Extremism's explosive effects remind us to take all things in moderation
This article was published in The Sydney Morning Herald 14 January 2011
Divisive, sound-bite politics does great harm to the cause of democracy.
America is paying a high price for the demonising of democracy and smashing of the public-interest lens into a cacophony of simplistic sound bites, policy-by-slogan, bigotry and vitriol. The integrity of language, trust and public interest is too readily confined to the back of a bus hijacked by the extreme and marginal.
But this problem is not America's alone.
Too many people in leadership positions become victims of PAIDS - politically acquired integrity deficiency syndrome - and eschew their responsibilities. That is bad enough, but then the media fuel and elevate the virus of conflict and celebrity, and the internet removes usual protective barriers of time and distance.