COMMENT:

It's 2019, and I am rebranding as the only columnist any rational person will ever want.

Yes, that's right. In a world short on time and long on empty words, no more will you feel the need to read your regular partisan hack, who is rabbiting their reckonings with about as much relevance as Kodak.

Why? Because I will be the greatest revolutionary. The supreme radical. The most rebellious. To achieve this, in the age of extreme political polarisation, I only have to do one thing - but do it well. Be the voice of reason.

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And when I say 'reason' I don't mean I'll never have a strong opinion again. Oh, no. You can bank on that. But, there's a way of holding an opinion that should not be offered, or automatically received, as coming from a place of tribalism or political partisanship - unless it is actually coming from that place. The world is riddled with commentators like that.

And because the far-left tends to despise me as much as the far-right, I feel uniquely placed to be that voice of reason. I've earned it. I've given blood. I've suffered. I've consistently been an equal-opportunity commentator, unconstrained by petty political party affiliations. Democracy is but a veneer anyway, don't you think?

In 2019, democracy is closer than ever to finally being unequivocally outed as deeply undemocratic. That it can straight-faced deliver the likes of Brexit, Trump and Putin, one must ask whether the looming global apocalypse can't be sped up slightly. I mean, democracy's a lovely idea an' all but, it's over. It exists in name only.

You see, because I take the helicopter view of mostly everything these days, I possess a large measure of pure disconnection. I truly don't care about the latest political scandal, or who's sleeping with who. It's ultimately meaningless to anyone but the protagonists.

What I don't take a helicopter view of, is watching the polarisation between people turn into a gaping, yawning chasm of hatred and enmity - the perfect breeding ground for massive societal breakdown. And bloodshed.

The ever-present emotional danger of even attempting to have a conversation about something that is important to us, with those who see it entirely differently, means we are choosing demonisation and abuse over logic and fairness. Far easier to retreat into our tribes, and throw Stone Age rocks from the entrance of our respective caves.

Which is where the importance of free speech comes in. The preference right now is to ban anyone or anything that threatens one's trigger points. It is a dangerous road. Bumpy, rutted, potholed - and ultimately leading over a cliff. To silence anything that may potentially make you feel 'unsafe' is to have missed Growing Up Lesson 101: The World Is Not Safe.

To deny that reality is to believe that you are the centre of the universe. In other words, a narcissist. To cure this malady, a clue lies in trying to see things from other people's perspective. It means engaging willingly in conversations that may test us, upset us, or teach us. It means welcoming dialogue and conversation that are entered into in good faith.

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In a column late last year, I commented on investments that both Warren Buffett and George Soros hold. For my troubles, I was called an anti-Semite for mentioning Soros, who is Jewish. Nothing for mentioning Buffett, who is not. This is now the level stooped to when people don't like an opinion. They are looking for reasons that aren't there. They are playing the woman, and not the ball. It's unintelligent and conspiratorial. It helps nobody and nothing. Without the willingness to enter into good faith discourse, we are perfectly set up to experience what we are seeing right now. A divided world on the brink of catastrophe. For instance, the political intersection around what constitutes climate change actions - let alone, solutions - will soon become so large that even big rigs will start doing regular burnouts on it.

And if you accept, as I do, that climate change (and all of the fresh hell it will bring with it) is the single biggest challenge facing human civilisation today, then we better get talking and listening to each other, and fast. Everything else is just a distraction.

So, as nothing is rarer these days than applying reason to our conversations, it's safe to say, it's the new extremism. I am officially declaring myself an extremist. If I make you feel "unsafe" for pushing free speech and open dialogue, then don't read me. Easy.

But if these things are important to you, and you're as intelligent and rational as I clearly am, in 2019, I'm your gal!