Not So Different: Real Life

  • A Finnish proverb: Every generation thinks that it is more intelligent than its parents and more wise than its children.
    • Similarly, a French saying: The more things change, the more they stay the same. For all the advancements and events in human history, certain constants remain persistent to remind us that we're not as different from our ancestors as we sometimes like to believe.
  • As noted on Blue and Orange Morality, avid hunters and animal rights groups cannot really comprehend each others points of view, yet both groups are some of the strongest and most vocal supporters of conservationism. Both groups are largely comprised of people who like to roam around nature, and will leap into action if a natural habitat is about to be destroyed.
    • Also tied to Blue and Orange Morality, this can arguably extend to humanity in general. For all of mankind's diversity and similarities, one commonality most people seem to share is to argue and fight as much over the same things as over differences, often unable to see eye-to-eye on what those same things mean.
  • Sometimes remarked upon as France and England. Both have Barbarian/Germanic origins for their cultures, with massive amounts of immigration. Both have had periods of complete military dominance. Both at one point had Normans in its landmass. Both have seen their countries invaded and desolated, be it the Romans or the Nazis, and their languages have evolved so closely that words such as 'regard' and 'W.C' mean exactly the same thing. It's almost as if the two countries are so similar as to be defensive of each other to outsiders...
    • France doesn't have "Barbarian/Germanic origins for [its] culture", since it's Romance. The first historian who actually emitted the hypothesis that the first Franks might have been Germanic instead of Trojan got thrown into the Bastille for insult to the Crown. The invasions by Franks (mostly under Clovis around 500) and that of William (1066) are comparable in certain respects, but they wildly differ regarding the cultural impact of the invaders (on one side romanized Germans invading Romans, that is invaders being aware of their alleged cultural inferiority and integrating virtually immediately; on the other Gallicized Vikings herding French troops invading Germans, you know how it went). It should be noted that France actually never underwent a massive amount of immigration between the Neolithic and the 20th century. Nor did Britain, even though the Angles drove out something like 100-200,000 Britons.
  • The "Communist Rules for Revolution" conspiracy theory in America and the "Dulles' Doctrine" conspiracy theory in Russia are almost mirror images of each other. Each side of the Cold War was thinking the other side is secretly corrupting their young, spreading sex and vanity and undermining the nation's salt-of-the-earth ruggedness.
    • Weirdly, after a terrorist attack, then-Prime-Minister Vladimir Putin held a furious speech denouncing the terrorists as human animals. The last one before him to use the statement in a public speech had been Heinrich Himmler, and he had been insulting Russians, of all people.
    • During The Fifties, there were two men named "Joseph" who conducted Witch Hunts against anyone suspected of being subversive. One had the last name "McCarthy" and the other "Stalin". Granted, Stalin was much worse, but he had more power. Who knows what McCarthy might have been like if he'd been an absolute dictator instead of a lowly senator.
    • And, of course, there are the remarkable parallels between The Vietnam War and the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. In fact, a lot of Cold War foreign policy. The communists may have propped up the likes of Ho Chi Minh and Kim Il-sung, but the West did the same thing for various Latin American dictators.
      • That last one was actually deliberate: US Secretary of State Zbigniew Brzezinski put out false intelligence that the Afghan government was about to shift from the Soviet to the US camp, causing the latter to invade so they could shore up control. He did this so the Soviet Union would "have it's own Vietnam" and it worked very well.
  • Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler were Arch Enemies and at opposite ends of the political spectrum (well, not so much - Hitler was a National Socialist and Stalin was at first an orthodox Socialist but latter turned to something which is now called National Bolshevism.), but they were also similar in a lot of ways, beyond the obvious of both being brutal dictators. They both had artistic ambitions (poetry and painting), both had criminal pasts and did time in prison (for bank robbery and treason), both were born on the fringes of their future empires (Georgia and Austria), and both were vastly underestimated by the establishment until they suddenly broke through and revealed themselves to be much more dangerous than everyone believed (Stalin was a minor Bolshevik party functionary who managed to systematically take over, and Hitler was the leader of a tiny nationalist political party who the leaders of the Weimar Republic saw as a handful of disaffected nobodies).
  • We love to demonize certain companies for doing business practices...however, many other companies do the exact same things.
  • Victim mentality. Because we're the poor innocent victims, we use this as justification on doing whatever we want-even if it's Not So Different than the people we claim to be victimized by. It only gets worse when both sides each claim to be the real victims at the hands of the other side...Basically when the abused turn abusive.
  • Several Centuries separate us from the Roman Empire but there are records of elders in the community feeling that the young people of that era had no respect for the generation that came before them. Sound familiar? Every previous generation has people who think the current generation is ruining everything they accomplished and have no respect for authority, when we young people today get old, some of us may feel the same way. The cycle never ends.
    • There are two famous quotes attributed to Socrates regarding young people, and stop us if any of this sounds familiar:

    The children now love luxury above all else. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect to their elders. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up treats at the table, cross their legs and are tyrants over their teachers.

