The mind demands rules; the facts demand exceptions. – Mason Cooley
Of all the different varieties of irritating weenies in the world, one of the worst is that species of tiny-minded pedant who is completely unable to comprehend the concept of a generality. Though there is no such thing as a rule without exceptions (except, perhaps, for that one), this perennial poop feels compelled to interrupt any general statement with the unnecessary declaration that there are exceptions to it. Make the statement, “Birds have wings,” and this knob will invariably remind you that kiwis do not; it doesn’t matter to him that kiwis are but five species of the roughly 10,000 in the class Aves, that they are entirely limited to New Zealand, and that they number only about 60,000 of the total 400 billion birds in the world (approximately 0.000014%). Expressed another way, if at birth you were given a magic hat which produced a randomly-generated bird once per minute, you’d probably be past puberty before the first kiwi popped out. But to the anti-generalist, that doesn’t matter; his creed is, “If it results in the recognition of even ONE KIWI, it will all be worth it!!!!1!11!”
Though I used the masculine pronoun in the paragraph above because that’s what one does in English, I’ve never noticed any difference in the gender distribution of this particular personality flaw; men and women seem equally afflicted by the inability to comprehend that exceptions don’t invalidate rules. For years, MRAs have complained about the syndrome they refer to as “NAWALT” (Not All Women Are Like That), and in the past year feminists have started making the same complaint, which they refer to as “Not All Men” and bizarrely associate with fedoras and the Kool-Aid Man character. Of course, both of them are right in considering this sort of person annoying, and dead wrong in pretending the syndrome is limited to the opposite sex…which, as it turns out, supports my contention that feminists and MRAs are actually the same critter with different genitalia. Yes, there are some negative characteristics that tend to appear in many women…and not all women are like that. And yes, there are some negative characteristics that tend to appear in many men…and not all men are like that. And in neither case is it actually necessary to say so, because fanatics won’t believe it anyway and rational people already know it.
Unfortunately, the word “rational” does not actually describe very many people in the modern West. As the spring wore on and the “Not All Men” thing grew from an inane trope into a fad far more annoying than the behavior it was intended to mock, some master of Not Thinking Things Through apparently decided that the way to counter the truthful-but-unnecessary assertion that not all members of a sex are identical was to wrongfully assert that they are. At least, that seemed to be the premise behind #YesAllWomen, a Twitter hashtag apparently dedicated to the notion that the actions of a homicidal psychopath were somehow indicative of the behavior of ALL men, and that ALL women constantly live in mortal terror of this. Or something.
At some point in the past century, extremism became the norm in the United States; that defective way of seeing the world seems to have since spread to much of the West. No longer is it enough to disagree with someone else’s political position; now its opponents must assume a diametrically opposite posture. Dislike some aspect of x? Crusade for its total eradication, no matter how many civil liberties must be trampled, how many billions wasted and how many people killed in the process. Dislike a politician? Oppose all of his policies, even those which were started by your party the last time it held the office. Irritated with “Not All Birds” yo-yos? Insist that every last bird is as identical as a plastic toy made from a mold, and that one draconian, narrow-minded policy is good for all of them. Then argue until you’re blue in the face with your supposed “enemies”, and don’t be too surprised when reasonable people want nothing to do with either of you.