2005-11-13

Political Moderation

Is there any tenable political position beyond that of the moderate?

Liberals seem to be full of themselves, and egotistic enough to presume that they can tell others what to think/say. They are trying the shape and mold our society into their image. In some cases they move to extreme oppression, in the name of fighting opression. The far far left is worse, embracing purely ideological statements, with no actual grounding in the "real world?", meaning that their solutions, to even existent problems, are not tenable solutions. I even had one tell me that everyone on this planet should ride bicycles, instead of cars. When it comes to social issues, the Left is well-meaning, but misguided. They think that abortion is a-okay, that affirmative action is an obvious choice. Both of these views are morally ambiguous, and possibly harmful to society as a whole. If you examine both of these views, you will find that they are ideologically opposed to each other. The issue of abortion is often presented as "a woman's right to choose", where affirmative action can be thought as a controlled and systematic method of weighting peoples freedom and rights (ditto with the anti-smokers). Most liberals can give a knee-jerk response to these questions, but never delve into the deeper levels of reasoning and effect involved with them.

Over on the Right we find the same problem. They are more worried about economic issues, than human issues, their ideological philosophy is flawed. They reason that a strong economy will make everyone okay, where this philosophy actually harms the average American. Their side of the spectrum is the most diverse though, with two general levels of conservatism, the top members of the party (the rich), and the lay American (the plebes). The Plebe portion are in it for America (where most Liberals seem to be anti-patriotic), for God, and for a return to a moral and structured society. The upper echelons of the Right don't seem to have any qualms about pulling on these strings, either. I think most of them actually believe in the core, non-economic, tenets, but it also seems that there is a fair amount of using patriotism, and moral concerns to control the balance of power.

It is hard to get a clear view of each side, both in the fact that one is forced to be overly general, and in that neither side is truly represented. Each side misrepresents the other side, making them seem far worse than they actually are. And each side tries to present a morally God-like public stance, that they can do no wrong, and that to go against them would be akin to Satanism. They both can't be correct, so the solution must lie somewhere in the middle. On needs to take a hermeneutic approach to their claims, reading both, and trying to find the middle, to interpret their positions in the context of the other. Each statement they posit, must be individually weighed, and accepted or rejected.

By weighed I mean philosophically, and not in line with any political orientation. The problem is that people want to identify with the side they like, and thus use it as a crutch so they don't have to go through the work of coming to a personal, and rational, ideology. This is not a bad thing, but it seems that both parties have been taken over by wackos. On the Right we have the Neo-Conservatives and Christian Extremists. On the left we have the extreme environmentalists, the extreme feminists, and all of the other really loud special interest groups who stopped fighting for a real reason long ago, and now are just doing an exercise in egotism. These extreme views have poisoned the political waters, not by the fact that they are overly prevalent, but in the fact that they are the loudest, and thus the most accessible views.

As an aside, does anyone know the origin of the term "the tyranny of the masses", a quick Googling revealed nothing, but it was most directly used with Tocqueville?

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2 comments:

lneely said...

Nice article! (Stumbled)

Rabih said...

Try searching for tyranny of the majority, as that's the phrasing the concept usually follows. Tocqueville popularized it - if it's even correct to suggest it is popular - when he highlighted it as a problem with democracy. But Plato also suggested that a pure democracy, one ruled by the common people would also lead to a tyranny since they would elect to take away from the rich to enrich themselves. I think it's fair to say that in a pure democracy it would be nearly impossible to avoid the issue, which is why a more thoughtful design of state institutions, as appreciated in the american republican system (as in republicanism), is necessary to enable popular rule while protecting against the ills inherent in democracy.