Yeah, yeah, Conan the Barbarian climbed to the top on a pile of skulls and rode through blood; Robert E. Howard lived in his Mom's house.
Politics makes people sociopathic -- somebody linked to an article on the subject recently but I can't find it again. Thing is, it's true; when we form up sides and fight over Ideas, it's wired right into us to forget that the men and women espousing ideas we oppose are still people and it's just as easy for them to do the same to us.
The problem is that unchecked, that's a short bus-ride to the killing fields and gulags, to death marches and concentration camps, to rock-throwing, city-burning riots.
There's damn-all you can do about the other guy when blood runs hot but we're each the keepers of our own heart and conscience. No matter the battle or the stakes, if you give in to the damn-fool notion that the other guy is a shadow-puppet of monstrous forces, to be brought down by any means, you lose. Even if you win, you still lose.
I'm tempted to call it Josh-Horowitz Syndrome, based on his histrionically-overblown loathing of the National Rifle Association, but that's too easy. (It's always easiest to see this happening to people on The Other Side; but they're not special; a spin of the radio dial finds demonization Right and Left). --I'm tempted to call it Carrie-Nation Syndrome, the belief that with an ax to smite the tools of the wicked -- and perhaps the wicked themselves -- a new and wonderful era can be brought to fruition. (How'd that work out? Oh, yeah, widespread scorn for law, police and the justice system, plus rise of the Mafia. Not exactly as predicted.) Again: too easy.
The real world is messy. People are always going to disagree about means, ends and basic philosophies. Accepting that you can't hammer 'em all into your own chosen mold, what do you do? Me, I dunno, but comin' up with ways to limit the damage we can do one another looks like a good first step; and perhaps that's the true genius of a Constitutionally-limited government. It would certainly explain why that notion is anathema to the farthest-out elements of the Left/Right political spectrum.
Fight? Sure -- fight over ideas. Not people; it's practically a foregone conclusion that J. Random Politician is a twisted, power-hungry jerk, but that's not because he's a member of $POLITICAL_PARTY, it's because practically all politicians are that way. And they always have been; which is another good reason to limit their power.
4 weeks ago