An example of our mania for creating categories and then insisting that everything fit into them is the present debate over how terrorists should be treated.
The categories are criminal and prisoner of war, and 99% of the argument focuses around which of these two groups terrorists should be slotted into.
Almost nobody bothers to even consider the possibility that dealing with terrorists effectively might require creating a new category.
Another example is the (mostly over now) argument about the Iraq War. Liberals claimed it was a Vietnam quagmire, conservatives, or at least neo-cons, saw it as WWII if appeasement hadn’t been implemented. Almost nobody was willing to consider that it wasn’t either of these.
Isn’t that the nature of human inquiry? We categorize things from the familiar forward. It’s one of the exciting things about the English language American’s speak. It’s dynamic enough and flexible enough to change.