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.
  • 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.
    • During the 1950s, both sides in the Cold War hated homosexuality and blamed it on each other. According to U.S. propaganda, homosexuality was a communist plot to subvert American values. Meanwhile, Soviet propaganda had it that homosexuality was a product of bourgeois decadence and a sign of fascist sympathies. Gay people just couldn't win!
  • Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler were Arch Enemies and at opposite ends of the political spectrum, 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).
  • 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.
    • 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. 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.
  • 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."
  • 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".
  • Similarly, when Russia annexed Crimea, the USA condemned them for violating another nation's sovereignty in clear violation of international law. After signing the legislation which brought Crimea into the Russian Federation, Putin gave a speech which boiled down to "I know you are, but what am I?".
  • 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.
  • North Korea is rightly criticised for its ultra-nationalism, over the top propaganda and indoctrination of its citizens, stifling political dissent by force and its reverence of the ruling Kim dynasty. Recently, however, the biggest news story coming out of South Korea is that the government is planning to completely overhaul the teaching of history in schools, replacing the current "leftist-leaning" textbooks with a state-approved book which glosses over the inconvenient parts of the ROK's history, specifically the rule of military dictator Park Chung-hee, who just so happens to be the father of current president Park Guen-hye. The justification is to instill a sense of "pride" and patriotism in South Korean youths. When the teacher's unions protested, the government threatened them with prosecution, and police turned fire hoses on them. It's nowhere near as bad as anything the DPRK does on a regular basis, but the parallels are uncomfortable to say the least.
  • 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 libertarians and anarchists/liberals and conservatives 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."
  • 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. Likewise, Hitchens often accuses religion for causing wars, when he himself was widely criticized by many other leftists, and former friends, for being a vocal supporter of the Iraq war, which put him on the same side of the neoconservative movement (backed by the religious right). Both of them have been criticized by not only theists but many other atheists for these and other issues.
  • 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.
  • 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). Indeed, Americans, in their defense, insist on watching foreign films and TV on subtitles where the rest of the world largely prefers dubbing in local languages.
  • Serbs and Croats. They speak the same language, have extremely similar religions and cultural history, and agree on the fact that they are nothing alike. And then things get depressing.
  • This pretty much comes with the territory for any two diametrically opposed ideologies. The more extreme members on both sides are likely to view the other side as "the enemy" and adopt a "with us or against us" mentality — with those adopting other ideologies being reviled by those on both sides.
    • This is, perhaps, most notable with groups who are largely defined as being in opposition with another group. This can make the moderates from the group being opposed feel that they have no place to turn — as the radical members of the group they sympathize more with revile them for being too "lukewarm", whilst members of the opposing group tend to lump them in with the radicals.
  • Some more moderate/neutral people in the sjw vs anti-sjw clusterfuck have grown to see both sides as the same. Thatís probably as much that will be said on that.