Alexander Film Works

Taking Extremism to the Extreme…

In It Bugs Me on August 1, 2011 at 4:21 pm

I am not encouraged by the trend of the increasing polarization of opinions in America.  The extreme edges of opinion are moving farther from the center, and from each other, with the only conclusion I can see being a holy war of extermination between the sides.

This doesn’t bode well for those of us clustered around the middle-of-the-road opinions, since the hyperconservatives would think we are all fuzzy-headed bleeding heart Communist-sympathizer liberal pinko fellow travelers, and the ultraliberals would think we are all neoconservative reactionary automatic-weapon loving NRA sympathizer troglodytes.

Neither one is true, necessarily.  There may be individuals in either camp who fit the description, but as a general rule, each of us – and I mean EACH of us – fits a data point on the Gaussian distribution of the general population.

In other words, it’s all on the curve.

And what really cheeses me off is the rigidity and intolerance these people show toward their counterparts on the other side.  It’s like, “I’m right, and you’re stupid!”

The saddest thing?  These people don’t anger me because they can’t think… they anger me because they don’t think.  There is always more than one side to a story, but these people refuse to acknowledge it, let alone admit it.

“Compromise” is not a dirty word.  “Making the best deal you can” does not mean grinding your opposition into the concrete.  Rigidity in the defense of your position is not necessarily a virtue.  Seeing the other side of the argument is not a fatal character flaw.

If you can moderate your position enough to get your counterpart to moderate hers, then neither one of you might be totally excited about the outcome, but neither one of you will be diametrically opposed to it, either.

That was one definition of a compromise I read in a political biography some time back… In a compromise, nobody is totally happy with the final result, but neither is anyone totally opposed to it.

That works for me.

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