President George Bush the Younger has spent his entire term looking at the world in black and white, at least on the major issues of the day. This Manichean outlook on things (which is not unique to Bush - see Ted Kennedy) is one of the biggest single failings of the political leadership in the United States today (ditto in Canada, but to a slightly lesser extent), because it's just not an "us vs. them", "good vs. evil" world out there. Things are usually more complicated than that.
In many respects, ufology suffers from the same the same "you're either with us or agin' us" attitude. This is particularly true of die-hard ETH believers and disbelievers (the Bush and Kennedy, or vice versa, of what passes for ufological discourse).
As with modern politics, so too in ufology does the moderate centrist feel left out. There often seems to be no room for what Greg Bishop has called "The Excluded Middle".
What's this? You agree with Phil Klass on something?? Then you must be one of "them"!
Huh? You think that Stan Friedman made a good point? Then you must be one of "them"!
A pox on the Manichean outlook, I say. It's high time for "The Excluded Middle" in ufology to reassert itself, just as it is for "The Excluded Middle" in society as a whole to reassert itself.
People need to recognize that:
a. they're not always going to be right;
b. people make mistakes; and
c. reasonable people can disagree reasonably over just about any issue.
But it takes two to tango. So, if you run into someone who comes from an "us vs. them" perspective, my advice would be to ignore them (ed. note - in other words, do as Paul says, not as he always does). Find people who keep an open mind, and are willing to listen to what you have to say. Then, if they disagree with you, don't beat them over the head with a rhetorical bat (or any other kind) - counter their arguments, have a dialogue, and, if necessary at the end of it all, agree to disagree (preferably over a beer or several).
That's what Nick Redfern (Roswell theory - "boo, hiss"), Greg Bishop (remote viewing - "I don't buy it"), Mac Tonnies (Whitley Strieber - "Ugh") and I all manage to do on a regular basis. It's what Kevin Randle did recently with his balanced look at the controversy over Jesse Marcel's record, which isn't as cut-and-dried as either Marcel's detractors or his defenders would make out.
... it seems that which ever side you decide to come down on, you’re going to run into some trouble. Marcel apparently embellished his record, though it seems only a single time and that he was who he said he was in July 1947. [Sheridan] Cavitt, it seems, changed his story on a number of occasions and then never explained why he’d never told Marcel or Blanchard it was a balloon if he knew the truth. So, as in so much of the Roswell case, you can look at the spin of the researchers and skeptics, look at the records of the soldiers, and still not know, for certain, where the truth lies.None of this means that you can't have strongly held opinions, and express them just as strongly. Rather, it means that you should try not to label other people as "them" simply because they disagree with you, and you should always recognize that history may show that "they" were right and "you" were wrong... or, even more likely, you were both partly wrong and party right, and the truth was somewhere in the middle.
It's a valuable lesson I've learned from first-hand experience over the years, and try to always remember to put into practice.