The Gray Gray Ghost That I Call Home

There is a great scene in Cold Mountain where Inman, who is AWOL from the army in The Civil War, is walking through the woods on a horse opposite Bosie, the deputy charged with catching people like Inman. The two are at a gunpoint standoff:

Bosie: Tell you what I got on my side.
Inman: What have you got on your side?
Bosie: The confidence of youth.

Bosie is absolute in his convictions. Inman had done wrong and for that he will die. The truth, of course, is far more complicated. Inman is sick of war. He doesn't understand it. He does understand there is a pretty nice life waiting for him back at Cold Mountain if he could get back there and get people to leave him alone. Bosie just can't see it. He either lacks the life experience, or is clouded by some anger issues, or is motivated by some other force. (I mean, yeah, it's his job, but you know what I mean.)

I think about it whenever I read something that feels absolutist. You know the article. "AND LEMME TELL YA ANOTHER THING. HERE'S THE WAY IT OUGHTA BE OR THIS DANGED INDUSTRY IS GOING STRAIGHT DOWN THE TUBES." Or your website is going to start on fire. Or you are wronging all of humanity.

The truth, of course, is far more complicated.