    The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or other elders. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they alone knew everything and what passes for wisdom with us (the older generations) is foolishness to them. As for girls they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress.
    • One person said something similar: "I bet you anything that if we had the internet in the seventies, the depression-era adults would be saying this exact same thing about the baby boomers, calling them the "Me" generation.
      • It should be noted, many elders did refer to the Baby Boomers as the "Me" generation back in the Seventies, even without the internet.
  • It isn't uncommon for veterans of war to lack a sense of hatred for the opposing side that was an enemy during the conflict. Somewhere deep down inside they realize that if fate had been less cruel and they had met under different circumstances they could have been friends, and that even if they couldn't be friends they were only doing their jobs in order to win the war so they can get back to their friends and families. All soldiers are human after all, with all the associated feelings of love, kindness, and wisdom you would expect out of a normal person, and would just like to move on with their lives.
    • Warrior Code is this trope embodied. The existence of a warrior code distinguishes warriors from murderers, psychopaths and criminals-and sociopathic soldiers.
  • Given the current political and economic situation in America, it's not uncommon for many to see both parties as this, especially in the 2012 election. And that is all we'll say about this.
  • This article on Cracked points out the surprising similarities between Gangstas and Rednecks.
  • Inverted. Both Chester Nimitz and Karl Dönitz were admirals of their respective navies. Despite their similarities, Nimitz sympathized with Dönitz and defended him in court when he was accused of war crimes in the Nuremberg Trials of 1946, saying that he too waged unrestricted tonnage war in the Pacific, and that there was nothing he hadn't done that Dönitz was accused of. Dönitz finally got ten years imprisonment. Many Allied admirals agreed with Nimitz and protested about this situation, claiming that Dönitz was innocent.
  • Inverted. A few gangsters in the era before prohibition refused to deal in the newer forms of crime. The police even sympathized with them when they were killed off by subordinates who had far less scruples.
  • Subverted in feminism as there are at least ten subtypes and at least one major riff between Radical and Liberal feminists. Is feminism about equality or "the erasure of gender as a class"?
    • One notable thing is how many of the people who oppose and criticize feminism tend to not be misogynists themselves, rather they want equal rights for genders; essentially, they want the same thing as feminism, but they don't want it to be called feminism, due mostly to negative associations with loopier feminists (on top of media depictions of them).
  • In the extremes of both sides of the whole religious vs. atheism/antitheism thing, they basically do nothing but preach to people who already believe what they do (who are the only ones who will listen oftentimes) and go out of their way to alienate the people they purport to want to save.
    • On a similar note, philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah observed how universalists can ironically be just as intolerant and hypocritical as the fervent nationalists they despise. And on that note, how Islamic fundamentalists are hauntingly similar to their secular, globally-minded idealist "rivals;" both groups for instance want to make the world a better place and help their fellow man...under various interpretations of those words.
  • The Blue Code of Silence, in which police officers resist testifying against each other, is sometimes compared to the Mafia's Omerta code of silence.
  • One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Likewise, one man's Resistance is another man's Remnant.
  • Many nations during the First World War used propaganda as a means to encourage men to take up arms, Britain being one of them, claiming it to be a glorious sacrifice. These sentiments were echoed by Irish revolutionary Patrick Pearse (a sworn enemy of British rule in Ireland, so much that he was hanged for treason as a leader of the Easter Rising against it during World War One) who professed: "The old heart of the earth needs to be warmed with the red wine of the battlefields."
  • Watching or reading fiction from another country. Values Dissonance aside, you can't help but feel this way when you find yourself laughing at the jokes, relating to the characters, and generally getting invested in the story.
  • Barack Obama criticized George W. Bush for the extremely long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, being too secretive, keeping prisoners imprisoned without trial in violation of the US Constitution, and spying on Americans. He continued the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, increased the level of secrecy, continued to keep said prisoners imprisoned without trial, and expanded the domestic spying program. Extending from that, Obama defenders tend to be very critical of Bush for those actions while defending Obama's same actions, while Obama critics tend to defend Bush while calling out Obama for these issues.
    • Of course, that's only true if you assume that what Obama said to get elected are the same as what he actually believes, two things that are rarely the same for any politician in any democracy in the world. Which, funnily enough, is an example of Not So Different in of itself.
  • George W. Bush himself fell victim to this when stating conditions to Fidel Castro for lifting the embargo on Cuba, such as internationally monitored elections and freeing political prisoners being held without charge or trial. Castro's response was, essentially "you first".
  • Quite often what happens in more extreme "rights" groups, where they essentially want all the perks with none of the bad that the "entitled group" is enjoying.
  • The so-called "Horseshoe Theory" in political science is this: the further one goes down the right or left towards their extreme ends, the more they start becoming eerily similar; pure Objectivism ala Bioshock for instance has been described as functionally the same as Marxism, albeit via unhindered capitalism.
  • This is also a common observation among more militant radicals such as fascists and their antifa rivals; in their efforts to propagate their respective causes and destroy their perceived enemies, they wind up committing many of the same acts as them.
