The notion of being a “moderate” or a “centrist” or an “Independent” is certainly appealing. It suggests that there are two extremes, and that the right answer is somewhere in the middle. That might be so if we are talking about generalized “extremes.” But when we’re talking about specific political ideology and policy and parties in the United States today, the dogma of centrism elides (purposefully?) an important point — the poles of political discourse are not on extremes any more at all. The Democrats have moved to the right, and the Republicans have moved further right, over the last several decades. The “middle” between Dems and Republicans, in today’s political climate, is not in the center. It’s on the right.
If someone says they are a moderate, centrist, independent, certainly take them at their word — but find out what their values are. In the end it ISN’T about labels — it’s about the ideas and the policy. But when “no labels” and centrism and the “rational middle” are used to wave away ideas as “too extreme”, the supposedly rational and more mature position hinders actual, substantive political/policy debate and discussion.
Some viewing (2009):
- Democrats Have Moved to the Right, Not the Left | Mother Jones – http://bit.ly/1eJVjOX
- Political Scientist: Republicans Most Conservative They’ve Been In 100 Years : NPR – http://bit.ly/1fmvPcb
- Bill Maher: Democrats Have Moved To The Right And The Right Has Moved Into A Mental Hospital (VIDEO) – http://bit.ly/1luQulE
- Christian Science Monitor – America’s big shift right – CSMonitor.com – (July 2011) http://bit.ly/1gDUWwi