People always ask me whether I lean right or lean left, and I don’t think I lean either way. When it comes to many underlying social critiques and concerns on both sides there is stuff that I think of as fair and valid and stuff that I feel jumps the shark.

Regarding valid concerns I often don’t see them as mutually exclusive. I think we should aim for a more tolerant, compassionate, and empathetic culture and aim to create that with my example but I also think that it’s important to foster an openness to discussing controversial and uncomfortable topics and opinions. Without that openness to speak to one another, ideas won’t change because no one is willing to engage and tolerate others enough to act as a model of openness and tolerance.

I’m never a big fan of isolation and shaming as a mode of cultural change. This may be better than violence and control, but that doesn’t make it ideal. I don’t want anyone feeling so isolated and shameful that they can’t say what’s on their mind. If so, we can’t identify where reflection or a good example can save someone from themselves and benefit others from being able to retain their peaceful involvement in society.

It’s similar to my thoughts on prohibition. The ill effects of prohibition don’t only occur if a good/service is outrightly prohibited but also if the costs become artificially high. Prohibiting speech explicitly or implicitly with isolation/shame (creating a high cost to speech) can also create speech black markets that only reinforce themselves making outcomes worse and the problem less transparent.

I want open markets, I want open speech, I want an open society because openness allows transparency and accountability for solutions to arise.

(Of course I don’t want anyone to hurt anyone else, but we can much better prevent the violence of others if we can more easily see the warning signs and work them through which may occur when we engage openly in good faith.)