It’s the death of the middle class…
There’s no political middle ground these days…
Everybody’s either a religious zealot or an atheist…
These are complaints that we hear often. They’re examples of a culture that lusts for extremism. Our politics, our sports and even our weather live and die by the superlatives we use to describe them.
We don’t need to tell you of the dangers of such a trend.
But as we head down the home stretch of tackling each of Ben Franklin’s 13 famed virtues, we’ll tell you that we agree with the wise old boy’s take on the situation.
Here’s the thing, though: Our interpretation of his ninth virtue is much different from the typical deciphering of this mandate.
Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
Most folks who read those words take home a simple message: everything in moderation. They believe Franklin was telling us not to indulge.
But that idea was tackled right at the start. In his very first virtue, Franklin ordered us to live a life of temperance.
It’d be odd for the man who tells us not to go to extremes to double down on his message.
No, there’s something else going on in this mighty mandate.
The power in this virtue lies in its second half – in those three complex words right in the middle. “Forbear resenting injuries,” he tells us.
Put simply, he’s telling us not to be offended.
Ah… now we’re getting somewhere. Now we’re getting to a lesson so many Americans must take to heart.
Thinking through Franklin’s words with this filter, we see that this virtue takes on a fresh and oh-so-powerful meaning.
“Well… I’m Appalled”
We don’t know if we’re living in our nation’s most extreme time. But we can recall no other period when folks were so divided and so easily offended by their neighbors’ view of the truth.
Extreme extremism sure feels like a good way to describe it.
That’s why Franklin’s words are so powerful today.
He tells us two key things.
First, he orders us to live our lives in the middle. That idea is clear in all of his virtues. But in a world that has found a way to monetize polarization, living in the middle is a dying art.
In fact, we’d argue many folks these days find the idea appalling.
They want to be extreme. It’s how they find their identity.
That’s where the second half of Franklin’s advice comes in. He tells us – except in rare occasions – to simply overlook somebody else’s extreme views.
We must moderate our yearning to be offended.
We repeat. We must let offensive ideas leave our minds just as easily as they entered.
Whooo-wee… the mainstream media is going to hate us even more. We’re killing their business model.
We Dare You…
With all the words from above in mind, we offer a bit of a challenge.
We dare readers to watch and read the news this week regarding Brett Kavanaugh. Watch how the minutiae is turned into the extreme. Watch how the small is blasted into the big.
There will be no middle ground.
No, there can’t be. Not in this culture of extremes.
There will be only love and hate.
From there, we urge each reader to deliberately measure their reaction. Is it extreme? Are you offended by the opposing side’s view?
If so, take time to ponder the idea.
You’ll find moderation is far harder than you thought.
It takes a strong person to stand firmly in the middle… especially these days.
P.S. Few folks will say that Trump stands in the middle of anything… and that certainly includes the moneymaking opportunity he’s supporting. It’s a chance to lock in a side income worth as much as $7,190 per month… but you must act before August 1. If you do, Congressional Act 115-5 could make you rich. Click here for the details.