19 October 2003
All things in immoderation
[N]obody with a well-developed political ideology is a moderate. By definition, if you are liberal, conservative, libertarian, socialist, communist, Enviro-wacko, batshit neocon, or whatever the hell Pat Buchanan and Bob Novak are (paleo-pseudo-con?), you cannot be moderate. George Bush isn't moderate. Nor is Colin Powell, Janet Reno, Howard Dean, Glenn Reynolds, Megan McArdle, or Kevin Drum. Nor am I.
(Links added by me.) I suppose I qualify as None of the Above, but that qualifies me as, well, nothing:
Most Americans and most people the world over, in fact don't have consistent, ideological belief systems. The absence of those belief systems makes them moderate, because they just react to whatever's going on in the political ether; if you're lucky, you might be able to pin their beliefs to some overarching fundamental value ("hard work", "equality", "liberty").
Give me two out of three; I'm definitely for liberty and equality, and violently opposed to hard work. :)
There are only two types of true moderate: people who don't care about politics, and centrist politicians (and this latter class of people generally care less about politics than they care about keeping their jobs I defy you to explain the behavior of Arlen Specter or Olympia Snowe otherwise). Bloggers and New York Times columnists aren't. Anyone who cares enough about politics enough to post several essays a day explicating his or her worldview is not a moderate, and neither is anyone who's taking time away from his academic career to publish two incoherent essays a week in America's flagship newspaper.
I'm usually good for a couple of incoherent pieces a day myself, though I don't have anywhere near the audience of The New York Times.
Still, I have to admit that Chris has me dead to rights. Not that I've ever claimed to have a consistent, ideological belief system extending beyond "This really sucks, you know?"
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First my apologies to Chris for quoting his whole entry, but he might die some day and I don't want......[read more]