Orientation and Statistics 101
By Tyler Durden
Everything follows a bell
curve, especially political orientation.
The latest nasty name to call someone is "centrist." It has
joined "liberal" (from the Right Wing Lexicon), and is defined
as "a person or a philosophy to be avoided; traitor, turncoat,
fool." Statistically, this is a terrible call. Because the
political center outnumbers us. Badly.
Time for Statistics 101.
When we look at the way things are randomly distributed in
large populations, be they car parts or people, quality control
uses statistics to define the spread of where dimensions will
show up on a graph. The vast majority of results fall in the
middle, and the resultant graph resembles a bell, hence the
name; "Bell Curve." This result is mathematically predictable
throughout all of nature, humanity, and the inventions of
man. Take gambling, for example. Shooting craps, the similarity
is glaring: do we see as many "snakeyes" or "boxcars" (2 or
12) thrown on the dice of life as the many derivations of
5, 6, and 7?
Of course not. The middle values will always predominate.
Always. People 5' 8" will always vastly outnumber people 7'
and 4'. This is the nature of reality; working in quality
control as I do, I have lived and died by the bell curve.
This is where we of the political left make our error in
decrying the middle path: there are a lot more of them than
us. I don't like the middle of the road; I'm a socialist.
But that puts me statistically at the far left of the bell
curve. If this were not so, The Socialist Workers Party would
have held the presidency since the Great Depression, or at
least until "happy days" were here again.
Conversely, at the other end of the spectrum are the Jesse
Helmses, Lester Maddoxes and Zell Millers of the world: bigots,
elitists, fascists and conservative opportunists. Most of
the time, they don't win either; but their advantage is that
it is easier to hide in the middle coming from the far right
than it is coming from the far left. Hence, we get George
W. Bush, his father, and Ronald Reagan.
Here's the rub: People from the far right look at centrists
as opportunities for converts, or "marks." The first
syllable in "conservative" isn't "con" for no good reason.
Unfortunately, many people from the far left look at centrists
as wafflers or unprincipled sheep. Hard to warm up to someone
calling you names, isn't it?
This is normal behavior on the left. If you look at the history
of the left, we are often the first to sign up for the latest
"purge" of those lamented individuals in our own ranks who
practice whatever is currently viewed as "political heresy."
Until recently, this sort of action in the conservatives has
been anathema: anyone remember George Romney or Nelson Rockefeller?
They weren't very liberal, but they were as close to liberal
as Republicans can get.
The rightists in this country, with attendant aberration,
treat their heretics as errant children. In fact, the right
wing/Republican Party has a saying: "Republicans don't expel
their liberals: they convert them." Maybe it's a "show me
the money" thing, I don't know, but whatever they're doing,
it seems to work pretty damned well.
The long-term result of this is that far left wing of American
Politics is helping the country commit slow social suicide.
If you think bad news and a "stormcrow" message will grab
the middle and pull them to the left, think again. All you
have to do is look at the television ratings and you'll know
you're wrong. I wish it weren't so: we are so rich and so
powerful in this country that we could actually make doing
the "right" thing and taking care of our brothers and sisters
all over the world fashionable. This is of course the best
form of "defense spending." When the masses are satisfied
and well cared for, then aggressive nationalism looks absurd.
Why rock a well stocked boat in calm seas?
There aren't enough of us on our end of the curve, and it
will always be that way as long as there is still a right
wing to oppose us. What we preach is very radical to the middle
of the curve which is where the vast majority stand, and for
good or ill, they don't like big or fast changes.
So what does this all mean? Only that we vilify and demean
the middle at our peril. True, the Republic's pendulum will
swing to the left eventually, but the longer and harder we
try to drag it over to the left only means that when it finally
gets moving, it will be going one hell of a clip at the bottom
of the swing, and anyone standing in its way is likely to
get smacked pretty good. And they won't love us for it.
Like that crowd in the middle.
Tyler Durden abuses his position as a Technical Writer to
compose political commentary as a form of therapy.