Daily Podcast: Why Can't We All Just Get Along?
A reader emailed me recently, asking why I tolerated the following post by coupdetat: "I remember being at the old Ontario Motor Speedway and not being able to see the San Bernadino Mountains back in 1973. I figure the pollution controls on cars and industry allow us to enjoy the beauty of the state and have the beauty there for the coming generations. Now if we could get all these transplants to leave, it would be even nicer." The reader reckoned it was a racist remark. I saw it as a off-hand, tongue-in-cheek comment about out-of-staters. The reader was adamant. "It's an 'us vs. them' statement that definitely has nothing to do with the topic at hand," he protested. Barring some convincing argument here, I've decided to go with my gut and leave the post as is. Meanwhile, the debate got me thinking about the wider point: how life is, at its most fundamental level, a competition for resources. There are millions of battles every minute of every day; for clean air, water, steel to make cars, customers to buy the cars, readers to visit car-related websites, etc. Call me a heartless Darwinist, but I don't think 'us vs. them' conflicts are inherently bad. In fact, I believe humans were born to compete– in groups. If we weren't, I wouldn't be here. Nor, in fact, would you. And I mean that in the full, collective, inclusive sense of the word.