As I continue to get older, I find myself starting to think in some of the same ways that many of the 40 year olds thought when I was in my 20s. It’s not so much about being more conservative than I used to be, but more aware of things, and having more experience and information than I had back then.
Thing is, it used to be that the extremism of political activism used to be something that was fairly understandably mostly focused on by those in their late teens and early twenties. I say it’s understandable, because based on what we know of human development and maturation, the fairly simplistic polarized viewpoint tends to be at its height during those years.
In other words, your average younger adult (under the age of 30, as many of the hippies called it) tends to have a very black vs. white viewpoint, with very little greys.
As one gets older, partly out of our own experience of our mistakes and partly out of seeing mistakes of others, you start to realize that there are far more shades of grey, and that human behavior comes on a spectrum – never completely good, nor totally evil.
It doesn’t mean that those who are on the spectrum below the median (i.e. toward the evil end) shouldn’t be punished for their choices, nor that those above the median should be ignored when they do good things.
But, what I am noticing, sadly, is that many of those individuals of my own generation and some of the previous generation have seemed not to develop the maturity that allows them to be aware that there is no absolute evil nor absolute good.
Too many have retained their biases, and have moved further to the extremes. And I’m not just talking about on the conservative side, here. There are just as many extremist types on the far left as there are on the far right.
I’m a centrist, with a few somewhat liberal leanings. But both extremes scare the living shit out of me. And sadly, it’s the extremes who have taken over the power structure.
Almost every single political argument uses propaganda techniques to lead those who may not be as extreme to fight for whichever side matches their own biases, and seem far less willing to give the issues some serious, objective thought.
Every single issue of our time, right now, is using emotionally manipulative tactics to keep their “side” in line. They are pressing that extremist black vs. white, and are refusing to allow anyone to consider any of the greys in between.
It doesn’t matter if the issue is abortion vs gun control vs rape, police militarization and/or corruption vs safety and sanctuary, or any of the other large and blatant issues we are dealing with as a world.
I don’t know if it is part of how bad our educational system has become, since it turns out people who only know how to memorize ignorance rather than how to think for themselves. I don’t know if it is just that the extremists of whatever stripe have become better at emotionally manipulating the masses.
But, I know it has to end. We have to at least TRY to understand each other. We need to find ways to compromise and move forward instead of blindly insisting that “our side” is the most right.
Relationships in general never work unless there is compromise in ensuring that each person in the relationship are getting their needs taken care of. Sometimes the compromise has to be the immediacy of a need over another one – like one person in the relationship may be depressed and lonely, but the other one broke their leg…….it’s rather immediate to get medical attention, and the depression needs to be put on hold temporarily.
Extremism only ever causes the worst atrocities, because people become blindly willing to put up with anything from the extreme that supports their own personal bias. People start to think that the atrocities are “positive” because they “fix” a perceived issue. This is how things like bombing a supposed “abortion clinic” (whether or not it really is one) become an acceptable behavior.