Greetings, Wanderer. I am Archfiend Maleficus.
I like to call myself a “moderate extremist”.
I have been, over the course of my life, a Republican, a Libertarian, and a Democrat; a conservative, an anarchist, and a liberal; a fundamentalist Southern Baptist Christian, a Buddhist, a pagan, and an atheist.
I have, literally, been on both sides of just about every debatable topic I’ve ever encountered. And I am articulate and open-minded enough to take a “Devil’s Advocate” approach to just about any topic as well.
One of my favorite journalists, Hugh Downs, once said in regards to the divisiveness of politics: “An eagle needs both a right wing and a left wing to fly straight.” I don’t know if he got the quote from elsewhere, but for now I can attribute it to him. It’s a nugget of wisdom I have never forgotten.
In the same vein, the science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein once wrote: “No one is the villain of their own story.”
I will not belabor the point. There is no “right” side to most arguments. Everyone thinks they are “right” in their opinions, else they would not have opinions.
The point is, the political orcs who demonize the opposition are the real threat to our republic. The answers to political problems must come from the crucible of opposing ideas, meaning one ingredient must always be compromise. The so-called virtue of the refusal to compromise, when exercised in the arena of politics, is actually immoral, and toxic to the republic.
I have an agenda.
We all do. My agenda is to hammer some sense into the intransigent foot soldiers who participate in political dialogue like it is a blood sport. Now, I may be harder on the right than the left, but that is because I currently see the greatest threat to our republic as the authoritarian religious right and their effort to remarry politics and theology. “Social conservatives” have their own agenda, to impose their own subjective morality on society, and such a utopia is incompatible with a free, democratic system of government.