Discover more from Free Thinking Through the Fourth Turning with Sasha Stone
Interview with James Strock and an Explainer
James Strock is a writer, political analyst, and what I would call a “thought leader.” His Substack is rich with brilliant essays on our past, present, and future. I was thrilled when he asked me to be a guest on his podcast. I’ve been listening to his interviews for quite a while so it was, again, exciting to be on it.
I also wanted to offer a bit of an explainer to new subscribers here. I seem to attract readers from various different factions of the internet. I don’t think it’s possible for one Substack to satisfy everyone. Even The Free Press, which I think is a great start, is probably less satisfying for, say, Trump supporters.
On the flipside, so many who have fled the Left in search of common sense and criticism of the insanity that has taken hold, aren’t exactly thrilled by someone writing in a MAGA-friendly way. The baseline on the Left is you must HATE Trump and his supporters.
I would probably have more subscribers if I took one side or the other fully and completely. But I don’t. For instance, I write a lot about January 6th and Trump in a sympathetic way. That in itself is a major thoughtcrime almost everywhere. But at the same time, I don’t write about the issues often discussed in MAGAland, like the border, or the vaccine, abortion, etc.
I used to believe I was a Democrat for life. That was because we used to divide between core issues: abortion, gun control, taxes. Over time, other issues have divided us and we’re supposed to obey our tribal affiliation and align with our rightful side. The common theory is that each side has become more extreme over time. But I don’t really see it that way. I see one side becoming more extreme (the Left) and another side reacting to it (the Right).
That doesn’t make one better than the other necessarily but I find myself stuck in the middle. I am trying to make sense of what’s happening to our country, to all of us. That wasn’t possible if I stayed inside the bubble of the Left.
It was partly a desire to be able to simply write freely what I actually thought instead of writing in the language of the new Left, careful of every word, pushing an ideology, etc. I find it strange that I am more afraid of people on the Left than I am of people on the Right. That’s because on the Left there is a disconnect from reality.
But I am not just switching sides either. I didn’t go from, as someone in the comments recently suggested, “thinking Trump was the antichrist to thinking the Demcorats are the antichrist.” I never thought in those terms. But I did find that I could not continue to stand by a group of people that was not only dehumanizing another group of people but was demanding I go along with it.
I don’t want to HATE people anymore based on what they believe. If I did I’d have to wish for the obliteration of all mankind because every person alive has something to hate about them. I love animals, especially pigs, and I can’t stand what is happening to them in factory farms. So I’d have to hate everyone who eats bacon. I love dogs so I’d have to hate everyone in countries that kill and eat dogs. I have to think about things from their perspective and realize they’re not bad people. They just don’t the extreme empathy I seemed to have been cursed with (like I can’t even cut a leaf off a basil plant without feeling some guilt).
So for people, I’m expected to hate on the Right, like Tucker Carlson, Candace Owens, or Matt Walsh, I can’t. I don’t agree with many of the things they say or believe but I’ve listened to them enough to see their humanity by seeing things from their point of view.
This was the biggest change in me that occurred in 2020, other than leaving the Democratic Party. Something about that year made it impossible for me to tolerate one more minute of a group of very wealthy, powerful people spending all of their time hating one man and his supporters.
It is hard for people to understand all of this. It’s much easier for them to simply say I’ve become radicalized or “right-wing.” What can I say to that? Nothing that won’t end in a screaming match.
Most people, I have found, are decent. They’re doing the best they can with what they have. There are people who are born “bad,” without a doubt. And there are people who have been raised to be violent or cruel because that is how they were raised. But in general, we’re all just out here doing the best we can.
So welcome to my Substack. Hopefully you will find something worth reading. The podcasts have music and audio clips, which I think enhance the experience (for some).
Hope you enjoy my interview with James too. That link is here.