The Extremes in Everything

Almost everyone notices and deplores the polarization and extremism in politics today in the United States, but there’s more to that trend than merely in the political arena.

As I’ve noted before, there’s extremism in the environmental field, ranging from those who want to burn coal and use more fossil fuels because they believe more power and more industrial and consumer production will improve life and that’s more important than environmental “purity. On the other side are the environmental purists who want no power from fossil fuels or nuclear fission, and only from renewable sources. Both are crazy, because uncontrolled fossil fuel use will create massive environmental impacts and could eventually render the planet uninhabitable for humans, while purely renewable and passive solar can’t solve the energy needs of society, and large-scale solar panel and battery-stored power use will create considerable environmental damage, possibly even on the scale of strip-mined coal.

On the social front, the conflicts are everywhere, from Black Lives Matter and those even more extreme on the far left to the Proud Boys, Oathkeepers, and other white supremacists on the far right. Then there are the cultural wars over pronouns, identity politics, and history. There’s the struggle over various aspects of education, most of which result in dumbing down the ability of students to read, write, calculate, and, most importantly, to think.

Then there’s the war over how far freedom of speech goes – or should go – where the extremists in both parties, but predominantly on the right, want the freedom to shout out their “truths,” even when those “truths” are fact-proven, bald-faced lies, but the extremists violently, even physically, oppose those who try to rein them in.

And in all these conflicts, the extremists on both sides have no interests in practical, middle-of-the-road solutions, because they see their “truths” as absolutes that cannot be compromised.

Yet the greatest freedom for the greatest number requires compromise. So does the continuation of a high-tech civilization. Not that the “purists” seem to care about either freedom [at least anyone else’s freedom] or civilization.

3 thoughts on “The Extremes in Everything”

  1. Darcherd says:

    The first victims in any revolution / counter-revolution are the moderates, for they are despised by both sides and are the least willing to resort to violence in support of their position. So beware…

  2. Bill says:

    The best cliché in these situations is “follow the money”. The people funding the conflicts have a different agenda. Some are just greedy and don’t care if they kill the goose that lays golden eggs. Others are external enemies or nihilists who just want to see the US burn.
    Too much of the news is written as click bait. All the stories of millennials not doing things and the response about the boomers are just magician’s tricks of misdirection. Isn’t it genius to rob two people and get them to blame each other?

  3. Tom says:

    Extremes in Everything and the further from the center, the more the extremes match each other!

    Amusing article in the Economist (if it reminds one of our unUnited States 2022):

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