It’s hard to have honest civil discussion in this time of white privilege and identity politics. It doesn’t matter what your creed or color is. For some, if you’re ‘white’ you’re an ‘oppressor’ and wrong; if you’re not white you’re oppressed, angry and right. For others, if you’re white you’re in the right and if you’re not you’re a leftist and wrong. Everyone stays in their own echo chamber and yells at a wall.

Being in an echo chamber narrows a person’s mind. Paleo Foundation writes;

One of the biggest dangers and most calamitous aspect of echo chambers is that they tend to lead to a lack of original thoughts, dissenting opinions, and challenging ideas.  On an organizational level, this can limit our opportunities for growth and stem healthy and necessary debate. With the sheer amount of information accessible on the internet today, finding “scientific” studies that bolster your own opinion is fairly uncomplicated. The best way, then, to encounter dissenting ideas and beliefs that do not conform to your own point of view is through actively seeking out people and groups who candidly disagree with your own perspective.

Echo chambers limit problem solving ability and split communities up rather than uniting people. The Paleo Foundation continues

Another problem associated with echo chambers within an organization is that they can limit our ability to effectively solve problems and respond to the exact issues that they endeavor to address. The constant and perpetual affirmation of our own beliefs that occurs within an echo chamber obviously causes division and polarization.  And, polarized communities and societies lack the social capital that is necessary to work together on shared problems and common issues.

The best way to deal with the problem of social echo chambers it to step out of yours. The only difficulty with that strategy is that once you step out of your echo chamber – its lonely out there. There still isn’t any possibility of meaningful dialogue because everyone else is still in their echo chamber. You’re left speaking to the outer wall of echo chambers and others continue yelling at the inner walls of their respective echo chambers.

This isolating feature of echo chambers is exacerbated by the problem that there is little incentive for close minded people to leave their echo chamber. If they like to win arguments – nobody wins when everyone is just ‘yelling’ at each other. Even if a person struggles with their close mindedness, realizing they have that problem, to step out of the echo chamber doesn’t provide communication when the prevailing idea of discussion is to prove your point which others must accept. Where can you go but remain in your echo chamber. There seems to be little alternative and many people opt for this, leaving silence in the public space that desperately needs open honest communication.

Sadly, there is no ‘real victory’ in the insulated peace within echo chambers. The ‘woke’ won’t debate because they’re not interested in debate. James Lindsay of New Discourses states:;

. . . you’ll find them resistant to engaging in debate because they fully believe that engaging in debate or other kinds of conversation forces them to do their work in a system that has been rigged so that they cannot possibly win, no matter how well they do. They literally believe, in some sense, that the system itself hates people like them and has always been rigged to keep them and their views out. Even the concepts of civil debate (instead of screaming, reeeee!) and methodological rigor (instead of appealing to subjective claims and emotions) are considered this way, as approaches that only have superiority within the dominant paradigm, which was in turn illegitimately installed through political processes designed to advance the interests of powerful white, Western men (especially rich ones) through the exclusion of all others. And, yes, they really think this way.

The ‘un-woke’ won’t debate because they have been silenced and cancelled. They’re not coming out of hiding because no one likes being yelled at. But there are costs to ‘avoidance of being yelled at.’ Clint Margrave sums it up nicely;

The woke were the new fundamentalists. Their tactics were illiberal, damaging to a society that believed in the free exchange of ideas and free speech. They weaponized social media and were turning us into a surveillance society. In the name of democracy, freedom, reason and the Enlightenment, it was important to push back against this illiberal tribe. After all, unlike them, my tribe was intellectually honest. We had checks and balances. We were ideologically diverse. We avoided groupthink. We even avoided saying we. Except when we didn’t. Because we were also prone to tribal behavior, just like any other tribe.

I am not ‘woke’ but I don’t want to be ‘anti-woke.’ Yet the ‘woke’ leave me no choice – most just ‘yell’ at me. ‘Anti-woke’ can’t be the only default position but in a polarized society where if you don’t belong in one group you must be in the other there is little space for a silenced and canceled person to be heard for who they are not what others make them out to be.

What do you think?