The Blame Game
How extremism causes people to look externally for sources of their problems
Our culture particularly honors the act of blaming, which it takes as the sign of virtue and intellect, as Lionel Trilling said.
…or, as I say, because no one wants to be responsible for anything.
I like my version better. If blaming is a sign of virtue or intellect, it must only be in the circle of like-minds, ie. a given group of people with certain views. So a like-mind is highly regarded, as it gives a (pseudo) justification to a person for holding those particular views. It also has the effect of hardening those views. And the harder the views, the more likely the search to find fault.
Extremism is about blaming other people(s) for your problems. As I’ve said, in my first book—Aphorisms: Gifted One-Liners, United is a temporary state usually brought about by a common enemy.
This is history—people band together in the face of a common enemy—this is war.
And social media has now allowed people to connect and communicate on a vastly widespread basis. It may have allowed the spread of more love and good ideas in the world, and it has the potential to create greater understanding and tolerance among people(s). But the sad fact is, it has also allowed hate to be spread far and wide.
I’ve also said Immigration causes polarisation. It has given people an excuse to absolve themselves of responsibility and blame someone else for their problems.
Immigration has become a much more political issue, due to its practical, economic ramifications, ie. jobs, and as a challenge to cultural and religious identity, particularly as perceived in conservative circles.
Coming from America, I embraced the strength in diversity concept. America was built and developed on this concept and this reality. Now people like Donald Trump are treating diversity like dirty word. While rejecting the historical positives, he is using the age-old divide and conquer technique to divide people into factions. And he is dividing them into factions with extreme, polarised views. So he has divided and conquered his own people to serve what purpose? The only logical conclusion I can come up with is, so he can obtain power, cling to power, and thereby continue to massage his own ego.
The result of all this is that more people are blaming each other for their problems than ever before. And this does show a darker side of human nature.
Historically, religion has been used to control people and now, politicians in many countries are actively stoking religious fears. This gives rise to extremism, the focal point of which is blaming other people’s (peoples’) religions (particularly as cultural identities, ie. “Muslim countries”, “Christian countries”).
One has to ask, what ever happened to a balanced view, in these matters? There is no question that immigration could have been handled better by many countries (look at the European colonial history to get some idea of how this came to pass there). But it is harder to understand it coming from America. But here again, more moderate positions and rationalisation of immigration policies would resolve not only some of the problems, but also correct some of the misconceptions.
Historically, Country is often the benchmark unit of measure for collective good; but the leaders are often marching to the rear. And this is certainly what is happening in the world today…Leaders marching to the rear to appeal to extreme constituencies. They are leaders in the blame game. That is, they are leaders in name only. All this is leading people away from espousing their own virtues and leading them to putting the emphasis on the (perceived) common enemy. This is only leading humanity in a negative direction. As I also said in my book——Aphorisms: Gifted One-Liners— Progress is elusive as the problem is always someone else.
And the stronger a perception is, the more entrenched it becomes. If it is an irrational perception, this opens the door to extremism. And extremism can lead to extreme actions, as we see occurring more and more in the world. If people blame someone else for their problems, they are more likely to act to right a perceived wrong.
A more balanced approach is obviously what is required. Life is a balancing act and the best place to be is (still) in the middle.
What politicians need to do is tone down the rhetoric of extremism and encourage more moderate positions. They need to lead people toward more thoughtful, more dispassionate views, rather than stoking extreme passions like anger and hatred. And as far as passions are concerned, what we need is a bit more love out there.
© 2019 Kelvin Roy-Gapper