Moral Ambivalence Improves Politics -- And the World

AMBIVALENCE IS RARELY, if ever, cast as a positive attribute in our culture. It's associated with indecision, a lack of commitment, weakness. The old adage, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything," pretty much sums up our intolerance for minds in perpetual states of motion and revision.

The opposite of that axiom, though, is just as true: If you stand for something, you'll fall for everything -- everything that aligns with your pre-established set of beliefs and self-definitions. (Think of all the Fox News evangelists or the liberals who worship at the throne of Rachel Maddow.) Over-commitment to one's beliefs and identifications often shuts down, rather than opens up critical discourse.

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