Some media is better than other media

This article is excellent. I don’t agree with everything in it, but I think it has two very good and important points:
1. If you give up on things like value judgements and expertise, you lose almost all ground you have to say much with oomph. Some things are better than some other things. Aesthetically as well as politically. Media created with nuance and skill is better than kitsch and propaganda. People who spend a lot of time studying a thing do tend to know better than most about that thing. “Elitism” has become such a bad word that we’ve forgotten that it is better to be better.
2. Texts (and other works, but usually texts) that are difficult and slow, but rewarding, to work through have benefits over fast and easy media. Simple messages are easy to use as rallying cries. For good or bad causes. If something takes no thought to consume, then it usually won’t get much thought in its consumption. This isn’t to say that writing in such a way that is needlessly difficult to understand is a good thing, but works that reward reading slowly and rereading and analysizing are better.

Idealists are not climate change deniers

I find Berkeley to be an odd choice of foil in this article.

The author introduces Berkeleian idealism, then poses the problem of a common reality (through Johnson). This, as far as I know, isn’t a super big problem for Berkeley. In fact, it seems to strengthen the case for God’s presence, which is a major part of his metaphysics.

Of course, the atheist idealists have a bigger challenge in answering this objection, but I’ve yet to see it ignored.

Then he moves to an idea that seems more along the lines of what Derrida or Lyotard (or at least my admittedly weak understanding of them) would say — that we all have own own experiences or narratives and cannot break past that. I.e. there’s only the narrative of each subject. Someone agreeing with them would probably disagree with him. I’m not sure someone following Berkeley’s ideas would.

(I also find this point, which seems to be the crux of the argument, uncompelling:

“That’s why we do all agree that sick children denied health care suffer, that opioids are addictive, that adults need jobs to put food on their tables. ”

1. We don’t all agree on any of those.

2. In that sentence, and each other, there’s a tacit “In my experience,” which is just the heart of the matter. Perhaps in his experience everyone agrees. In my experience they do not. Hooray for situations in which no rule of judgement can apply to all subjects involved!)