Think of this as Volume 18, Number 30 of the newsletter I have written weekly since March, 1997. Enjoy.
It's not a fair fight. Short-term goals always win such a battle. That's why extremist religions defeat more peaceful ones, even though peace is what every religion proclaims. That's why extreme political rhetoric is always used by a party seeking support. That's why doom-and-gloom economic newsletters always sell, even though collapses are very rare.
In the long run we're all dead. In the short run we're all manipulable.
Here's another problem. Those who oppose the lines, or who seek to extend policies across lines, tend to be mild-mannered. President Obama never seems to really get angry, and that's considered a weakness. Those who traffic in anger exploit it relentlessly, squeezing the center, expanding the left and the right.
Both leftists and rightists act, politically, in favor of lines. Those on the left protest international agreements they say will limit democracy or liberty. Those on the right protest internationalism as a matter of course. Both see this as a fight for autonomy, for individualism against the “collective.”
But we're all in a collective. Our churches are collective. Our families are collective. Our businesses are collective. For anyone to claim they're “anti-collectivist” who owns a business, attends a church and has a family is ridiculous.
The question is whether our collectives are also part of a collective, whether there is some urgency in cooperating across these very tiny lines that mark our lives.