Maybe one of the movies acknowledged as one of the greatest ever made (Citizen Kane, Godfather, Lawrence of Arabia, Gone w/the Wind?) might merit it. But the new reality is we have plenty of spare 'critical capacity'. That means 'creators' who rarely got much criticism except from their editors and the occasional demented "letter to the editor" type now find every piece they do subjected to the textual criticism 19th Century German scholars applied mainly to the Bible.

And, of course, there is no authority here. The critics themselves are subject to criticism as they often get their nitpicks wrong (or per #3 a 'bad take' can make a valid nitpick seem wrong in Twitter's condensed space for context). In fact there's a whole genre of 'meta critics' who nitpick the critics stuff piece by piece.

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Well put. Thank you for refusing to go along with this fallacy and insisting on writing interesting, thought-provoking articles and interviewing interesting, thought-provoking guests. It will be because of the courage of people like you that we will eventually get to a better place. 🙏

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Let me add -- I hope you follow James Lindsay


His essays/podcasts provide essential background to this phenomenon. https://newdiscourses.com/

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