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thisismyusername's avatar

Should we always strive for middle ground?

Asked by thisismyusername (2935points) January 20th, 2018

Is there any room for compromise with people who threaten the existence of people?

What about white supremacists? Is there any room for respecting the opinion of these people and finding some middle ground? What would the middle ground look like?

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9 Answers

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

No, of course not. About as much middle ground that they deserve is to exercise their free speech without water balloons filled with piss thrown at them. Not seeing middle ground is never an excuse to stoop to that level. You should exercise your free speech to denounce what they say strongly with logic, facts and in numbers without resorting to violence or essentially just telling them to fuck off. We want to remove their teeth and any power behind their voice as quickly and efficiently as possible. Violence and media attention accomplishes the opposite. It’s what they are after and people keep giving it to them for crying out loud!!!!

stanleybmanly's avatar

What sort of “compromise” do you suppose white supremacists willing to accommodate?

elbanditoroso's avatar

Anytime some uses words like “ALWAYS”, I get worried. There are very few absolutes in this world, and “always” is an absolute term.

In general, middle ground is a desirable outcome, but that leaves a lot of squishiness. Does middle ground mean exact 50/50? Not usually. Does it mean 75/25? Sometimes, in certain situations.

Remember that great old saying (attributed to Voltaire): I Disapprove of What You Say, But I Will Defend to the Death Your Right to Say It

thisismyusername's avatar

@elbanditoroso: “In general, middle ground is a desirable outcome, but that leaves a lot of squishiness. Does middle ground mean exact 50/50? Not usually. Does it mean 75/25? Sometimes, in certain situations.”

Then let me rephrase this: Is there a middle ground when it comes to white supremacists? And if there is, would any compromise be acceptable?

Should we rethink our reflexive “common ground” response to everything?

elbanditoroso's avatar

@thisismyusername – yes, there I will agree. “Common ground” is the sister to “false equivalency”, and both are distortions of truth. There is not always a counter-argument and there is not always a good point on the other side.

But here’s my problem with absolutism. (this is where you will disagree with me):

Much as I despise racism, neo-naziism, fascism, etc., even if we totally abhor it, we have to understand that it comes from somewhere. Meaning that we have to take it seriously enough to learn where its proponents are coming from and why they believe the way they do. Because if you don’t understand its origins then you can’t effectively act against it. That’s not common ground, by any means – rather, it is “know your enemy”.

Example: I think that religious fundamentalists are a threat to the American way of life in their work to make the US a Christian theocracy. There is no middle ground with the extremists who think that. But – I need to study what and why they espouse what they do in order to counter it.

thisismyusername's avatar

@elbanditoroso – I’m not sure I understand your distinction between absolutism and truly understanding the problem. We probably agree here.

kritiper's avatar

Always striving for middle ground is useless since some people only understand total control. For example, my grandfather once told me that there could be no such thing as equality between blacks and whites because whites have been viewed as superior to blacks for so long, now blacks want the opportunity to be superior. (Surely this could not apply to all blacks and all whites.) Consider also Adolph Hitler and Kim Jong Un.

Soubresaut's avatar

I think there’s probably a difference between middle ground and compromise.

The middle ground is some theoretical equidistant point where two opposing positions meet.

Compromise is finding the wiggle room in each position… what the people holding each position are willing/able to sacrifice for the sake of a larger overall goal. The positions don’t necessarily meet (don’t necessarily have a “middle” point between them, or even a straight line connecting them together), and each side doesn’t necessarily have the same amount of, or type of, wiggle room as others.

White supremacists promote a fictionalized reality founded on hate and violence. They’re the ones who need to do all the “wiggling.” If I can find ways to help make that happen, or to at least stop the spread of such ugly nonsense, I will. But there is no middle ground here.

rojo's avatar

Striving for the middle ground is only possible if both (or all) parties have a similar moral perspective. If you are dealing with someone who does not proscribe to the same ethical values as you do then you are wasting your time trying to find a middle ground.

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