A small expose about why people need to remember that the middle must be fought for — starting within your own group
Start by watching “Ken Burn’s Prohibition” It’s a three part documentary on the biggest debacle of trying to engineer society through law.
The first episode is the rise and coordination of the temperance movement. Which, in an of itself, is a fascinating blend of racism, women’s rights, Protestant Christianity (out to nail Catholics and Jews) and ‘we’re going to tell you how you’re going to live your life,’ mixed in political coercion.
In the second episode, there’s a really good comment by a historian talking about ‘the thing with crusades is after the goal is accomplished, the crusaders go home. They don’t stay around and deal with aftermath’ Basically they aren’t involved in the nuts and bolts of how it’s going to be enforced — or the problems said enforcement is going to cause.
It’s the disconnect between the crusaders and the effects (much less the day to day running and responsibilities) that makes for an interesting study in what I call ‘seagulling.’ Flying making a lot of noise, shitting all over everything and flying away.
The crusaders ALWAYS maintain the moral self-righteousness of their cause because they don’t have to deal with the enforcement or deal with messy details. Like the argument over should individuals accused of Title IX violations be allowed legal representation? It’s not a simple question. (You have Congressional mandated tribunals outside the legal system that have the power to destroy someone’s life with permanent debt. If expelled, universities do not transfer student loans to other schools nor do they return the funds to the lender. The expelled student is left saddled with an unforgivable loan – you can’t declare bankruptcy out of it.) North Carolina was the first state that passed a law that said yes, but in most states it’s still no.
But these kind of details don’t just fly by the crusader. Hell it can be argued that like earthworms, they are beneath the crusader’s notice. Theirs is such a noble and lofty goal that any wrongs done in making things right are acceptable (What I’ve started calling “Our wrongs will make it right” — which jes’ smell a lil’ too much like revenge fer mah tastes.)
Second thing is read, Jonathan Haidt’s “Righteous Mind” and moral foundation theory. When you have people coming from different number of foundations you get some interesting blind spots. For example, what do you get when instead of the five traditional foundations, you have someone coming from a moral system of only two foundations — or in some cases only one (e.g., harm/care)? You can get someone who is absolutely convinced they are morally correct and justified, no matter what extremes they want to go — much less demand society go there with them.
* Prohibition is lesson in “Pay attention, we’ve seen this before and this is what happened,” To the point of a quote from “Serenity” is appropriate “…. Sure as I know anything, I know this – they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten? They’ll swing back to the belief that they can make people… better. And I do not hold to that. So no more runnin’. “