Been on Twitter lately?

Are you maxed out? Maybe you should switch to listening to a podcast instead.

It’s something Max Fawcett has been thinking about for a while.

How to have a reasonable conversation with people he disagrees with.

Yes. He has been thinking about that.

Yes, our Max Fawcett, CNO’s lead political columnist.

If that sounds strange coming from a columnist known for his take-no-prisoner style of writing, then you don’t know the real Max Fawcett.

He’s actually a reasonable guy, who happens to love a good argument.

“The way I’m wired, I like conflict, I like disagreement,” he says. “I think at some level, we’re losing the ability to disagree. We’re good at dunking on people, we’re good at mockery and sarcasm, but principled disagreement is something that we’re losing track of. I think that has consequences for civil society.”

Can we just have a reasonable conversation? Yes, says Twitter combatant @maxfawcett. Tune into his new podcast Maxed Out, brought to you by @NatObserver. #cdnpoli #podcast

The loss of principled argument is a phenomenon springing from myriad sources.

Twitter and Facebook algorithms that reward anger and push highly emotive messages up the stream. Discourse from politicians eager to win arguments at any cost, even if it means taking a detour from the truth. An increased polarization of politics. Disinformation. Cancel culture. Pandemic stress. Russian troll farms. Socio-political bubbles. Take your pick. We’re all feeling a little attacked and less able to express ourselves and our ideas.

Could Max Fawcett be the one to turn it all around?

Well, he’d like to try,

That's the thought behind his new podcast Maxed Out.

On the podcast, Fawcett will invite guests who do NOT share his views to engage in reasonable conversation.

Maxed Out will not hammer home a political take or perspective, but rather provide space for people to talk it out — something social media and real life rarely allow these days. Nor will this podcast simply confirm anyone’s biases. It is meant to challenge us all, even Fawcett himself, to think outside our bubbles.

“My goal is to reach out to people who I don’t agree with on a lot of issues, really drill down on whatever the bone of contention is between us, try to have a civil, fact-based discussion about our disagreements and see where we net out at the end,” Fawcett says. “I think it’s important for there to be a place where we can air these disagreements outside the safety of our respective confines.”

Fawcett won’t always come out the winner. “We’re going to show it’s a fair and equitable environment,” he says.

“Basically, we’re all waiting for that moment when someone bests Max,” joked editor-in-chief Karyn Pugliese. “Seriously, though, I agree that the way we talk to each other, the way we engage with each other has changed over recent years, and not for the better. Social media sniping being at least partly the reason. A podcast with a long exploration of two people passionately but faithfully discussing their differences — I think we need that.”

“Max is a really gifted writer, and he’s also a strong, controversial influencer on Twitter, unafraid to state strong opinions,” says CNO publisher Linda Solomon Wood.

“On social media, a lot of us have these personas, but what I’m really excited about is that Max is just a really fine, intellectually engaged person to talk with and think out ideas with. I’m so excited about Max having the opportunity to bring that to his podcast, along with some really exciting topics and guests, and find that middle ground that we so badly need in the Canadian political discourse.”

Maxed Out will be released on Tuesday on iTunes and wherever you listen to podcasts. It is all part of CNO's new podcast series. More to come.

Keep reading

Canadaland makes it possible to download the MP3 file.

I do not subscribe to any streaming service. So "where I get my podcasts" is here, unless you don't allow me to download an MP3 file, in which case, I don't get podcasts, because you're just shilling for Big Tech streaming services.

Hi Roy, Max's podcast will be available on CNO, too! Linda

That will be great. Thank-you!
I do get that content-creators don't want to give MP3 files out, but I don't think Canadaland or CNO newscasts have "password-sharing friends" the way that Netflix does. People who listen to Max are happy to support Max.
And the current woes at Twitter have me less eager than ever to "sign up with a service" - for anything.

