Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Trouble With "The Middle"

Especially pertaining to religious and political persuasions, the fundamental problem with those in "the middle" is that they fail to stand for anything save "the middle". This is problematic because "the middle" is not a discrete idea per se. It is an amalgam of ideas, many of which are inconsistent with one another. In this sense, those in "the middle" have no absolute claim to uphold. For what do they stand for?

As an example, take the explosive issue of governmental intervention in our affairs. Those who despise its meddling with our affairs "courageously" vilify the government whenever the opportunity presents itself! In this way, it appears these staunch advocates of "freedom from government" really stand for something. They stand for the absolute belief that government should leave us the hell alone! However, this is absurd taken to its logical ramifications. Is it not readily apparent the government's intervention protects us from many out there who would otherwise exploit us?

Of course many will justifiably claim the government is the ultimate exploiter! Can it be acknowledged then that we are inevitably going to be exploited by somebody or something anyway? Is it not obvious that those who complain about the government's exploitative acts would just as surely complain about being exploited by non-governmental entities only because the government heeded our wish to be left the hell alone and hence chose not to prohibit exploitation via regulations?

It will be retorted by staunch advocates of "government, get the hell out of my life!" that of course some things need to be regulated, but certainly not near the plethora of things that actually are. But who among us shall determine which regulations are superfluous and which are not? Perhaps the "real" dilemma at this point is once it is acknowledged that some level of government intervention is "necessary", the original argument loses its "robustness" as it degenerates into another argument in favor of "the middle".

It seems all arguments, unless absolutely absolute, are in one way or another simply surrogates for "the middle". In this case "the middle" itself can be represented by a total of essentially "infinity - 2" arguments. The 2 arguments "the middle" could by definition never be represented by are, obviously, the extremes on the endpoints of the spectrum.

For instance, given our discussion on governmental intervention, the endpoints would be 1)the government regulating every aspect of our lives and 2)the government regulating no aspect of our lives. "The middle" can then be represented by every other conceivable combination of government intervention, however little or much. "The middle", it seems, is far more prevalent than one might imagine, especially amongst those that claim to "stand" for this or that cause!

Are most of us, if not all, simply in "the middle" on issues we so valiantly claim to stand for? This being the case, how many of us really stand for anything? Is "standing" for something merely an illusion projected by the ego in order to give us a sense of moral superiority through the belief that we are "standing" for something?

Examples follow:

- If one is to absolutely stand for the principle of "self reliance", then crippled retards should be afforded no support and hence left to simply "reap what they sow". Anything short of this standard would become something of "the middle".

- If one is to absolutely stand for and embrace God's grace, then serial killers and child molesters should be afforded it no less than Mother Teresa, especially if they are militant atheists. Anything short of this standard would become something of "the middle".

- If one is to absolutely stand for protecting human fetuses, then those that are products of violent rapes should be preserved too, as we can be certain they are just as innocent and deserving of life as fetuses that are not. Anything short of this standard would become something of "the middle".

- If one is to absolutely stand for "government, get the hell out of my life!", he should never hope the government would bail him out of his flooded dwelling if he had no flood insurance only because it was not considered to be in a flood plain. Anything short of this standard would become something of "the middle".

- If one is to absolutely stand for "government, get the hell out of my life!", he should refuse social services like police and fire rescue and rely on himself in dangerous situations. Anything short of this standard would, once again, become something of "the middle".

The point of obfuscating the issue of whether people really stand for anything is not to dissuade them of their convictions but to demonstrate that their convictions are not necessarily going to be consistent with that of others. We can then choose to see the validity of others' convictions or be arrogantly content with the belief that we are "right" and those with divergent convictions are simply "wrong".

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