“Moderation, which consists in an indifference about little things, and in a prudent and well-proportioned zeal about things of importance, can proceed from nothing but true knowledge, which has its foundation in self-acquaintance.” – Plato
We have been turning into a nation of pathologically partisan political extremists, with both of the only two recognized sides of the political spectrum (those being “my side” and “the wrong side”) being thoroughly unwilling to even remotely consider the validity of any belief contradictory to their own.
I used to know a guy who was so far to the right I could actually see him starting to sneak up on me from the left, a concept which is both a) profound in that I’m blind in my left eye, and b) entirely beyond the comprehension of this narrow-minded putz, who likely still believes the world is flat.
We were talking about something or other on which I generally sided with what would be labeled a “liberal Democratic” viewpoint. At the same time, there was an element of the “conservative Republican” school of thought that also expressed my thinking and I was willing to acknowledge it.
I can’t imagine myself jumping over to what I consider “the Dark Side”, but I don’t have any problems leaning over the fence to grab one of their apples if it looks particularly tasty.
This guy tells me I’m “wishy-washy” and “straddling the fence”, tells me I need to decide if I’m a Liberal or Conservative or what. Like my heartfelt core beliefs or morals are not as important as some identifiable party platform.
That’s what I hate about labels: people will decide exactly how you feel on everything as soon as you identify yourself by a generic term.
And he wouldn’t leave it alone. I either had to be on his side or the wrong side. It was staggering and incomprehensible to him that I might actually stand on the moral ground somewhere between his avowed enlightenment on his side and his perceived lunacy on the other side.
There are some people with whom you can’t agree enough and it’s only mid-term elections this year.