What did you do during the great Los Angeles rains, Daddy?
Well, son, I wrote this nearly 8,000 word piece with no real thesis.
Um, why did you do that?
Well, I had a bunch of new subscribers from Jonathan V. Last’s recommendation of a recent piece of mine about backing away from Twitter. Evidently I felt the need to drive most of those subscribers away! Weird, isn’t it?
I guess. Can I go outside and play?
Sure, son. Sure you can.
If there is a thesis to my latest Substack piece, it is that almost whatever you believe, there is often a pretty good counterargument . . . unless you restrict your beliefs to very simple and incontestable propositions like: “I should always strive to do the right thing.”
In the piece, I examine the arguments for things like: the notion that a writer should challenge his readers; the dangers of tribalism; the importance of expertise; the case for prosecuting Donald Trump; and the notion that Trumpism is worse than wokeness. But I also explore why a writer should reassure his readers; the importance of questioning expertise and conventional wisdom; the case against prosecuting a candidate like Trump; and the dangers of wokeness that make them potential harbingers of totalitarianism.
In short, there’s something there for everyone to hate. Hence the title.
In the course of the discussion, I recommend a few books and podcasts along the way, and engage in a rant or two. Here’s a sample:
One of the things that irritates me the most about Big Media is the sheeplike herd mentality that reporters and editors adopt about all conventional wisdom. Big Media positively sneers at anyone who bucks the Conventional Wisdom on any topic. Their attitude seems to be: “He who knows only his own side of the case knows . . . everything he needs to know, and the opinions of adversaries can always be safely dismissed as ridiculous.” In that way, Big Media is the anti-Mill (John Stuart Mill, that is) when it comes to questioning the conventional wisdom.
To take one glaring example: it is Conventional Wisdom that it is stupid for any politician to talk about entitlement reform. When have you ever seen anyone on a major network make the case, at length, in reasoned discussion, that the current path we are on is unsustainable? Anyone who even thinks of mentioning such a thing is ultimately bullied into claiming that they never really said such a thing (see: Rick Scott, Mike Lee, Ron DeSantis, and the list could go on and on). No major news anchor will ever have any of these people on and express sympathy for the undeniable fact that these programs can’t go on this way forever. Instead, they harangue them over and over: but you do want to reform entitlements, dontcha? Dontcha? Dontcha? Example:
And if any of these folks ever even hinted that it’s not a crazy topic to broach, the anchor would simply point out that the American people won’t stand for it and it’s very, very unpopular. Well, sure, in no small part due to the way that Big Media refuses to explain why it’s necessary.