Imagine if the world you’ve come to take for granted was suddenly compressed into a black-and-white binary.
The irony is, you needn’t even imagine such a fantastical world, because it already exists. This very same stark polarization is currently affecting our political discourse and infecting our society.
It is imperative to understand and appreciate views & articulated arguments underpinned by exhaustive research and data that aren’t necessarily commensurate with one’s own. Unfortunately, ultra-conservative and left wing extremes are almost certainly epitomized by callous ad hominems and hyperbolic appeals to collective emotion to demonize “the other side” instead of simply, to respectfully disagree.
Individuals and coalitions on the far-left often band together on the basis of identity politics; attributing more weight to one’s “privilege points,” which are too often obtained not on the merit of one’s ideas, but rather on that person’s genitalia, sexual orientation, or the amount of melanin in their skin. To make matters worse, these identity politics are sometimes weaponized to brand the far left’s ideological opponents as racist, sexist, Islamophobic, and so on. Their misplaced objective is to discredit an ideological opponent’s arguments without having to actually refute the ideas posited or argument proffered.
The far right is guilty of perpetuating a similar modus operandi. Progressives are correct when they label some of their political foes “reactionary,” as right-wing identitarians’ own equally-cancerous white-identity politics are precisely that: a reaction to the collectivism of the left. While many progressives attempt to normalize segregationist safe spaces and victim-hood hierarchies under the veil of “oppression,” right-wing extremists more explicitly preclude the possibility of assimilation by their own hands. Instead of merely condemning the left for their ideas, and debating those ideas in the public square — they act similarity to their far-left adversaries -- and advocate a stealth separation of the races via a general fear of being "left behind" and other terms purposefully so general that anybody who wants to, can identify with.
Whether out of laziness, ignorance, or malice, the effect of attributing a worldview to vitriol, fear or believing that nature always trumps nurture, is blatant: we have collectively lost the ability to empathize with anyone other than “our own.”
Too many people on both sides are thoroughly convinced that the other side is acting out of pure hatred, it is far easier to vilify the other side, spew invective at another person, strip that person of his or her livelihood, and even inflict bodily harm. After all, everything is fair game when you’re battling “actual fascists.”
With media the proverbial cauldron being stirred, this political polarization engenders a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy, where members from each of the far-reaches of the political spectrum are given a platform from which to foist their flawed ideologies on society at large. Bastardizing what was once considered a noble profession: journalism, the media are no longer accountable to a higher standard. As such, newspapers, TV, magazines, periodicals, blogs, and podcasts are overflowing with straw man arguments, confirmation biases, false equivalencies, alternative facts and the like masquerading as undisputed fact. Today’s media has fostered a manic form of ADHD amongst its consumers as well, as those who curate content are seduced not by the prospect of truth-telling, but rather page-clicks. That means outlets must push salacious, misleading, but highly-enticing headlines that directly correlate with an outlet’s profitability goals.
Hopefully, that’s why you’ve come here to The Quintessential Centrist, a site that will consistently strive to paint the full picture of every story and not nix nuance in favor of a black-and-white binary that, while appealing, is too often deceiving. We all wish to live in our own echo chambers at times, but that’s not where genuine understanding can ever be found.