“While I take issue with much of what you say, I tremendously admire the marvelous way you say it.”
–A viewer of the public affairs television program, ‘Firing Line’, to host William F. Buckley Jr.
Nobody has ever been convinced of conservative values after being accosted by an intellectually deaf Occupy Wall Streeter who simply happens to be draped in the flag designed by Christopher Gadsden.
Sounds obvious, right?
Apparently not, because that’s nearly the exact approach adopted by many figures within the umbrella of conservative new media. Instead of reserved, hopeful, reasoned advocacy of classical liberalism and the principles contained therein, these figures turn to an endless cycle of soundbite manufacturing, banal hashtags and the character assassination of anyone who stands in their way.
Gone are the halcyon days of Buckley’s ‘Firing Line’, quite arguably the zenith of political public discourse. Americans, in general, simply don’t bother to compare and contrast the views of others to the extent we used to. As a result, we all retreat into our respective political safe spaces, be it Fox News, MSNBC, Vox, or Breitbart. As such, content creators are incentivized to build echo chambers instead of modern-day Agoras.
This problem is bigger than an election, or who is next to reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s bigger than the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, you, me, — it’s bigger than everything. It is about the death of discourse, and its devolution into shouting matches. We’ve traded quills for clubs, and big ideas for buzzwords.
I wonder if we’ll ever come out of the cave.
Anthony DeFazio is the President of American Individualists, and serves on the Communications team of the Loudoun County Republican Committee. Follow him on Twitter: @anthonyjdefazio; and on Facebook: fb.com/anthonydefaziopage.