Nature vs Nurture

Adolf (better known as Adi) and Rudolf Dassler were just starting to hit it big in the shoe business when a rift emerged—leading to one of the more notable family feuds in modern history. It may have been that their wives didn’t get along. It may have been “Rudolf’s increasing suspicion that his brother Adi was behind his conscription into the army and thus his short imprisonment.” Whatever it was, the breakup was permanent. Adi stuck with the brothers’ original shoe company (Adidas) and Rudolf broke away to start his own rival company (Puma). It’s rare that a family fight ends with both parties moving on successfully. More often such fights end up with all parties being worse for the experience. In recent years, driven by insane news narratives and vile politics, America has been in an ever-worsening family feud, and that feud even extends to individual families. Alan Feuer in the NYT (Gift Article): Son Testifies Against Father in Jan. 6 Trial. “On Thursday, the son, Jackson Reffitt, faced his father from the witness stand in Federal District Court in Washington, testifying against him in a remarkable tableau that captured the painful rupture in one family — and in some ways the nation — caused by the events of Jan. 6, 2021. ‘He said, ‘If you turn me in, you’re a traitor,’ Jackson Reffitt told the jury as his father watched him intently from across the courtroom and then looked down. ‘And traitors get shot.'” (Thankfully, the apple fell a hell of a long way from this tree.)

+ The idea of a family feuding because some members are being duped or radicalized by false information is a sad reality not limited to Americans. Consider the case of Oleksandra and her four rescue dogs who have been sheltering in the bathroom of her flat in Kharkiv since the Russian invasion began. “The 25-year-old has been speaking regularly to her mother, who lives in Moscow. But in these conversations, and even after sending videos from her heavily bombarded hometown, Oleksandra is unable to convince her mother about the danger she is in. ‘I didn’t want to scare my parents, but I started telling them directly that civilians and children are dying,’ she says. ‘But even though they worry about me, they still say it probably happens only by accident, that the Russian army would never target civilians. That it’s Ukrainians who’re killing their own people.'” BBC: ‘My city’s being shelled, but mom won’t believe me

+ The false news narratives that divide even blood relatives can be life and death matters. That’s why controlling the news is so important to dictators, authoritarians, mass-murderers, and others intent on clinging to minority rule. NYT: Last Vestiges of Russia’s Free Press Fall Under Kremlin Pressure. It’s people like Putin who refer to the press as “the enemy of the people.”

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