As an exercise at the end of Chapter 6, RAW advises reading magazines that communicate political ideas you disagree with. And he also advised similar reading habits in this interview:
" I also read at least one periodical every month by a political group I dislike -- to keep some sense of balance. The overwhelming stupidity of political movements is caused by the fact that political types never read anything but their own gang's agit-prop."
I recently listened to Ezra Klein's podcast interview with Tyler Cowen, and I was struck by how Cowen offered similar advice:
"I would say, have friends from all sorts of different idea groups, even if you really don’t like those ideas. And if you have a list of, oh, I won’t have a friend, you know, who’s a Nazi — like, fine. I don’t have a friend who’s a Nazi. But starting to make that list is actually, I think, a bad thing to do. Have diverse friends ... Spend your time building things, doing things, meeting people, going places. Don’t get too much into the complaining, about the right, about the left. Like, whatever you’re going to complain about, a lot of it will be correct. But it’s making you less productive and I would say stupider to be too much into the complaining, if I may complain about the complainers."
When I did my last blog post for the Prometheus Rising discussion group, I committed to take in material I usually avoid: "I also pledge to try to watch a couple episodes of Tucker Carlson's show, someone I've managed to successfully avoid for years. As he is Fox's top show host, it also will be interesting to compare his show with his MSNBC counterpart, Rachel Maddow."
I don't know what it's like in other countries, but in the U.S., politics has largely supplanted religion and any intellectual pursuit as a source of meaning and as a consuming passion. I am not crazy about politics -- I lean toward the Gene Healy theory that politics makes people stupid and mean -- but I sometimes think I'm the only American who doesn't constantly post endless political BS on Facebook.
In any event, I did watch two episodes of Tucker Carlson's evening news show on Fox. Just as Rachel Maddow has the flagship show on MSNBC, Carlson is Fox's top show host. I had to watch Tucker kind of the down low to avoid offending my wife, who watches Maddox almost every night; it would have been difficult to explain I was just trying to do an exercise in Prometheus Rising.
Both shows are both entertaining and manipulative, with each zeroing in on the most risible actions and statements by the other side, and with plenty of sarcasm and wit by the hosts. Mostly because of the vaccination issue, I would say I tend to agree more with Maddow's views, but both are good at scoring points. I wish someone would do a similar TV show to push Reason magazine style libertarianism, the political point of view I lean toward.
It seems to me people in the U.S. might understand each other better if Democrats would watch some episodes of Tucker Carlson's show, and Republicans would watch a few episodes of Maddow's show.