Fight or Flight

By Tim Lyman

The reason we, as a nation, are so divided over the two greatest issues of our time – energy policy and the Iraq war – is because we are divided by our own natures at a fundamental level.

“Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them”

William Shakespeare said it in the persona of the Prince of Denmark 400 years ago.

Perhaps you know it better as the fight or flight response. Animals and humans react to threats with a general discharge of the sympathetic nervous system, priming them for fighting or fleeing. Some people are fighters, some people run away.

It is the elemental difference between the person who reacts to challenges by instinctively strategizing how to overcome them and knowing that they can, and the person who reacts to challenges with fear and defeatism, feeling powerless to affect positive personal change.

It is the difference between the person who has resigned themselves to working a job they hate simply because they can’t be bothered to look for other work or are unwilling to invest the time and money to improve themselves through education, and the person who is always investing the time and money to improve themselves through education and, when faced with an unfulfilling job, works hard to find another.

It is the difference between the person who wants change, but will not change, or, worse, looks outside themselves for a change agent, and the person who is always changing through personal growth.

This is the fundamental divide in humans as represented today in the United States by modern American liberalism and conservatism.

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  • Jerry

    Well said. I have found that, overall, left-wingers take flight and conservatives fight. Not saying which is best – just saying what happens.
    Obama is a flighter.
    For sure.
    Take wing oh ye mighty!
    Take wing and fly.
    Soar above us from your perch in the sky.
    Made us proud as you idly fly by.

  • Winnie

    Funny. I haven’t seen much fight in Republicans this year. Most of them are running away from their president. Many, like Gordon Smith, are running toward the Democrats.

    Is it possible that you are just raising this false dichotomy to make yourself feel good at a time when the electorate is rejecting most of your ideas as you prepare to be landslided this November?

    • Crawdude

      From the looks of Jerry’s post , he mentioned conservatives, not Republicans. No where in the article does it mention a political party, only political view points.

      Why do liberals find it so hard to stay on topic? They can’t even post on a blog without trying to change the subject. It must be due to an inability to make a convincing argument about their beliefs.

      I am interested in hearing what your opinion about the article is……if you read it.

      • Jerry

        Thanks, Craw. Many times these people don’t really read before they post. I see that all the time.

      • Anonymous

        They can’t because they are only “arrogance masquerading as Virtuous”

    • Tim Lyman


      • Tim Lyman

        That’s no to winnie, not to crawdude.

  • Bob Clark

    Unless Rossi can take Washington, there’s fewer places to run to and maybe the potential pain is not great enough to fly but to encourage staying and fighting. Another thing to think about is ways to adapt, and skirt as much of the blue meanies’ intrusions into our personal lives as possible or to take countermeasures. Hopefully, the political cycle will swing back after a short while to the cause of individual freedom and responsibility.

  • John Fairplay

    “I haven’t seen much fight in Republicans this year. ”

    Apparently you haven’t been following developments on capitol hill in the last week or so. I suggest a broader range of study.

    • Steve Plunk

      Speaking of fight, what do we have to do to get Greg Walden back to Washington? This is a chance for Republicans to show what they are made of and who they represent. I’ve sent my email to Greg and hopefully others will. The more Republicans on the House floor the better.

  • Steve

    Well here it is. (below)
    In this letter to the editor is the perfect illustration of the left’s view of our military in Iraq. Gail does a bang up job of casting everything we have done in Iraq as equal to any of the worst barbarian invaders in history. Now Gail may seem extreme to some and rejected as an isolated viewpoint but it is the viewpoint of many Democrats including those elected to Congress. This brand of hateful rhetoric can be found on a daily basis in letters to the O and on blogs across the internet.

    Who owes whom in Iraq?
    Concerning your Aug. 6 report (“Iraq banks billions while U.S. foots bill”), stop and imagine for a moment that you’re in your own home minding your own business. Outsiders have accused you of manufacturing deadly weapons. You protest your innocence.
    Despite many reports showing you’re not guilty, heavily armed people kick in the door of your house, destroy everything inside it and render the house itself uninhabitable. They kill members of your family in the process.
    Others flee in terror. No deadly weapons are found. The strangers make themselves at home in the ruins of your home. You begin trying to make them leave, first by reason and then by force.
    While the invaders are still camped in your ruined house, they complain that you are stingy because you are not paying to clean and repair the place fast enough to suit them, and that you are not grateful for their “help.” How would you react?
    GAIL AMARA Southeast Portland

    • Anonymous

      Gail is one of those lefty half-wits that’s highjacked the Quakers (friends) and turnd it from a religious group with a pacifist theology into a pacifist group with no theology.

      • Anonymous

        Gail is also a Buddhist, giving us a perfect example of liberals’ uncanny ability to believe in two mutually exclusive propositions.

  • Tim Lyman

    OK, so here’s my psychological question for all of you.

