Welcome to newcenter.ca

 

This is a new site and hopefully it will grow in both following and content.

 

This site was created as an antidote to the endless extremism and dishonesty that is currently coming out of the Far Left and also the Far Right. There are not many sources of information that are not contaminated by political biases and this site hopes to fill that void.

 

The initial inspiration for this site came out of Trump's victory in 2016. At that time, I was a left-leaning liberal atheist. I also considered myself to be well-read, science-minded, rational, and continually up to date on current events. I was absolutely certain that Trump would not win the election. This, as everyone knows, turned out to be wrong.

 

The fact that I could be so wrong about something so serious and something so public and widely covered caused me to want to explore my own thinking processes and my own biases. Up until that point I was convinced that only other people had biases and deficiencies in thinking and that I was well-read, morally healthy, and introspective enough to avoid such problems. This also was wrong - seriously wrong.

 

When Trump won, a small piece of a powerful speech by Christopher Hitchens from more than a decade ago came instantly to mind. Some words by H.L. Mencken also came to mind, but those will be directed at others and at our society at large and I will discuss them later. Hitchens was defending free speech at the time and was debating others on the topic. Near the beginning of his speech he said "...might in any case give people to think about why do they know what they already think they know. How do I know that I know this, except that I've always been taught this and never heard anything else? It's always worth establishing first principles. It's always worth saying:  what would you do if you met a Flat-Earth Society member? Come to think of it, how can I prove the earth is round? ... How sure am I of my own views? Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus..." It was a simple and powerful statement and it was time for me to apply it to myself.

 

The first step in figuring out how I had been so wrong was to ask myself how I had formed the opinion that Trump could not win. I had formed that opinion based on the fact that no one liked him or his ideas, or his party. No one...? Based on the information that I had seen, that was the case. Maybe it was the information that I was consuming that was incorrect. Could it be that I had been stuck in an echo-chamber for the last four decades?

 

The only way to find out if I had actually been in an echo-chamber was to search out the arguments from the other side. Up until that point I had consumed a lot of information from public broadcasters and other left-leaning sources. It was time to look to the right-leaning media and see what they were presenting. My exploration of the right-leaning information machine took me to people like Ben Shapiro, Ann Coulter, Stefan Molyneux, Tucker Carlson, Steven Crowder, and many others. I inadvertently ended up listening to many podcasts by Joe Rogan and Dave Rubin - both clearly Liberals in nature and in political views - because some of the Far Left had dishonestly described them as being part of the Far Right for the crime of having long and thoughtful interviews with people with suspected Right leanings. It turns out that both Dave Rubin and Joe Rogan regularly have some amazing interviews with some amazing people. These are deep conversations and if you pay attention you will learn a lot. I highly recommend them both. If you listen to both of their podcasts with Jordan Peterson it might just change your life.  All of this was a real eye-opener.     

 

Eye-opener is actually an understatement. I would say more correctly that it began a process that has radically altered how I perceive the world and the information that continually comes out of it. I am no longer that sure about very much at all. The list of things that I am sure about is small but important. I am sure that I do not like suffering - human or animal; that I am lucky to be alive and to live in the best civilization that has ever been created anywhere or anytime in human history; that history is full of intellectual and moral mistakes and miscalculations that have left too many victims and casualties to begin to measure; and that it if you're going to be honest with yourself, it takes effort to be a decent human being and that to remain a decent human being you must occasionally suspect and scrutinize your own motives. There are a few more things that I am sure of, but I think that the four I mentioned are enough to start with if someone were to want to smash down and break free of their own echo-chamber and begin the process of an intellectual overhaul.   

 

What I found while I was studying the Right is that they had some very good arguments and some very good points. Like the Left, they claimed only to want the world to be a better place. They definitely had a different view of what better is and a different view of how we might get there. They seemed more interested in enforcing laws and also taking on personal responsibility - something that the Left never talks about. But are these not qualities that would improve our society? Some of the things that some of them were saying were also inflammatory, divisive, absurd, incoherent, vile, and full of demagoguery. But then, much of the noise coming out of the Far Left contains these same qualities. Whatever my feelings had been about the Right, I would have to concede that they had many good arguments and that to simply dismiss the Right as intellectually and morally inferior to the Left was a serious mistake. If you listen long enough, and pay enough attention, it isn't actually very difficult to see how Trump won the election.

 

Now back to H.L. Mencken.  Mencken did predict that eventually the United States would end up with a moron in the White House. He predicted this in July of 1920. Mencken was very clear about his suspicion and dislike of the mob mentality. From his writing it appears as though he felt that the ignorant mob was the Achilles heel of democracy. The antidote to the mob mentality is the free-thinking individual. The citizen who does not hold allegiance to any party or philosophy and who can think freely and weigh every issue on its own merit is the opposite of the ignorant mob. What we have currently are two separate mobs - one on the Far Left and one on the Far Right. Both appear to suffer from a fanatical entrenched group-think. Both are dangerous and both are prone to violence. Both are absolutely sure that they are correct - this is always a troubling sign.

 

The way forward and out of this mess is for people to abandon fanatical positions, distance themselves from identity-politics, and stop listening to anyone who claims to speak for a large group of people. If you feel like your sources for news are not challenging you and instead feeding you what you want to hear then you are likely stuck in a confirmation-bias loop and you should break out of it. The purpose of this site is to help with this process and to help increase the size of the political center.     

 

I hope that you find this site useful and informative. We would like to grow the site and improve the quality and quantity of content. It would be extremely helpful if you would become a supporter through Patreon. Any amount at all, no matter how small, is extremely helpful.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jonathon Kneeland

 

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