Tyranny of the Minority
Updated: Jul 24, 2018
July 20, 2018 -
Here is a photograph from Getty Images of protesters and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, VA, August 12, 2017. (No, they’re not celebrating my birthday a day early.) It is revealing in several ways. What is the most ubiquitous item shown in the photograph? A camera. What are most people doing? Taking a picture. How many sides are faced off? Two. What fraction of those pictured appears ready to rumble? Two percent,… five percent,… maybe.
Look at these “warriors”. The first word that first comes to mind is ineffectual. They appear to be teenage caricatures of themselves – backpacks and storm-trooper helmets left over from Animal House - give me a break. But I digress.
I believe the overwhelming majority of Americans don’t identify with either supercilious side. I certainly don’t. Yet the opinion makers among us would have us believe there are only two sides. Both sides chant: “You are either for US or against US.” What silliness.
Most of us are like the photographers in this photo, documenting insanity. Not because we espouse violence, but because we are witness to a surreal moment in history.
I’m told that in London if two people stand one behind the other a line will soon form, awaiting the arrival of the next tram. Likewise, in America, we are expected to line up behind one “tram” or another, as if a tram were the only means of transport in town. I’d sooner walk.
So how can so few misguided individuals dominate national discourse? This article describes the phenomenon quite nicely: https://quillette.com/2018/07/02/political-moderates-are-lying/.