We have all heard of this “marketplace of ideas” but, where actually is it?
Sure, it sounds funny when you put it like that, but I’m being quite serious here. I think there should be a website (or app, maybe) where people can express ideas, vote on the ideas they agree with, and rate how strongly they feel about them.
Then, people could find other ideas, and rate them too, and explore the links, maybe even view ideas that seem to conflict with those they feel strongly about. Perhaps we could even draw connections and vote for the best related/supporting ideas.
The media does a pretty terrible job of this, because it focuses on the new and sensational rather than the more important areas that are not drama sources. For example, homicide and terrorism get way, way more coverage than suicide and heart disease.
Politics is mostly a side show. We send our representatives to the capital to duke it out over made-up issues, which we feel strongly about when we hear of them, but which aren’t the most important things in our lives. But, our chosen champions get distracted and then fail to address the most important, most jugular issues.
The only place I’ve seen that comes close is Wikipedia, which has developed into a tool for building consensus, but it seems to result in bland articles with the depth of feeling and relative importance of things kind of stripped out, or at least muted. Wikipedia can say “Some believe X while others believe Y” but it’s not a meaningful discussion of why people disagree.
Is someone, somewhere, already building the marketplace of ideas for this century? The Internet has been around a while, and I can find a hundred types of porn, but I can’t find even one place that I can reasonably discuss why our roads are crumbling and our schools are the worst they have been in a hundred years, and what can/should be done about it?