When we were very young we played in gangs, each seeking their place like young planets finding their orbit. Occasionally we'd find someone who didn't fit in. Looking back I think this was what William Golding had in mind when he wrote Lord of the Flies.
In our case it was a young boy who earned the name of 'Sugar Butty' because he made the mistake of confiding that bread, butter and sugar was his favourite sandwich. His other mistake was to have been born a bit simple-minded and tragically trustful.
It brings tears to my eyes now, along with a deep sense of shame, when I recall how we treated him. We'd circle the house, cat-calling 'Sugar Butty,' and renounced every overture from him or his mum. Only as a parent can you appreciate the full horror of what we were doing.
You'd be right in saying that we were only eight or nine year olds, and though our acts were ugly, the damage hideous, we had a lifetime to mature and understand what we'd done.
Which is why I found interesting an article claiming that left-wing people are on the whole more intelligent than right-wing people. Though my politics are somewhere between Bakunin and Atilla the Hun, I'd argue the article misses the point. As a keen reader of both left and right wing blogs, the real contenders for the lower IQ stakes are to be found in the comments that follow an opinion piece of either wing.
Reading them, it becomes clear that being leftwing or rightwing is neither here or there. It's more a case of 'tribal' politics the 'mature' equivalent of eight year olds seeking security in gangs and damning outsiders. If I was to offer a leftwing opinion in a rightwing blog, or a rightwing opinion in a leftwing blog there'd be howls of 'Sugar Butty' or something equally mature. And that is how Twitter-mobs, and political blogs increasingly work, ie self-selecting gangs for the insecure. At least we were eight year olds and knew no better.