On May 24th, I had the opportunity to speak at IgniteOKC XI. IgniteOKC is an absolutely amazing event and I promise that I’ll write about it soon. I encourage all Oklahomans to check out IgniteOKC and encourage all my American and International readers to see if there is an Ignite group near you. To no one’s surprise I spoke on the topic of Moderation and the response has been tremendous. Since the event, I’ve received a lot of questions and emails about not only the intellectual underpinnings of Moderation but also some questions around the idea of “what does moderation look like in the day-to-day.” You see, I don’t just believe that Moderation needs a thorough re-examination in our political systems but in all aspects of life. While on a recent vacation, I thought that one helpful tool could be to provide insight into what I believe is a moderate example or story in the media I consume. The idea here is that I will provide just a few “short-form” pieces of media to consume like an article, opinion piece, podcast, YouTube video, or news segment… typically something that you can get through in an hour or less.
For the week of June 17, 2018 to June 23, 2018:
I suspect that most Moderates enjoy reading or watching David Brooks. Not everything he writes is a home run but his batting average is pretty damn good. This week I read two of his opinion pieces and they both drove home the idea of Moderation in subtle ways. I should acknowledge that David Brooks has written quite openly about Moderation in the past so I feel like I know where he stands. In NEITHER of these pieces does he mention Moderation but the topics contribute to the overall idea of moderation. In The Rise of Amnesty Thugs Brooks attacks the idea of hyperbolic, over-simplification of an issue, specifically, the shouting of “Amnesty!” anytime someone tries to reasonably address the issue of immigration in this country. He attacks the idea of bludgeoning reasonable-minded, solution-driven people with troll-like shouting. There are so many quotable lines so it’s best to read it yourself but when someone of Brooks’ pedigree summons George Orwell, it’s hard not to take the bait:
This is what George Orwell noticed about the authoritarian brutalists: They don’t use words to illuminate the complexity of reality; they use words to eradicate the complexity of reality.
In Personalism: The Philosophy We Need, I don’t really need to talk write about it. If you’ve read this far into the post/website, then I’ll leave you with the first two paragraphs of the piece:
One of the lessons of a life in journalism is that people are always way more complicated than you think. We talk in shorthand about “Trump voters” or “social justice warriors,” but when you actually meet people they defy categories. Someone might be a Latina lesbian who loves the N.R.A. or a socialist Mormon cowboy from Arizona.
Moreover, most actual human beings are filled with ambivalences. Most political activists I know love parts of their party and despise parts of their party. A whole lifetime of experience, joy and pain goes into that complexity, and it insults their lives to try to reduce them to a label that ignores that.
If you’re not familiar with The School of Life, then I encourage you to check out their catalog of videos on YouTube. They’re brilliant. The School of Life is the Brainchild of Philosopher Alain de Botton and they’re dedicated to developing Emotional Intelligence. Many of their videos are backgrounds in philosophers and associated concepts but many more videos are dedicated to using sharp animation to do an honest, deep dive into a topic that we’re bound to deal with in our lives. In the video “Knowing Ourselves Intellectually vs. Knowing Ourselves Emotionally”, they explore the idea of knowing something factually and “feeling something” or better yet “knowing how you feel about something”. As it relates to my work in Moderation, I believe this video addresses at least three of the practices to become more moderate: 1-Honesty, 2-Compassion, and 3-Resilience.
I’m a newcomer to How I Built This. I knew a bit about Patagonia and Yvon Chouinard before this episode but I’ve walked away with a fonder appreciation of the man and the company. Although old, I included this episode in this week’s post because Mr. Chouinard strikes me as a fine example of someone I could consider to be a Moderate Leader. He seems to have a natural understanding of people and institutions but also has clearly worked to foster a specific leadership style. In the show he says “A lot of companies, they’re top-down management… we decided to just hire motivated, young, independent people and leave them alone… I studied every book I could on Japanese management styles and Scandinavian businesses and – ‘cause I thought there had to be a different way of doing business.”
If you’ve seen examples of Moderation in your reading, watching, and listening, please feel free to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.