Friday, February 17, 2017

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: How Pragmatism is Losing Out in the World Today

Once upon a time - and I am not exactly sure when that was - pragmatism, realism, and logic were ideals promoted in our educational institutions. The idea was that we should train young people to be rational human beings -not people devoid of ideals or emotions, but citizens who could temper those ideals and emotions with enough reason to be able to lead our country, communities, and institutions in a manner that would allow for our society to be the best that it could be. The concept of pragmatism also allows for productive discussion and prevents excesses in one direction or the other words, pragmatism along with good ideals and morals should lead to a moderate and fair nation - not a perfect one and, certainly, not perfect for all of us, all the time - but a decent enough one that allows citizens freedoms along with responsibilities that end up balancing out the varying viewpoints and lifestyles.

Somewhere along the way in the past number of years, the middle road seems to have been lost. We are polarizing in this country to the point of a civil war in the hearts and minds of our citizens. We are ready to go to battle at the drop of a hat, the minute we perceive someone to be our enemy - anyone who does not align with our particular beliefs as if our own beliefs are undeniably the only "right" beliefs in any and all circumstances.

Liberal vs Conservative
Nonreligious vs Religious
Pro-Muslim vs Anti-Muslim
Pro-gun vs Anti-gun
Right to Life vs Freedom of Choice
Public School vs School Choice
Pro -vaccines vs Antivaxers
Black Lives Matter vs All Lives Matter
Pro-police vs Anti-police
Pro-All Immigration vs Controlled Immigration
Hillary vs Trump

God help you if you are on "one side" and run into the other.
God help you if you don't agree 100% with "the side" you lean toward.

God help you if you are only half a deplorable or half a snowflake.

If you are on one side, half the population will hate you.
If you are willing to be open and work toward a middle ground, everyone in the population will hate you.

How have we gotten here? Could it be because we have lost the ability to be rational? To understand that things can't be "our way or the highway"? That we must be able to compromise in order to survive? That going too far in one direction or the other invariably means an unbalancing of a stable system? That we can't ban everything nor allow everything? That we can't close our doors and lock everyone out, but neither can we open our doors and let everyone in? That we cannot simply trample on others nor let others trample on us?

We cannot successfully live together in a country that is running rampant with adults who act like selfish, undisciplined children, unwilling to listen, unwilling to get along, unwilling to take turns.

If we cannot be reasonable, mature adults, we will find our country has become the island in "The Lord of the Flies" with roving bands of agitators and anarchists. We will wake up one day, too late, and discover that The United States of America is not that any longer.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown
February 17, 2017