In following a friend’s blog I happened across an incident in which two people who had been friends IRL and online for years parted ways less than amicably over discussions of politics.
It got me to thinking: how different are the right and the left, really? And the more I thought about it, the more I came to conclude that any two people in the most politically distant “poles” have far more in common than they think. And I’m not talking about stupid stuff like “they breathe air” or “they like the flavor of cumin.” I’m talking about core values.
Who here does NOT value friendship? What about good health? What about peace of mind?
Who doesn’t enjoy (or long for) happy familial relationships? What about long-term sexual partnership?
What about the freedom to choose? The personal agency to make a considered decision for oneself?
The places where we differ seem to be in our beliefs about how to reach those things we value. And oddly enough, once we focus on implementing our values we conclude that anybody who wants a different implementation than we do must not value the same things we do.
That’s simply not true.
The avowed atheist and the devout christian (to pick a set of polar opposites) know that their beliefs differ regarding those things widely considered unknowable. What they forget is that they cherish and uphold the exact same principles. And so do lots of other polar opposites. And in their attacks on each others’ implementations (of the very same sets of values, don’t forget) they create these massive “logical” arguments which prove beyond any doubt that their opponent is somehow evil, or stupid, or both.
The greatest evils in this world are those which cause good people to hate each other.