"find that middle ground that we so badly need in the Canadian political discourse"

Max Fawcett largely supports and defends federal Liberal policy against conservative attack. On energy and climate, Liberal policy is a resounding failure.
If Liberal climate policy represents the "middle ground" between the best-available science and right-wing denialism, Canada will fail.
The path of compromise between the dictates of science and political reality will never take us where we need to go. Hence, the need for climate leadership. Decision-making based on the best available science.
The "argument to moderation" is a fallacy. Otherwise known as false compromise, argument from middle ground, equidistance fallacy, and the golden mean fallacy, it asserts that the truth must be found as a compromise between two opposite positions.
"An example of a fallacious use of the argument to moderation would be to regard two opposed arguments—one person saying that the sky is blue, while another claims that the sky is in fact yellow—and conclude that the truth is that the sky is green."
The prudent path lies between the two extremes. In this case, between science/ecological reality and denialism. The compromise solution is weak denialism: acknowledge the science, but ignore its implications. Boast about climate leadership, but push fossil fuel expansion and pipelines. Sign int'l agreements, but fail to live up to them. Putting emissions targets out of reach. Which is still denialism.
The new denialism. Just as delusional as the old kind but more insidious. And far more dangerous.
"The New Climate Denialism: Time for an Intervention" (The Narwhal)
No, sometimes the facts and the numbers line up on one side. Not in the mushy middle.
The Liberals want to have their cake and eat it too. We can both expand oilsands production and meet our climate targets. The numbers do not support this proposition.
The Trudeau Liberals and petro-progressive provincial parties are betting on climate failure. If failure on the all-encompassing key issue of our time is acceptable to you, then, by all means, vote Liberal.
And listen to Max Fawcett defending the indefensible.

This point cannot be emphasized enough. Thank you for making it--and for leading me to the Narwhal piece, which was apparently written by Seth Klein and Shannon Daub. Published in 2016! Plus ça change . . .

This point cannot be emphasized enough. Thank you for making it so clearly--and for the pointer to the Narwhal piece, which was apparently written by Seth Klein and Shannon Daub. Published in 2016! Plus ça change . . .

In my experience it is not possible to have a reasonable conversation with today's conservatives about the big issues of today (Climate Change, Social Issues including abortion rights, the drug pandemic, pandemic masking, war on drugs use, etc etc). I find that when I drill-down through a lot of confusing and twisted 'logic', they just believe what they believe. They have no data or pier-reviewed studies to support their positions (because the science community is too biased to test and prove their counter-ideas), no reputable support for these ideas from other sources (because the media is biased against them), are against so-called social progressive issues (racism, sexism and so on) because it's just hollow political correctness, and so on. The conversations end in frustration on both sides with conservatives finally saying "you either see it or you don't.....and you don't". That much we do agree on at least, but it is not a productive conversation. It's like a conversation between someone suggesting an evolutionary history vs someone suggesting a creationary history for the human race. It serves nobody and is not a reasonable conversation because there is no reason behind creationism which is based not on reason but on faith-based belief. Today's conservative views are based on belief. They get quite angry and paranoid when that belief is bared to the cold wind of reason. Can we have a reasonable conversation, please? No.

Agreed. It's like we don't even speak the same language, because we don't.
The key word IS "reason" and you could add "truth." Conservatives have screamed that in our faces over and over by showing us over and over that both of those hallowed progressive concepts are entirely "negotiable."
It's kind of sweet how we on the left keep trying different "approaches" to this fundamental intransigence, but it's fully binary now, turns out there ARE two kinds of people in the world, as in we're Zalensky and they're Putin. Can you reason with Putin?
And thank you, James S, for being willing to say out loud that religion is the unacknowledged reason we can never agree; it's hiding in plain sight but provides not only the platform but even more importantly, the SANCTION for the right wing with its unique appropriation of the word FAITH, as in, "you just have to have faith" and just BELIEVE. It's written on placards in "Bed, Bath and Beyond" for gods' sake. It's the first and worst big lie and fake news with "alternate facts" that inevitably lead to an "alternate reality." And a disproportionate number of conservatives are believers. And many "at the top" probably don't actually "believe" but are using it big-time to effectively divide and conquer. Social media has been a true "blessing," one of those code words that currently abounds.