Extremeism vs Observing Due Measure

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Davis 1 year, 8 months ago.

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    ‘Observe due measure; moderation is best in all things’, Hesiod (c.700 bc)

    In this landscape of Alt Right Activists, Militant Feminists, Christian Fundamentalists, White Supremacists, Social Justice Warriors, Environmental Extremists, Gender Activists, Flat Earthers/Conspiracy Theorists and End-of-the-World Preppers, etc, etc; I feel so detached.

    What the Fuck Happened ??? Has this giant rift been brewing for decades? I think that since Trump assumed office it is off the hook.

    People are so convicted in their opinions that civil discussions are impossible. Often when confronted these people are practically devoid of facts or worse yet, they regurgitate untruths. Fists fly, people are run-over, families are ripped apart, holidays are ruined by shouting matches.

    We have extreme sports, extreme music, extreme foods. I would really welcome a move towards moderation and civility. I fear, perhaps it’s too late and the American experiment has already failed and we just don’t know it yet. We need real leadership. A new Abe Lincoln to lead us out of these new civil wars.






    My educated guess, in brief:

    1) Humans are tribal by nature; human history is full of examples of campaigns and wars driven by fear mongering leaders, and other paranoic tendencies. That’s not new.

    2) Repressive, authoritarian regimes that wrap entire cultures in their own reality bubble is also just as old as civilization itself.

    3) What’s new is pervasive globalism, and even newer is pervasive, instant ways for people to find personal bubbles and join and vehemently identify themselves with tribes that cross national and other cultural boundaries.

    I.e., it’s a festering of tribalism that can now transcend what used to be local and natural, physical boundaries.

    I feel I first became aware of modernized tribalism when talk radio started to get nasty and then increasingly nasty when media giants found profitable ways to pander it to increasingly large audiences. The internet just made it all more virulent, and I’m personally certain that Trump/Bannon/Mercers used the internet and played media powers at a higher, more manipulative level to barely win the election. I also personally believe that T/B/M learned much of their tactics and strategies from examples in the present world’s authoritarian regimes and the success of oligarchies like Putin’s.

    Imo, the irony is that the only way to battle such abusive, subjugating powers is by transparently building a more educated, and honestly informed populace at a grass roots level. An “open source” culture, if you will, religiously [sic] skeptical of anyone or any large institution in power. Also ironically, there’s immense potential for local grass roots movements themselves to join together on a global scale.


    The “open source” idea is good. Small groups can unite under one banner more easily via social networks and can spread their ideas quickly, like the #MeToo movement or the Arab spring events. Of course it has its downside too when steered by the Bannons of the world. See this article from yesterdays Sunday School which complements this topic.  “Tipping Point



    Thanks Reg, an appropriate link I neglected until now. Recently I also ran into another interesting-looking writing (Political Tribes by Amy Chua):

    Humans are tribal. We need to belong to groups. In many parts of the world, the group identities that matter most – the ones that people will kill and die for – are ethnic, religious, sectarian, or clan-based. But because America tends to see the world in terms of nation-states engaged in great ideological battles – Capitalism vs. Communism, Democracy vs. Authoritarianism, the “Free World” vs. the “Axis of Evil” – we are often spectacularly blind to the power of tribal politics. Time and again this blindness has undermined American foreign policy.

    In the Vietnam War, viewing the conflict through Cold War blinders, we never saw that most of Vietnam’s “capitalists” were members of the hated Chinese minority. Every pro-free-market move we made helped turn the Vietnamese people against us. In Iraq, we were stunningly dismissive of the hatred between that country’s Sunnis and Shias. If we want to get our foreign policy right – so as to not be perpetually caught off guard and fighting unwinnable wars – the United States has to come to grips with political tribalism abroad.


    I think it is true that America sees the world in terms of ideological battles. While I am generally very pro America in my own views it does irk me at times when I see or hear its’ foreign policy defined along those lines. After 9/11 President Bush spoke of “A clash of Civilizations” between the US and the Islamic world and I cringed listening to the rhetoric. I thought it was a serious misunderstanding of how the world, especially the Middle East, works. Obama did make inroads in trying to restore some balance to it again when he told the Turkish government that the US was not, nor never will be, at war with Islam. I did more than cringe when I heard Trump’s take on it and his one liner solutions…….

    I think today was a very good deal for North Korea but we have heard it all before from them. I will leave commentary on that to Bill Maher and Stephen Colbert.

    Apologies in advance but there was also a good article on the “nation state” followed by how politics could revert to it origins with us ordinary plebeians becoming patricians for a term in political office….in the latest Sunday School 🙂



    Simon Paynton

    I find a little bit of civility goes a long way in these circumstances.  If one side is offering civility and a measure of humility, the other should welcome it and offer the same in return.  Then, discussions can begin and progress can be made.

    When civility is offered unexpectedly, the result can be surprise and gratitude.



    The minute emotional choices entered the political arena, logical discourse flew out of the window.  People are not debating issues, they’re debating people. The emotional attachment to ‘characters’ in politics is pretty new, and the result is logic-free opinions. I’m hoping it’s a kind of tidal movement, where eventually sense will prevail, but I’m not at all convinced that the emotional rollercoaster of today’s White House activity isn’t here to stay.



    English speaking countries politics have fundamentally changed from a battle of ideas to a battle of watery-ideologies/personalities. In England newspapers used to dedicate long sections of newspapers to analyse new legislation and to cover at length important cabinet decisions.

    Canadian newspapers used to print entire speeches made by the Prime Minister and cabinet and the leader of the opposition and his shadow/critic cabinet.

    In America, op ed pieces used to be based more on known facts, working out the mechanics of the new laws and how it would affect people and only add ideology towards the end.

    None of this exists anymore. Personalities and ideologies come first. Speeches are cut to single sentence quotes. Articles are very short. We hear almost exclusively about the law from two opposition politicians point of view and maybe one non-politician who has a vested interest in the new law. Analysis and long arguments are rare. In America it has become the most extreme by far, where journalists almost never insert logical criticisms unless a well known politician said it. The current government gets 80% of the article space and what opponents say gets the last little bit. Fox news and the Young Turks aside, there is little difference in coverage between media outlets and newspapers on national interest topics.

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