The Lake

Imagine a Lake. It runs north south and is longer than it is wide. It is wide but not so wide that one cannot see the other side. Each side has its own towns.  There is no bridge over the lake and given the length of the lake traveling from the west to east bank or vise versa is time consuming. As such the west bank and east bank develop very differently. There are differences in the various towns but generally a west bank town is always more similar to another west bank town than it is to an east bank town. The east bank is famous for one town Fallsville. In fact most west bankers refer to the east bank as Fallsville. Fallsville is on the east bank of the lake and occupies a plurality of the length of the bank. East bankers identity most of the west bank with Springvale. There isn’t so much of a rivalry between west bank and east bank so much as a burning resentment with each side scoffing and sputtering at the lasted news from across the lake.
One day an east banker visits Springvale. He enters a deli and asks for summer sausage. The Deli owner looks at him strangely.
“You must be from Fallsville.”
“No I’m from Edinburgh.”
“Is that a suburb of Fallsville?”
“No its east of Burlington.”
“Where is Burlington?”
“North of Richmond.”
“Alright Where is it from Fallsville?”
“Its not really near Fallsville but its North and East.”
People are concerned with who they are. They compare themselves to those closest to them. After a certain distance they don’t care about distinctions as the person has become so other to them that they cannot even comprehend the differences. This creates an interesting phenomenon between the insider and the outsider. Where to one, minute distinctions mean the world, to the other they are meaningless. This story is played out everywhere on a day to day basis and yet we don’t care. Because when it happens it is always the outsider complaining and no one cares about them.

The clearest demonstration of this issue is featured daily in the average newspaper. While there are certain limitations to the print form, there is an inexcusable amount of inaccuracy.  Whether it be politics, science or a shooting on the corner everywhere and everyone is an outsider to the media class. They do not care if they misinform or misidentify because its all the same to them. This problem is exacerbated when mis-identification can be used as a hammer.  If someone is on the East bank they must be this. Differences greater than or equal to the differences between liberals and conservatives become protracted as they approach the edge of, or exceed the Overton window. This protraction removes distinctions between clearly different ideologies to the point where they can be grouped under a few overlapping categories. This taxonomic failure is a feature not a bug of the Cathedral. By blurring the edges of the Overton Window they make it risky to stay on the fringes. You never know when the Overton window might hit you in the back of the head. Clarity of rules allows more constructive discussions that may push boundaries. The Cathedral prefers obscurity so that its priests can divine every situation to see if someone has broken the rules. This of course quickly devolves in the people we don’t like are actually this other group everyone doesn’t like because someone we like said so.

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