About 9 months ago I left Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This because I had grown very tired of the non-stop push of a particular political point of view. My FB friends showed a clear bias and no willingness to consider another point of view. No willingness whatsoever. These people work for newspapers, government or are academics with a teaching position. What especially stunned me was the verbal aggression from people I considered friends.
If my liberal, progressive and tolerant friends are like that how is the other side then? The other side being the deplorables. I had no deplorable friends, where do I find those?
I dug up some old podcast called Red Ice Radio I used to listen to. In those old days it was about UFOs some paranormal stuff but above all conspiracies. I left when it turned into a kind of alt-right enterprise. It didn't feel right.
Now I got at least one place to start and took the plunge. Some of the interviews made sense, some didn't. Some were like my FB friends but shouting from the other side of the line. Some presented data I could check to some extend and these people made sense to me.
I cannot put a number on it but let us say half of the interviewees said "leave us alone and let us be free". The other half says" they are to blame...". As a creative person I am 100% in the camp of leave me alone and free. But when I look around me I see people telling me what to do and above all what to think.
I do not like that
Next I became part of a select group of activists, entrepreneurs and techies. I wanted to be part of this group as the leader had a clear message about building a new kind of internet. This new internet would then support free speech. It saddened me to see the same name calling there as well. All so useless as there was enough talent to build something useful.
I left and stumbled into an other group with more focus. It was the same but more gentle. I left and got invited to be part of an even more dedicated community of builders. But this group over a short period of time faced the problems it tried to resolve: support free speech.
One of the members had a swastika like symbol as his avatar. One or two people felt offended and left. Other people jumped onto this and began to tell the swastika had to leave. I wondered why all the upheaval. The swastika is an old symbol, look this up yourself. It the Finnish air force used this way before the NSDAP adopted a version of the swastika.
What does the symbol say about the person? What does the person say? So I asked and the answers was about freedom, healthy living, being industrious and about honour. The answer was not "they are to blame..." or "they the deplorables...". I almost got a sense about being part of the land and nature, something I deeply care for.
But no one in the group of free speech bothered the ask. Many choose to point the finger. Some were clearly afraid of free speech itself. If you can't stand the heat stay out of the kitchen.
And this hit home to me, people do not read, do not ask and are not willing to converse. The same as my so called liberal friends at FB. Some people though were honest, open minded and eager to converse about things. A significant larger percentage of the pro-freedom compared to the liberal people.
And even this group I left as similar people I said goodbye to in my business life showed up. The planners, the ones who share animated gifs and endless URLs. I like the do-ers, the nerds and true artists. I like the open-minded people. I like people who hit the keys. I like people who can take a step back and look at things through a different lens. I like people who can say " I do not understand you but will try".
And so I said goodbye to the alt-right. With some pain in my heart as I found truly nice people there. But at my return I realized once more that this world is messy. I realized that I am happiest when among honest and open-minded people. There are only a few around me though, and those I cherish...