When Minos, the first King of Crete, needed to keep the ferocious Minotaur trapped and constantly occupied he turned to the brilliant Daedalus for a solution. To solve the King’s problem Daedalus invented and built the Labyrinth. The legend goes that he did such a good job in building it that he barely managed to get out of it himself. Minos, concerned that Daedalus may share the secrets of the Labyrinth with others, rewarded his master architect by locking him and his son, Icarus, in a tower jail. Daedalus, who sounds like a fellow who liked nothing better than a good challenge, built a pair of wings for Icarus and a pair for himself that they would use to fly out of the tower to freedom. Before they took flight Daedalus warned Icarus to ensure he did not fly too high, because the heat of the sun would melt the wax that held the wings together causing them to break up, nor too low, because the sea foam would soak the feathers making them very heavy. And off they went. All was well until Icarus, probably excited that he was actually flying, forgot his father’s advice and flew higher and higher. The wax from his wings melted and he fell into the sea and drowned. Since then the virtues of taking the middle ground have been extolled. Not too high, not too low. The Golden Mean.
We all appreciate that life is not as neat as Greek mythology, the truth can not be a compromise between two opposite positions. To insist is logically fallacious, argumentum ad temperantiam. Why then do we spend so much time trying to reach a middle ground that does not exist?
For example, there is a group of people who believe that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 was created by Bill Gates (and a group of influential people he leads who are deeply obsessed with killing millions of us). They believe the deadly virus was created in order to panic the rest of us into using vaccines. They believe that these vaccines make us infertile and they also believe that these vaccines are a cover to insert microchips in our bodies. What these microchips do is not yet very clear. Many people find it astonishing (and very scary) that anyone rational (or even just sensible) would even entertain such a theory.
On this there is no middle ground. There is not even room to “agree to disagree” as tolerating the opposing argument renders yours invalid. Stop wasting time trying to convince people one way or the other, you can not. Stop wasting time looking for a logical, sensible, respectful way to have this debate, there isn’t one. If you believe Gates and his crew are super-virus-creating-mass-murderers it is a waste of your time to try and convince me.
The lack of the middle ground often makes us uncomfortable but shouldn’t. There are many arguments for which the two principal positions are so far apart that there can be no middle ground without falling into a false compromise. There is little point in entertaining debate with someone who thinks one race is superior to another. If you disagree that Black Lives Matter convincing you otherwise is not our responsibility. We will compel you to behave and provide services as though you believe it, but we will waste no time arguing with you over it. When Rosa Parks was arrested and fined in Alabama, USA for refusing to yield her bus seat to a white man in December 1955 there was no move to enter into a long debate with the bus company. Instead Parks and other civil rights leaders organised the Montgomery bus boycott which lasted 381 days and only ended after Montgomery’s buses were integrated following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. No middle ground.
Defenders of the deep, brutal, inhumane, evils of colonalism and slavery enjoy holding debates to defend their position. There is nothing to be gained in participating, there is no middle ground.
Each twist and turn you take as you try to create a false middle ground traps you deeper in the Labyrinth and unlike Daedalus you may find yourself unable to get out.