Everything is extreme. Everything is George W. Bush, “You are either with us or against us.” Even the two opening sentences of this post are all or nothing. We are in an age of the ‘extreme moralist.’ I am talking about both left-wing and right wing, and the fringe causes that no one wants to claim.
If I oppose assault rifles, does that mean that I favor banning all guns? If I go deer hunting, does that mean that I hate all animals? If I oppose deer hunting, does that mean that I oppose the Missouri Department of Conservation – the sanctioning body of deer hunting? If I favor health care for children, does that mean that I am a free spending liberal wacko?
It is as if we people have lost our moral bearing, as if we have lost all sense of reasonableness. The world has become black and white – there are no gray areas. “You are either with us or against us.”
There have always been extremists. The Temperance Movement of the early 1900’s is a good example. After prohibition was finally declared a disaster, I think it was W.C. Fields who said, “Prohibition was better than no booze at all.” Extremism failed again.
Today we find extreme moralists on every issue on the planet. They try to disguise themselves as Democrats or Republicans, as patriots or theologians, as liberals or conservatives. The extreme moralist is not acting out of knowledge, or belief, or reason – the extreme moralist acts out of fear. They have to be right because the personal consequences of being wrong would devastate their very identity. They would lose their worth as humans if they were not 100% right every time.
The extreme moralists have lost their morals. Their cause is so fundamental to righteousness that they have lost the sense of righteousness. The parade of their cause for a better humanity has floating gargoyle balloons filled with the toxic gases of fear, hatred, prejudice, and discrimination.
We live in a world today that would really entertain the 1930’s comedian, Will Rogers, who once prophetically said, “Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and their politicians as a joke.”
Has this ever been more true than today? It seems that Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert have fulfilled the premonition of Rogers.
The moral extremist of today serves only to divide – their debate style becomes the issue and their original moral cause is lost in the dogfight. Their’s is a lose/lose proposition.
“I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.” Will Rogers
Also See: On Christianity