Extremes have become the new normal. It is common for people to start phrases with “Well, if every time…” or “If every/all the X’s did Y…” This is a common tactic used to discredit someone’s statement or argument and it doesn’t deserve a serious response.
Extremes are not realistic.
“Suggesting a course of action for a certain situation doesn’t mean it applies in every instance”
We would be very hard pressed to find a situation where their purported fear would be a reality. Suggesting a course of action for a certain situation doesn’t mean it applies in every instance.
Let’s say someone says they are okay with giving money to homeless people. An extreme argument would be something like, “Well, if you gave money to every homeless person you saw, you’d go broke!” Of course, no one does that. It wasn’t suggested in the first place. To respond with such an argument is disingenuous because, unless someone has no grasp on reality, they are fully aware that situation is neither probable, nor is it being argued.
Extremism is a tool of bigotry.
“To claim that every person in any demographic is the same is a complete disconnect from reality.
Extremes tend to sprout from the minds of bigots. It’s a form of absolutist thinking. It is bigoted to claim that everyone in any demographic is the same, is equally responsible for whatever that demographic is often accused of, and that they should all be treated the same way. Some examples of this kind of absolutism:
- Cops are corrupt and violent.
- Feminists are misandrysts.
- Men are oppressing women.
- Liberals are baby killers.
- Republicans are greedy perverts.
- Rich people are destroying the middle class.
- Poor people are lazy parasites.
- Baby boomers took everything for themselves.
- Millenials are entitled brats.
- Cisgender people are callous assholes.
- Transgender people are sexual deviants.
- Christians have no grasp of science.
- Atheists have no sense of morality.
This list could go on forever. All of these statements are false. Of course, some of each group is or does what has been claimed. To claim that every person in any demographic is the same is a complete disconnect from reality.
Extreme emotions lead to imbalance.
“It is not easy to provide the sense of equality for others that we feel is denied to us.”
When we are very passionate and angry, even justifiably, about some form of injustice, it is very tempting and easy to lash out at “them”. It can be very difficult to treat a group we view as harmful as dangerous or even evil. It is not easy to provide the sense of equality for others that we feel is denied to us.
If we are to have integrity and balance and avoid bigotry, we must make the effort to be as specific as possible. The easiest way to do this is to use qualifiers. Qualifiers are words like some, many, a lot of, etc. Just put one of these in front of the group every time you mention them. It’s not difficult and more importantly, it is accurate and not bigoted.
Taking this tiny step will help avoid unnecessary and misconstrued arguments. It will save you from having to clarify every time someone catches you generalizing. It will save you a ton of headaches!
Check yourself before you wreck yourself, or someone else!
“People are so busy playing gotcha that no reasonable discussion can be had.”
Consistently checking ourselves can be difficult and frustrating. Quite frankly, it’s a pain in the ass! Plus, it feels so good to verbally stomp someone! However, if we do, it simply dissolves into an endless game of “gotcha”. Playing gotcha can be very addictive. We get a little endorphin rush every time we do it. Why people do it is very understandable.
The problem is that it completely prevents any constructive dialogue. Even our news media has devolved into something akin to pro wrestling. It’s a lot of bluster, posturing, and put-downs with no substance. News, politics, and much else is basically what wrestlers call a kayfabe. It’s where they stage fabricated performances as if they are authentic or valid.
People are so busy playing gotcha that no reasonable discussion can be had. When something bad happens, rather than try to solve problems, people offer “thoughts and prayers” and then return to the fray, spouting extremist arguments and playing gotcha.
Many choose to pick a fight rather than solve problems.
“Resolving things requires having civil, reasonable, balanced conversations with people with whom we may intensely disagree.”
Sadly, it seems most people are more interested in picking fights than finding solutions. They’ll take a good gotcha rush over a better world. It makes one wonder if they would rather have their injustice and inequality than not have it. Without it, what would they fight about?
Each one of us needs to choose whether we would rather have an endless supply of gotcha rushes or if we would like to work towards solutions. Resolving things requires having civil, reasonable, balanced conversations with people with whom we may intensely disagree. It means remaining calm and rational even when others choose not to be. We must keep our cool even when the other person is trying to get you with their own gotcha.
Like most things, it’s not easy at all, but the results are worth it! Seeking balance in a world of extremes is a constant struggle. No positive changes ever happened without a struggle.