Posted by Bob Lord
I’ve said this before -- I bristle at empty platitudes. One we hear all the time is how our discourse is too polarized and how we need politicians to move to the center, with the clear implication that splitting the difference between the two “poles” is definitively the place to be. And, so, over the past three decades, as the entire spectrum on economic issues moved further and further right, with the perceived center moving right along, what used to be considered “fringe” right became center. Because center is presumptively the ideal place to be, as the spectrum moves over time, wacko becomes eminently sane.
And sane becomes wacko. Check out this link to a short piece in yesterday’s Guardian (it‘s a quick read):
I conservative friend of mine used to joke how he was in the middle of the road where the road is supposed to be. I never agreed with his self-description. To me, he usually was somewhere in a ditch a couple hundred yards of where the right edge of the road was supposed to be. But his implicit argument and the expression he used to express it were spot on. Being in the middle of the road (i.e., the political center), has no inherent value. At one time, people in the middle of the road believed blacks shouldn’t be allowed to marry whites. People in the middle of the road just a few years ago thought gays shouldn’t serve openly in the military.
So, if you ever feel compelled to move to the center, don’t succumb to the pressure of an empty platitude. Figure out where the road is supposed to be, and stand right in the middle.