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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Centrist

The following was posted by David DuBay on the Rise of the Center under the title of Where Liberals and Conservatives Agree with the American Majority in the Center: Meet Moderate America. I agree with the theme and most of the content.

Recently the New York Times published a series on what the Right gets right, and what the Left gets right. What stands out is that the typical partisan line that the other side is wrong about everything causes us to miss out on some important ideas. It’s in the best of both worlds that we meet moderate America.
The political center isn’t a flabby middle that stands only for compromise without any firm convictions. Instead, moderates support both individual and economic freedom, instead of one but not the other. Like conservatives, moderates support free enterprise and fiscal responsibility. And like liberals, moderates support personal freedom.

Sol's Unscientific Bell Curve of the American Political Spectrum
Moderates are pro-capitalism but also understand that some regulation and environmental protection is necessary. Regulations, though, should be simplified with unnecessary and inefficient regulations eliminated. Balancing the budget is important, but moderates recognize that tax cuts increase the deficit. Tax cuts aren’t really the issue though – we need to simplify the tax code.
Moderates are not knee jerk anti-government because government does play an essential role, but power should be decentralized to the extent possible. This means limiting the role of the federal government and giving states greater flexibility. And it means the US should stop being the world’s police force.
Like liberals, moderates understand that poverty is systemic. And although individual responsibility is primary, society has a responsibility to the vulnerable (children, the elderly, and the disabled). Programs for those in need often create dependency, but instead of ending these programs they should be redesigned and simplified based on behavioral economic research to reduce dependency.
Moderates also support individual liberty, which at times is controversial. Gay marriage isn’t viewed as a moderate position, but the march toward equal rights in American history is undeniable. Your freedom to live your life as you choose is what America is all about, and this includes your constitutional right to own a gun. So personal freedom is not strictly a liberal or conservative issue, but moderates are more consistent on the matter.
Finally, there’s the question of whether moderates should create a new political party. I’d vote no. Third parties have a poor track record. And besides, it’s partisan politics that creates gridlock in Washington, and a third party would only contribute to that. There are moderates among both Republicans and Democrats, and especially among independent voters. Moderates need a bigger voice within the two major parties, and this will require directly confronting the party leadership. And moderates will continue to advocate for issues and run for office without the support of a political party.

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