I appeared on Millenniyule with Millennial Woes yesterday, to talk about "rebuilding civilization." I think Woes and I recognize many of the same problems, and we both recognize the magnitude of what it is we are up against, but we have very different ideas when it comes to solutions.
We discuss, essentially, what civilization is, and what is needed in order to protect it from those who might destroy it. I explain why he's wrong, he explains why I'm wrong, and we manage to have a civil conversation for about an hour and a half, wherein nobody gets cancelled, no epithets are hurled, and nothing gets flung around the room (although my cat does start to get nervous near the end.)
I doubt that either of us changed the other's mind much, but I did come away with a clearer understanding of his position - something the social-media moguls would really rather I not do. Why? Because if people can engage directly with those of a different viewpoint, if they can come to understand their position, instead of some distorted charicature of their position... then we might be a little less afraid of each other. And that doesn't help those whose very survival depends on the rest of us being at each others' throats all the time.
A healthy civilization - one that can thrive and endure - requires these kinds of conversations. It requires people to engage with ideas they do not agree with, even ideas they may find uncomfortable. That we are so far away from this as a norm, and that intellectual elites, those who run social-media platforms, and much of society itself are all actively working to squash this kind of conversation, tells us a great deal about the state of our own civilization and its prospects.