Sunday, January 21, 2007

Why I Hate Moderates

The title sounds harsh, and, well, it is. But first, let me say that I don't dislike a position simply for being moderate. That is not the point of this entry. There are many instances where I would be considered "moderate". The issue I have is with people who consider being moderate as a somehow more rational or reasonable mode of being than either side of the issue.

The reason is simply this -- most moderates think of being "moderate" as a solution to extremism. But in fact, if you are intentionally trying to be "moderate", then in fact you are just serving two groups of extremists rather than one. The idea that there are just two sides to an issue is absurd anyway. So by being "moderate" you are simply abdigating your responsibility to make an informed choice and instead just choosing the middle of two essentially arbitrary sides.

This is also an issue I have with the idea of pragmatism that people like Bill O'Reilly advocate. If you are being "pragmatic" and not "ideological", you are contradicting yourself. Pragmatic is only pragmatic towards a specific end. And ends are ideological. If you are being pragmatic without an ideology, then you are either (a) being arbitrary, (b) falsely pretending to be non-ideological, or (c) serving an ideology that you aren't aware of. I find (c) to be both the most common and the most dangerous, because you are unable to see your ideologies and just take them as assumed givens.

Now, there is another mode of being which is sometimes taken for being "moderate" when in fact it isn't, and that is "peacemaking" (this term is fairly arbitrary, but it's the best I could come up with). Finding common ground between two parties, or helping communication between parties is neither pragmatic nor moderate. It is a facilitating mode. However, peacemaking itself cannot make decisions -- it simply helps other parties decide choices that suit them. As soon as a peacemaker persues their own independent solutions (which doesn't necessarily mean they are no longer peacemaking) they are being ideological.

Again, I don't want anyone to be confused. If you happen to fall into a moderate position (or many moderate positions) because that is what you really think, this post is not an attack on you. However, if you are being "moderate" thinking that it is a peacemaking role or is the solution to extremism, then you are even more controlled by extremists than even the extreme positions. And this is an especially dangerous position as far as being open to manipulation, because in fact you are explicitly giving yourself open to manipulation by two sides. And, because you are being "moderate" presumably between two sides, the two sides you are probably "moderate" between are those most public and pronounced. And how does a view get to be public and pronounced? That's right -- the media. So, by being moderate, you are basically telling the media to tell you what to believe. Whatever two sides they pick, you will be at the center. So, to manipulate you, all they have to do is move each side until they have you doing exactly what they want.

So, don't be moderate. Think for yourself.