  • Skylanders and Disney Infinity are both pretty Merchandise-Driven. On many internet forums (Especially Reddit), fans of the two are mocked for buying into said Merchandise-Driven aspect. Fans of both delight in pointing out that a lot of other fandoms and collectors essentially are the exact same as they are, especially if the person mocking them happens to be a collector themselves.
  • Conspiracy theories about The Illuminati are surprisingly flexible. Although the Illuminati is always planning to establish a totalitarian One World Order, its political/religious alignment varies wildly and always just happens to be the opposite of your views. That is to say, if you're Marxist the Illuminati is controlled by arch-capitalists and if you're a Christian fundamentalist then it's controlled by Satanists. It would seem that people with completely different and sometimes opposite views all see their political opponents in such an identical way that they can target the same conspiracy theory at them.
  • Both conservatives and anarchists want freedom, how this freedom is and where this freedom goes is different.
  • Both radical feminists and MRAs (Men's Rights Activists) are after the same thing from the other side and against the opposing sides entitlements; they regularly criticize the other for not actually trying to get equality, and instead trying to just attack the other group's ideas because they don't want to give something up for the other side, all the while doing exactly that themselves. Both sides often ignore the Silent Majority from both groups, who do want and fight for equality, without the need to attack the other.
  • Racial separatists want individuality for races but not individuals, leftists want individuality for the betterment of society but not individuals.
  • George Orwell over time became fond of pointing out how polar-opposite ideologues are more similar than they realize. His essay Notes On Nationalism is devoted to it.
    "The Catholic and the Communist are alike in assuming that an opponent cannot be both honest and intelligent."
  • Some of the more radical branches of feminism have a decidedly dim view of things like prostitution, pornography, or female characters in media wearing skimpy outfits. Not unlike the very traditionalists and religious fundamentalists who are the biggest opponents of feminism. They have even allied over these issues in the past.
  • For all the buzzwords and developments, the 21st Century is shaping up to be reminiscent of the late 19th-early 20th Centuries (e. g. The Edwardian Era) in a number of surprising if unsettling ways. Whether it's in advancements in technology, familiar rhetoric around things like globalization or progress and more ominously the presence of hotspots that could flare up with unpredictable results. Like a certain crisis gone horribly wrong in 1914.
  • Richard Dawkins has been accused of racism and misogyny, and has even asked whether atheists should take the gloves off against religion. The reasons he and others like him cite for religion being bad? Racism, misogyny, and a willingness to fight and kill for their cause against those they believe to be wrong.
    • In a similar example in his book God is not Great Christopher Hitchens criticized religion for its many historical inaccuracies in various holy books. Many have pointed out that this book has a lot of historical errors itself.
    • Both of them have been criticized by not only theists but many other atheists for these and other issues.
  • All political and philosophical standpoints assume all opposing standpoints are refusing to think for themselves. Conservative, leftist, capitalist, socialist, liberal, radical, progressive, religious and nonreligious doctrines. Chances are wherever you stand on all the issues somebody has accused you of not thinking for yourself.
  • In a sense, Apple, if you take their infamous 1984-inspired SuperBowl ad to be how the company actually felt in 1984. They accuse IBM of turning everyone into drones, subservient to a higher power with little freedom or choice. Yet Apple themselves ended up enforcing an ecosystem with much the same mentality with their Apple Macintosh computers and beyond to things like the iPhone when compared to their more open competition like Microsoft Windows and Google's Android platform (respectively in the PC and smartphone/tablet markets). In fact, given their trend in the consumer realm since the early 2000s, their own ad could easily place them on the other side of the line from a contemporary point of view (they're the big face on the monitor talking to the unquestioning masses).
  • Mark Twain noted he wasn't very fond of the works of Jane Austen, yet both are satirists that wryly mock human behavior and the norms of their society.
  • As has been pointed out in histories of the Wars of the Roses Richard III was demonized by the Tudors as a usurper who illegally took the throne and killed of rivals with a better claim to the throne then him. Henry VII had an even worse claim to the throne, usurped Richard, then proceeded to eliminate others with better claims then him, which continued even in the time of his son Henry VIII.
  • A turning point in the Civil Rights movement happened when a breaking news bulletin about a racial march interrupted a documentary, showing police attacking the marchers. The problem was that the interrupted documentary had just shown Hitler's goons doing the same thing to the German Jews. Viewers found the similarities very disturbing.
  • Social justice warriors and self-avowed racists, reactionaries, etc. have essentially identical views on maintaining cultural purity and racial segregation among other things. Here is the case of a social justice warrior who actually reblogged a post on race to show that she agreed with it, only to later find out that it was written by a neo-Nazi. There's also this Reddit community where people try to guess whether a racist quote came from a social justice warrior or a wingnut.
  • Americans are widely picked on by foreigners for many of them not liking watching films or TV shows done in a foreign language with subtitles, even though this hate is actually shared by most of the rest of the world (not least in Germany and Japan).