Pi Attitude Zone: Conformity & Stability

Gunning For The Other Side

In their recent presidential election, Americans were asked “what for?”  What is medicine for?  What is welfare for?  What are women’s bodies for?  What is religion for?  What is government for?

And while we’re at it, what are guns for?  In today’s USA the divergent answers to these questions show an attitudinal rift as deep and as wide as the Grand Canyon. 

It is tempting to assume that an American’s answers to those questions depend only on political affiliation.  But they actually have at least as much to do with fundamental attitudes and underlying mind-sets. This makes America an unusual nation, a country bitterly divided along fault-lines of culture and values.  In Pi terms, it’s the dichotomy between the blue ‘south’ of the Pi-Chart (Conformity and Stability) and the orange ‘north’, (Openness and Flexibility – see the Pi Demo page).

Most countries, in the aftermath of the horrible massacre of innocents in Newtown, would be numbed with shock and plunged into quiet mourning.  Think Norway after Breivic.  The focus would be on trying anything and everything to stop the horror from ever happening again.

Yet America was instantly divided between those shouting “enough” and demanding universal background checks and the banning of assault weapons, and those rushing to buy exactly such weapons “before the federal government takes away our freedom to bear arms”.  In the wake of the Newtown tragedy the NRA (the National Rifle Association, which implacably opposes any kind of controls on guns or ammunition) has signed up vast numbers of new members, and taken in unprecedented levels of contribution money.  With 4 million members already on their rolls, the NRA gleefully saw resistance to proposed post-Newtown legislation bringing their numbers up to a reported 5 million. 

Their financial muscle and lobbying clout has been growing, not shrinking – as witnessed by their success in intimidating US Senators and blocking new gun-control legislation of any kind.  Predictably, the NRA’s most strident voice is that of the organization’s EVP, the strikingly charm-free Wayne LaPierre:  “There are no shades of gray in American freedom”, he pronounced. “It’s black and white, all or nothing”.

This implies not only implacable opposition between the two sides of the so-called “debate”, but also almost total mutual incomprehension.  One expects such ideology-driven rigidity in North Korea.  But in modern-day America?

The two sides really don’t want to see each other’s point of view.  They just want to give each other “what for”.

Zone: Conformity & Stability Country: USA / North America Product – Business / Professional