Wednesday, February 24, 2010


We live in age of political extremism. It's not necessarily a reflection of the tough issues of the day; there have been tougher times to be sure, and it's not just bad manners; politicians have probably always been street fighters at heart, despite their grinning photo-ops, and their groomed appearances to the contrary.

Today's noisy 24/7 media overload may be part of the problem inasmuch as bad news sells better than good; discouraging scandal entertains more than encouraging statistics, and misinformation on the internet has a life of its own.

But there is something about the uncompromising vitriol of the current age, perhaps magnified by the paradigm shift in digital communication, that is ripping the social fabric to shreds and threatening the health, safety and resilience of entire nations as a whole.

The worst thing about the morass of politics today is the myopia of spoiler politics; if one side fails to get its way, it responds to no higher calling than to ruin it for the other side. It's like two people fighting to get on a raft, each pulling the other off, willing to risk drowning rather than cooperate with a rival.