Nuts on both sides

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Polarization and extremism in the political spectrum. There seems to be the popular notion that the ‘other’ side of the aisle, the other side of the political spectrum is the problem, the most dangerous thing to progress and the current state of affairs. However this seems patently incorrect. Extremism, on either side of the spectrum, left or right seems to be the most dangerous thing. In a recent conversation with a well educated but misinformed scientist, he asserted that the worst thing that happens with left wing extremism is “a bunch of hippies getting high”. Within the last century the Soviet Union under Stalin and the People’s Republic of China under Mao are examples of far left political ideologies which rapidly generated a higher body count and levels of oppression than a big bag of weed. However, just because these far left governments were, to put it lightly, far from ideal, does not mean that a far right government is a good idea either. Germany under Hitler and Italy under Mussolini are two of the worst examples of behavior from the far right. This is the point of democracy. To prevent extremism by individuals in either direction. To use the numbers and the might of all the individuals in the population to counter bad behavior on both sides. Political wellbeing should not be thought of a game of tug a war but a seesaw. Instead of dragging others as far as we can to one side, our goal must be, as a large population, to congregate slightly to one side or another of center in order to balance out the nuts on the far edges. And there are certainly nuts on both sides.