Thought experiment: Twenty-six strangers have become stranded on Coconut island. There is enough food, water and sufficient shelter to keep everyone alive. The people soon realize they are going to have to work together for best results and so they form the Coconut Tribe.
One man is a rugged individualist. He spurns the Tribe and walks into the jungle to live self-sufficiently and dies two weeks later from an infected thorn-scratch. The 25 remaining members of the Coconut Tribe give the Libertarian a decent burial.
In any group of 25 people, there will be about an equal number of what we crudely call extroverts and introverts, but which I will call Doers and Thinkers. They live not in hermetically sealed boxes, but at some point along a Doer-Thinker continuum, something like this:
Where do you fall on the continuum? It will affect your worldview. The American hero-myth extols Doers, simply because we have a bias in favor of manly action, sailing across the seas to new frontiers, grabbing the bull by the horns, and all that.
The fact that the manly Doer will occasionally be gored to death by the bull is ignored in the American hero-myth, but wisely noted by the Thinkers. It should be obvious that one is not superior to the other, but in fact all are needed to keep the group alive.
In the newly formed Coconut Tribe, Doers will be running around introducing themselves, asking questions, and trying to get to know and organize the others. Thinkers will give short answers to their questions, stand back and size the others up quietly; longing for peace and privacy so they can think about their new situation.
This is all quite normal; it is O.K. The Doers and Thinkers may judge each other as being either too talkative or too shy, but not only can’t they change each other, they desperately need each other.
America will do better when we grow past the hero-myth of the Bull-Horn Grabber. We will do better when we give equal honor to the Thinkers, when we listen to those who say,
“Hold on! Why don’t you just leave that bull alone? What purpose does grabbing his horns serve?”
The Doer replies, “Why, it’s a bull! We must grab its horns.”
At this point, those who inhabit the mid points on the continuum should speak up and tell the Bull-Horn Grabbers, “That’s just stupid.”
This simple expedient would prevent a lot of our foreign policy disasters.