This is my first post. I’ve never blogged before so this is my first foray into this world an author. I hope these posts inspire debate and discussion. I think one of the major downfalls of this “Age of Information” is, while there is a dearth of information, this seems to have done little to inspire discussion and debate; much less an increase in understanding or acceptance. I realize the irony of writing a posts like this, but I invite everyone to post their comments, questions, concerns, and whatever else keeps the debate going. I hope that through this ongoing discussion, we all, myself included, can come a little closer to a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us. I say this unashamed of the idealized nature of the statement and perhaps with slightly overly optimistic intentions.
The first topic I’d like to explore is perhaps the one that everyone is exploring, hopefully seen a slightly different way. Our world today is characterized by the struggle against extremism. The most prominent aspect of this global struggle is what has been termed the “War on Terror”. Suicide bombers, rocket and mortar attacks, insurgents, freedom fighters; these are the tools used to wage these wars of extremism. Shades of gray abound, yet everyone insists on viewing the world for its opposites. In a world where all opinions can be expressed and spread around the globe instantly, the middle ground is shrinking.
Personally, I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Am I Democratic or Republican? Socialist or Capitalist? This or that? I feel that I am both. And neither. I feel trapped by two extremes. I can not justify hundreds of billions of government spending on social programs which are, in some cases, little more than pork projects. I feel that not everyone is created equal. This very point is what makes a system like Capitalism work so well. If everyone were good at producing the same thing, we would not thrive as an independent entity. This is painfully obvious now with dwindling fossil fuel reserves and a trade imbalance through the roof. We don’t produce fossil energy or cheap goods well enough as a nation to do them on our own. We share our technology with other nations to obtain these goods. The system works when each has a unique specialty. That was a bit of a tangent, but it helps illustrate my opinion that we are not all created equal.
Because of this inequality, an inequality of ability, not of talent, it is easy to adopt an “us versus them” mentality and I think it’s this mentality that has led to the extremism of today. We are all too familiar with the claims of extremists of all sides. This sort of propaganda is harmful in several ways. First, and most obvious, it supports and encourages violence against all who are different. It also promotes minimal, closed-minded interaction with other sufficiently different peoples. Thirdly, such rhetoric saturates the media. Outrageous claims are always good news fodder, especially in a world where the media not only has to fill 24 hours with “news” but also must maintain multiple avenues such as broadcast, print, and online. There simply are not enough journalists to cover the entire world for every media company so these networks are forced to post the most attention-grabbing headlines they can. Of course, the media is a business too, so the more outlandish the claim, the more hideous the statement, the more readers for the posting company. This type of atmosphere plays very well with extremist-type statements.
Hopefully I’ve provided enough of a musing to start debate. Please tell me what you think about my post or what you think we should be talking about.