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Response to H2O Man (Reply #96)

Wed Nov 11, 2015, 10:31 AM

112. I wonder how much this trend towards extremism

is reflected in our "all or nothing" approach to policing, in "zero tolerance" policies in schools and other institutions, and in the general attitude of "do unto others before they do unto you, and do it ten times worse." There seems to be a clear linkage there, and it comes down to not using the brain with discretion at all. Of course, these attitudes are strengthened by racism and hatred of "the other," and if there is one thing our society seems very adept at doing, it is packaging people into smaller and smaller compartments of "otherness," so that instead of realizing a brotherhood of all, we proceed to the philosophy of "every man for himself." Being a nasty, suspicious, paranoid individual, I cannot help but think that, while certainly much of this movement is organic, there nevertheless are lurking in the background persons of ill-will who want things exactly as they are going. There is obvious advantage to fragmenting one's enemies -- and if one is at war with the whole world, then where does that lead?

One of my first disappointments with Mr Obama came during his debates with Mr McCain. He was asked a question about how he felt about the toxic atmosphere of the election (they hadn't seen anything yet). I thought his answer was telling, because he smiled and replied that "we" knew it would be a "tough" election, and "we" weren't afraid of anything (have I mentioned before how much I hate the tendency of people to use the first person plural to refer to themeslves?). The point being, apparently, that it was "tough" and somehow manly or otherwise powerful to be rude, endure rudeness, and live in a barrage of stones, that somehow this was a positive trait. It puzzled me then, because it seemed to be not just perpetuating, but glorifying the kind of atmosphere we're talking about. How often do we hear of "tough" decisions being made (which often to me seem not very tough at all, if one operates from principles of human rights and dignity, and not expediency), of the power and potency of this candidate or another? Are we electing the Chief Pugilist (saving your presence) or the Chief Executive? How have we come to the point where a President is celebrated because he authorized the successful killing of someone?

-- Mal

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H2O Man Nov 2015 OP
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LineLineLineNew Reply I wonder how much this trend towards extremism
malthaussen Nov 2015 #112
H2O Man Nov 2015 #114
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