I never thought in a million years that I’d post a Marco Rubio ad on this blog — but what he says in this one, released on Sunday, is such an impeccable depiction of what I just wrote about in my last post that I simply can’t resist. (Sorry, I’m fully aware that this is one of those “see, I was right” posts, but indulge my narcissism for just a moment if you could, please.)
Rubio begins: “This is a civilizational struggle — between the values of freedom and liberty, and radical Islamic terror. What happened in Paris could happen here; there is no middle ground…”
And ends: “Either they win — or we do.”
And here’s what I wrote in my post from last week:
There’s a psychological term for this; it’s called splitting. I’ve mentioned it before on this blog. Splitting is a defense mechanism that involves just that: splitting people, ideas, and things into all good or all bad characterizations. Splitting is used as a shield against anxiety or fear that comes from complexity or ambiguity — in this case, mainly the reality that no one people group is entirely virtuous or evil. Like humanity itself, they are a messy mix of both. (Even ISIS itself, it can be argued, consists of desperate and hopeless human beings who weren’t born evil but have chosen to do horrific things.)There is no middle ground — right, Marco?
But in the wake of a tragedy like the Paris terrorist attacks, itself an extreme event, society tends to be driven to extremism: If you’re like us, you’re absolutely good; if you’re like them, you’re absolutely bad.