In case you haven’t heard of Tim Ferriss, he’s an entrepreneur, author and podcaster attracting many millions of listeners (myself included).
In case you haven’t heard of Charles Koch, he’s one half of the notorious Koch brothers – an inconceivably wealthy ($50bn each) pair of businessmen and major donors to predominantly rightwing political causes in the US.
Koch is a highly controversial figure for a litany of reasons, not least his ties to climate change denial.
Ferriss attracts a large crowd of liberal, progressive millennials. I’d wager at least 80% of Ferriss’ listeners voted Democrat in 2016. And 95% intend to vote Democrat in 2020. And 99% believe that the climate is changing for the worse, and mankind is squarely to blame.
So when Ferriss invited a icon of libertarianism onto his podcast, the cacophony of ‘snowflake outrage’ (to borrow a Daily Mail aphorism) was as loud as it was inevitable:
I’m not here to defend Koch for the many things he’s done and said that, as an ‘outraged snowflake’ myself, I fundamentally disagree with.
But I am prepared to defend and applaud Tim Ferriss for doing what we should all do more of: reaching across the growing divide to listen, to engage and to break-down barriers.
The polarisation of society has perhaps never been worse. We all exist in our respective bubbles, hearing and reading the opinions of people whose values we broadly share and whose perspectives we instinctively feel aligned with. Social media and the 24/7 news cycle is only exacerbating the problem.
We should all work harder to create more opportunities to engage with the other side. To find common ground. To build alliances. To break down the ‘winner takes all’ mentality that is, in reality, a destructive conceit that leaves only losers.