    When you looked at the picture accompanying this article, did you see a chicken or a fighting cock?

    And, PLEASE, forgo the obvious jokes about fighting cocks.

    • jonescreekranch

      i see a rooster (cock)

  • dean

    I take issue with the premise of Tim’s post. Its total crap. There is no linking liberals with flight and conservatives with fight. Bush and Cheney, both conservatives, avoided going to war while, Kerry, a liberal volunteered, served, and was later villified and ridiculed with purple bandaids by other conservatives. Sure, modern day liberals are less inclined to send soldiers off to kill or be killed than modern day conservatives, but it isn’t about fight or flight. Its about restraint versus reaction. And I remind you that many conservatives, including Pat Buchanon, George Will, Brent Scocroft, George Mershiemer, and other warned about the folly of invading Iraq.

    On energy, the difficulty of the issue lies in the diferent ways people (liberals, conservatives, and those who are neither) view the nature of the problem. Liberals tend to view it in a context of global warming, peak oil, pollution, distrust of large energy companies, and a desire to disengage militarily from the part of the world that has most of the oil and gas. We (liberals) are attempting to get behind an energy policy that is comprehensive, long term, sustainable, and responsible. Conservation and alternative energy sources seem to solve most of the problem, so that is what we support.

    Conservatives appear to view the problem as a conspiracy on the part of liberals to force them to change the way they live, so resist alternative energy and conservation initiatives as intrusive, unecessary or wasteful, and gravitate towards solutions that extend the status quo for as long as possible.

    What conservatives appear to be “fighting” is change. I suppose they would “flee” from it if they could all fit into Idaho or Texas.

    • Anonymous

      Nobody cares what you think.

      You still haven’t told us what you’re being paid to troll here.

      • dean

        20 cents a word plus a 10% bonus every time a cowardly anonymous yahoo rings the bell. Thanks. And don’t forget to write.

    • Jerry

      Kerry went to Cambodia, too, so he must be very, very brave.
      Although no one remembers him going there. Hmmmm…

      • dean

        Yes Jerry, and does that mean Kerry did not serve in combat in Nam, did not command a boat, was not wounded in battle, and did not get an award for saving one man’s life, and did all this while George Bush was safely serving stateside and Cheney was on his 4th or 5th defferment?

        Who fought and who flew in that case?

        • Jerry

          No, it just means he lied so no one knows what to believe of his entire 3 month combat career.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    Liberals dont fight?

    What sillyness. Liberals will get down in the gutter and brawl tooth and nail if there is partisen advantage.

    SS reform? Liberals sure fought Bush on that one. Deficits as far as the eye can see. Thanks.

    Fight against oil drilling? They sure seem to be fighting that one, and winning.

    Fight against anything that threatens unions interests? They go to bat on that one every time, even to the point now of fighting against the very workers union thugs purport to represent with the latest elimination of secret ballots attempt.

    Fight any cutting of non defense spending? Liberals win every time. Regan went to his grave asking if they were ever going to deliver on their promise of tax cuts in exchange for TEFRA in ’86. They fought for their tax increase. The two dollars in spending cuts for every dollar of tax increase that they promised? Wow, never delivered. Big suprise.

    I reject this entire theory that liberals wont fight. Frankly I think they fight tooth and nail for their interests more so than any Republican or Conservative I can think of.

    When push comes to shove, I see a whole hell of a lot more Republicans folding on any given issue than Democrats.

    Right now pretty much everyone seems to support more drilling. I have yet to see a poll that doesnt show 70% or so want more drilling. Pelosi shut down the House and turned out the lights to fight it. Republicans are no where. With 70% of the pupulation behind them, they got jack.

    Compare and contrast this to when Newt got in a pickle with the government shut down back in the 90’s. Who won that?

    You are going to tell me liberals dont fight? Please provide me with your coordinates – its time to beam up.

  • Tim Lyman

    Rupert – I was speaking of individuals in the aggregate – not organized bodies.

    I don’t count most liberals holding elective office in that crowd, I think they’re simply mercenaries pandering to the interest groups that hold the purse strings. As for the interest groups, they’re just doing what they need to do to keep the money rolling in. They’ve become less about issues and more about fundraising for the maintenance of the power of their leaders.

    I’m sure there are plenty of lilly livered conservatives – several elected officials come to mind…

    What liberals seem to fight is any change in the status quo; anything that disrupts the set pattern of their existence. They want to stay in their comfort zone at all costs.

    For a group that’s always whining about change they sure seem to hate it.

    I find it odd that modern conservatism and modern liberalism are, in practice, pretty much the opposite of their dictionary definitions.

    The current survey results re: drilling provide an insight. Except for the wing-nut base, they’re all for environmentalism until it hits them in the wallet, then it’s DRILL, DRILL, DRILL!

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