People want things to be neat and simple. Most problems in society are complicated, messy and have many competing factors and viewpoints. People are complicated with many sides and viewpoints. Pigeonholing people puts neat little handles on them and allows us to classify them, often as friend or foe, but is usually wrong. Despite the gross inaccuracies we create when we proclaim what another human is, while using a tidy label, we just can’t stop doing it! In a similar way, going to extremes can simplify things. Adopting the attitude that everything my people do is good, and everything those “others” do is bad is much easier and makes one much more self confident than weighing all of the competing factors and interests, with the realization that every fix has a downside. A case study in this just came to my mind. All my life, the Republicans have espoused at the top of their lungs, “Free trade, balanced federal budget”, but now that the leadership has changed, they stay with the tribe, not the ideals that they always fought for. The Democrats have done similar flips. The other side is still wrong, as always, no matter what they are for.
How did our founding fathers do it? In this age of ‘use every power you can muster to give yourself and your tribe every advantage possible’, how did they all agree on such a system of compromise, with three branches of government, no one of which having absolute power over much of anything. Each branch can, with much difficulty and a high bar, be overruled by another. This principle of no absolute power is the backbone of our founding and has been the dam holding back the seemingly inevitable slide to the human trait of strongmen claiming absolute powers. Of this principal, and of the country that strives for this principal, I am extremely proud and patriotic! Leaders enforcing rituals, with hands held in predetermined positions has been done by most every nation in history and is not unique in any way, or worthy of much. Our Supreme Court wrote a succinct opinion on this during the Second World War. See that opinion in another post if you wish.