As we all learned in grade school math, when a negative is multiplied by a positive, the end result is a negative. The principle applies to politics as well: when a bad paradigm is paired with some very smart people, a bad outcome should be expected. Thus, we observe the messy divorce between Glenn Greenwald and The Intercept.
The question this situation presents isn’t “Why did they break up?” Instead, we should ask what would cause intelligent people with mismatched agendas to get together in the first place. The answer is clear if you’ve put much thought into the structure of political paradigms: it seemed like a good idea under America’s deficient, one-dimensional model of partisanship ……
This narrow, flatland approach to partisan positioning makes the two parties’ differences seem incidental. Sure, Greenwald occasionally acts the centrist by appearing on right leaning media, but those are mere quirks of his genius, correct? Likewise, The Intercept has placed all its chips on blue with the woke agenda, but that isn’t so inconsistent with Greenwald’s outlook, is it?
When their views sort on a better model, the structural differences in their outlooks become clear. The power axis clarifies just how far apart their worldviews actually are.
Both parties hold to liberal values. Therefore, they sort to the left side of the circle. But their orientation toward power differs. This places their locations far apart. Greenwald has championed transparency and free speech, regardless of personal cost. These, and other qualities of citizen empowerment, place him low within the lower left quadrant. In contrast, The Intercept’s orientation is more neo-Marxist. It finds a home quite high in the upper left quadrant …… the home of centralized solutions.
It’s likely that their conflict has been intensifying for a very long time. And the breaking point might have been spurred by an election season move of the news site upward on the circle …… a location even higher than the one shown above. It’s difficult for two parties to resolve their conflicts when there are too many degrees of separation between them.
Greenwald’s position in relation to the news site he founded is one of many misunderstandings created by a deeply flawed paradigm. Such confusion is resolved by shifting to a two-dimensional construct. For example, Tucker Carlson has moved lower on the circle in recent years. Thus, Greenwald’s position is closer to Carlson’s than it is to The Intercept ……
Substack will be a better home for Greenwald than the Intercept ever was. But can he exert effective leverage on the political landscape within that format? Only time will tell. But this is actually a secondary concern: his switch to a new site is less important than a switch to a better political paradigm.
As for The Intercept, expect a deeper purge in the near future, as Greenwald’s low quadrant allies fail to meet the purity standards the news site now requires.