Thursday, February 22, 2007

All or Nothing

One of the disturbing trends I've noticed in many discussions, well cyber-shouting matches, is this concept of all or nothing.

This concept means that it's 1 or 0 black and white. You're either with us all the way or you're the enemy. There's no room for discussion with all or nothing because there is nothing to discuss. The problem with this is that you can reach any sort of compromise and in real life it means that you can't get as many people as you like on your side because you only want people who agree with you 100% of the time.

Let me give you an example. Recently I was involved in a discussion of gay marriage. One gentleman who is gay subscribed to this all or nothing mentality. To him you were either 100% for gay marriage or you were a homophobic bigot. To him, civil unions, domestic partnerships etc. were not good enough because they treated gays like second class citizens even though gay couples would then have all the rights that my wife and I have as far as tax breaks etc. In addition he demanded that anyone of faith accept without question that nothing gays did in bed were immoral. Needless to say he gave people no wiggle room and I was sad because there are people who would stand with gays on certain issues and not others. Things like hate crimes, stopping the spread of AIDS in the gay community etc... But for him it was, you guessed it, all or nothing...