It is interesting how easy it is to get banned. In big language, we would say one only needs to question the dominant paradigm. In plain language, we’d say you just need to upset the apple cart.
Another way to get banned is by speaking as if you are taking a “side” in a popular “debate” about a political hot-button “issue”. This is clearly the case in Nick Hanauer’s TED talk from May.
Except that it isn’t. He isn’t taking a “side”. He is dealing with the reality.
We eagerly suspend the primary function of conversation: that we are rooting out truth collaboratively: while ascribing to people a static position. This undermines the very notion of discovery, critical thinking, and problem solving because it intentionally obscures truth behind a false dichotomy.
As Hanauer goes through the data, he disproves the primary argument batted back and forth among the media elites about the relationship between taxes and jobs. It is an argument that is so easily proven false through not only data, but our own experience of the last thirty years, and Hanauer disproves it so quickly, that there should be nothing the least bit controversial about it.
Oh! But it just so happens to be an argument put forth by progressives and even some Democratic lawmakers. Therefore, it must be classified as “political” and therefore “too controversial” to go up on the TED website. Until a controversy about avoiding controversy developed so they put it online after all.
The problem is that the “issue” is being used to obscure more than just the reality of one 6 minute talk about how jobs are really created. It is used to obscure the very arrangement of the media’s role in obscuring truth. This talk demonstrates the overall preference for maintaining the existing conflict between the Left and Right over the discerning of truth.
So what do we do about it?
When the dominant paradigm is as easily proven false as this one about lower taxes leading to job growth is, we are left with the opportunity to create something new–not a new paradigm, at least not yet anyway–but new conversation, new structures, and new goals for the policies effected by this. In this case, when the apple cart is upturned, we are obligated to figure out a way forward. And there is no room there for political BS.
Perhaps this is the biggest fear of the media elites. Because they have no interest in collaboration or conversation, but in conflict and discord. When we collaborate, it makes it hard to ascribe existing static positions on the participants, because those helping gather the apples, and prepare a new cart aren’t so easily divided and categorized.
I disagree with the usual rhetoric about becoming post-partisan or pursuing a rise in moderates. I also disagree with the common thinking that consequences must be removed from the table so that people aren’t punished for doing the right thing. The real step is to get the media, and this includes the leaders of TED, to recognize the clear difference between “controversial” and “honest”. A true conversation about solving our crises doesn’t require the elimination of crises so that we can sit down and solve what no longer exists. It needs honesty and openness.
We need to be able to make fixing the obvious crisis with a positive solution the priority. This only happens when the people and our media make it our priority. It should surprise no one when it suddenly becomes lawmaker priority.
Shouldn’t the honest conversation be more important than ascribing easily definable positions to its participants?