Sunday, October 31, 2010

The fallacy of the reasonable middle

Crazy Extremist: "We have to kill all the kittens!"

Sane 'Extremist': "What?!? No! That's crazy! There's no need to kill any kittens!"

Moderator: "Now, now, none of that namecalling. Compromise is called for. We'll kill half the kittens."


A decade later, as the sane extremist has been repeatedly berated for their extremism, the "kill half the kittens" compromise has become the status quo, the best of a bad situation as it were. The yelling dies down.

Whereupon the crazy extremists again call for killing all the kittens, and the moderator insists on a "compromise" where only three quarters of the kittens die

The sane extremist then - understandably - goes ballistic, and is universally put down for being so impolite

The "middle grounders" are in fact, helping the craziest extremists.

In the presence of effective always-middle-grounders, then, the only reasonable approach is to be even crazier than the other guy. Otherwise, the middle grounders eventually hand all the ground to whoever is craziest.

1 comment:

daniel noe said...

And this is why government spending and intrusive regulation only goes up. This is why Glenn Beck says the republicans are left of center.

On the other hand, this is why corporations have repeatedly escaped culpability while their shareholders profits have increased much more than that of the average american. This is why Bill Maher claims we have no progressive party.

They are both right. Moderates will be the death of us.

We have to kill all the moderates!

No, that's crazy! There's no need to kill any moderates!