Us vs Them Splits

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Painting my part of the house we call the politburo, I’m listening to the most recent edition of Radio Open Source. Chris’s guest, investor, teacher, writer and sometimes politcian Juan Enriquez, touches on a topic that has been playing back in my head all weekend: The Us vs. Them mentality.

The topic comes about 14 minutes into the interview, where Juan starts on about how the US could easily expand to 55 states. He points to situations around the world like Catalunya or the Basque region in Spain, Scotland or Wales in the UK, Flanders and Wallonia in Belgium, etc.  Examples of places where regions are calling for more autonomy, in most cases moreso than they have in a long time.  In the case of the United States he cites Texas, Alaska, and Hawaii as examples where either the governer or increasingly influencal politicians are talking about more autonomy if not completely breaking away from the Union.

Few of these cases are news to anyone who has been paying attention in the last decade. Yet the words that Juan uses are worth thinking about:

If we aren’t careful of how we treat each other, if we aren’t careful about stopping this us vs. them mentality… There might come a point where some people decide those people over there really are baby killers, or godless people, or whatever you want to call them on the other side.

Despite his interesting words, it is of course not the full story, especially when it comes to Europe.  While many regions are shouting louder for autonomy, many others are calling to be part of this thing we call the Europe Union.  Again, there are many layers to this issue.  But thinking about that, the amplification of the Us vs. Them in this day and age… it really does seem everywhere.  It really does seem like some people have been profiting and building careers on convincing you that those people over there are godless or a threat to you, or whatever inspires you to seperate yourself from them.  At some point its not just a concern that nations might break apart, but that people are being convinced in such large numbers that there is some other group out there that is a threat to them.

Bonus: Juan Enriquez’ Ted Talk

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