There are certain people that I spend a lot of time listening to on YouTube. These are people who are nothing alike. They are very brainy people and good at making cogent arguments that really make sense. They have a gift as explainers. Some of their ideas I agree with, and some I do not, but I am always willing to listen.
The first one I have pictured here is Russell Brand. He describes himself as a comedian. But I find much of what he has to say is the kind of comedy that Mark Twain and Will Rogers once did, and John Stewart and Bill Maher now do. He explains things about how our basic rights as Americans, and human beings, are being compromised and even taken away from us. He often hits themes of economic inequality, racism, and love for your fellow man. I was fascinated by his interview of members of the Westboro Baptist Church. He absorbed their hate-filled insults and deflected them back with grace and wit. He routinely examines the fear-mongering tactics of Rupert Murdoch and Fox News. He ridicules them and undoes their propaganda with such reasoned defusing of hate-bombs. He talks fast and uses big words, and even though I know many people who absolutely hate him, I listen to him constantly.
This second man is Russell’s opposite. Stefan Molyneux is a Libertarian philosopher that my more liberal friends are absolutely horrified by. He goes into the problematic behavior of liberal heroes like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Junior, debunking, defaming, and generally de-mythologizing them. He believes things about not helping the poor and taking apart the government that I soundly disagree with, an for basically Republican Libertarian reasons which seem very self-centered and self-serving to me. But he is able to put forward cogent arguments that are so clear and inter-connected that you have to admire his Occam’s Razor thinking and over-all consistent philosophy. He even seems to have a decent Christian concept of love that is ironic in the face of his seeming atheism.
My first encounter with John Green came about by buying a copy of Mental Floss in book form from Half-Price Books. His wonderful wit and sharp intellect is demonstrated in detail in all the ironic twists and shocking tidbits of information that fill his books and video series like Mental Floss, Crash Course, and his best-selling novel (now a movie) The Fault in Our Stars. Like the other two, he talks fast, uses words you often need to look up, slips fast one-liners by you, and connects ideas so smoothly that very complex things become simple and elegant. I find that, of the three of these men, I would most like to meet and talk with this wise and gentle man. I definitely intend to acquire and read his book as soon as I can… I mean his novel. I have already seized and devour as many of the Mental Floss books as I could find. I guess I really think that he is more like me than either of the other two, although, I know that that is somewhat conceited to say out loud… or even in writing.
So what is the point of this post? These are three wise men who I listen to and allow to shape the edges of my intellect and basic beliefs. I really believe you should investigate them for yourself. But what do I know? I am still on the Quest to be a Wizard.