Naivete or Ignorance?

In the Wall Street Journal, Naivete Invites Aggression, Mr. Schaaefer opens his piece with a statement that is inflamatory and unsupported, claiming that President Obama’s call for arms control is a response to North Korea. In my memory, there were calls for arms control before there was a North Korea. This is a typical bait and switch statement. The two problems need not have anything to do with each other. First, everyone knows we have more than enough arms to destroy the world. That raises two questions: Why do we need more than it takes to destroy the world? and Do we really want to destroy the world? Evidently Mr. Obama does not.

However, besides the word games of politicians, there is another fallacy here that I think runs far deeper in our culture, and that is the idea that every problem has two and only two alternative solutions. Specifically with regard to aggression, I have personal experience with the fact that alternatives abound that aggressors can’t even imagine, which is why the aggressive posture usually fails to result in a desirable solution, and we have plenty of recent evidence of that reality.

It is a great weakness of American culture that we can only see two sides of anything. Win-lose, good-bad, black-white. I believe this weakness will probably lead to our downfall. Unless of course we begin to think about what we are saying and doing. Because we have no power of choice over options we don’t even consider, and there are many other people out there who can imagine a plethora of options that we don’t even bother to consider. Whenever they think of an option that we did not think of — we have given away our power. People who can only see two possibilities in every situation are incredibly easy to take advantage of — even powerful, abusive people.

Every time we fail to stop and consider all of our many options, before we choose which one is best, we potentially hand over the reins to someone who can think more logically or is more devious than we are.