Lindsay Perigo
Lindsay Perigo

The Politically Incorrect Show - 20/11/2001

Today I introduce Perigo's Law. It says this: whenever two or more people are gathered together, they will sooner or later fall out. This is especially true when people join together for a cause, & that cause is ideological. There is not a single belief system in history whose adherents have not fought among themselves & divided off into factions. Then the factions have subdivided, the subdivisions have subdivided, etc..

Often the various sects fight each other more ferociously than they fight their common enemies. Christians, Marxists, & Muslims have been especially adept at this. Currently a delicious example is afforded by the Alliance - no, not the Northern Alliance (though doubtless we will continue to see it there, too) but the New Zealand Alliance party as it collapses into internecine Mild Left vs Hard Left warfare notwithstanding that it's jeopardising its position in the government & indeed its whole electoral future by doing so.

So, too, it must be said, have Objectivists been adept at infighting. It's just as well that Objectivism forbids the initiation of physical force, or the short history of the movement would have been bloody indeed. The invective hurled at each other by both sides of the ARI/TOC divide has often been enough to make a sailor blush, though it must be said that the ARI has generally been ahead in the vituperation stakes. Now, it's one thing for advocates of mystic, collectivist & other irrational ideas to fight among themselves - but what are we to make of the fact that avowed apostles of reason & individualism seem to be just as quarrelsome? Well, that I suggest is where Perigo's Law comes into play. Squabbling with their own is just something people do.

Whether this Law is a metaphysical truth or something that folk could overcome if they made the effort is way beyond the scope of a short editorial like this. Nor am I claiming that I personally have overcome it. Quite the contrary. If I see - or THINK I see - people on my own side backsliding, my blood boils. No, these reflections are intended solely to give cause for pause - to muse on the fact that every barb directed at one of our own is a barb not directed at the enemy.

But then, what if that one has indeed gone over to the enemy? Ay, there's the rub.

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