Tuesday, 11 May, 2004
I was about halfway through a series of long posts lamenting the overabundance of unreasonable people in the world when I realized that I was whining. And I'm reasonably certain that those of you reading this aren't interested in hearing me whine. There's nothing quite like writing to reveal how I was wallowing in self pity. Now that that's over...
As Jeff Duntemann pointed out in his diary entry on certainty, certainty sells. Well, unreasonableness sells too. Combined (would that be unreasoning or unreasonable certainty) they sell even better. People flock to extremism. Nobody in recent memory has gotten elected by saying "I'm a reasonable guy." That's the way things are, and no amount of whining or wishing on my part is going to change it. But I can wonder why, can't I?
The simplest explanation is that people in general are unsure of themselves and eager to embrace something, anything, that they can latch onto and put their doubts to rest. There's a lot of comfort in feeling like you have the answer. Although I'm sure some people work this way, that answer paints the average person with a very unflattering brush. And although it answers the "certainty" question, however unsatisfactorily, it sheds very little light on the question of why so many people act unreasonably and like to see or read reports of unreasonable behavior. That one's got me stumped.