Scott Tibbs

The stupid and childish "all or nothing" mentality

By Scott Tibbs, May 5, 2023

The "all or nothing" mentality that has infected our politics is simple-minded and childish. Far too many people have lost any ability to see nuance or even to think for themselves. It is all about one political tribe against another, and there must not be any dissent from the tribe lest we help the hated other side.

If you defend anything someone does, you are a "bootlicker" no matter how harshly you have criticized him in the past. If you criticize anything someone does, you are a "hater" no matter how much you have supported him in the past. There is no middle ground: You are not allowed to support something done by someone you generally oppose, and you certainly are not allowed to oppose anything done by someone you support.

Much of this is not tied to devotion to one's own side, but to hatred of the other side. As George Will and J.D. Tuccille point out, negative partisanship is the primary motivating factor for millions of people in how they see politics. They vote for Republicans not because they support Republican ideals, but because they hate Democrats. They vote for Democrats not because they support Democratic ideals, but because they hate Republicans. Therefore any sign of support of or opposition to the "wrong" person cannot be tolerated because it "strengthens the other side."

It is very boring and tiresome, and shows a total lack of critical thinking skills. People are complicated, and the world is not black and white. Worse yet, it transforms our political debates from legitimate discussions of policy to a loyalty test. Dissent is heavily discouraged, and dissenters are ostracized not because they have bad ideas, but because they are "disloyal" to the tribe or too accommodating to the hated opposing tribe. It really is idolatry, and Christians need to develop the discernment to see this mentality for the wickedness it is.

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