1. the quality of being moderate; restraint; avoidance of extremes or excesses; temperance.
4. in moderation, without excess; moderately; temperately: to drink in moderation.
Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved February 21, 2011, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/moderation
I propose a moment of silence for the concept of moderation (using definitions 1 and 4 above). Because it is dead. Stick a fork in it, it’s done.
One of my favorite quotes from Greek mythology comes from Apollo. When challenged by Ares on his stance on moderation, Apollo said, “I preach moderation in all things, including moderation.”
Our society and our political system has become overwhelmed by extremist viewpoints. Even centrists have become extremists, it seems. However, it is important to note that the definition of “centrism” has also been changed, so who knows what a real centrist believes anymore; not even the Audubon Society has spotted one in quite a while.
Take a look at some of the stances and issues that have been advanced lately.
- A “Ground Zero mosque” which is not a mosque and is several blocks away from Ground Zero (in fact, there are strip clubs that are closer).
- An “activist” who changes video or sets up fake situations to “expose fraud” in non-profit organizations.
- Television personalities who accuse philanthropists of being Nazi collaborators and attempting to instill communism in all national governments.
- Other commentators accusing the Republican party of advocating slave trafficking.
- An alleged liberal blogging site accused of using bloggers as “slave labor”, despite the fact that most bloggers are not paid, and most of the bloggers in question are posting one or two blogs per month. (I say alleged because the juries on both sides seem to be in dispute as to which side of the spectrum the website belongs on)
- Conservatives accusing the United Kingdom of being socialists because they formerly offered college education tuition-free and liberals accusing the same government of being fascist and abusive because the UK now “forces” students to pay tuition.
Oops. Did I say “spectrum”? Do we actually have a “spectrum” of viewpoints in this country anymore?
No, as a matter of fact, we don’t. We do not have a continuous spectrum of viewpoints. What we have is rays of color filtering dimly through a screen.
What I see happening is any dissent with any stated fact or opinion results in the speaker being accused of being on the other side of the entire issue.
For example, when a Democrat politician votes with the “other side”, he or she is accused of being a Republican or, worse yet, a Blue Dog Democrat. It does not matter if there were valid reasons for the Democrat’s stance on the subject (folks at home might have asked him or her to vote that way, it would benefit the people in his or her home district, or even that they believed – right or wrong – the measure would benefit a larger constituency).
Nope. It is now the politics of “conform or be cast out”.
Really? Do you really want to go with that?
In a recent discussion on the Wisconsin union issue, a person wrote about an early interaction with a union and their disaffection over the results of that interaction. Comments were made in support of the person eventually coming to understand the good that unions do. Some comments were made expressing similar dissatisfaction, and a majority of them were met with the “YFG” type response (“You Effing Bastard”).
Are unions good? I believe they are, despite the opinions of some people regarding what my “real” opinion might be. Are they perfect? Hell, no. Any top-heavy organization is not perfect. Abuses occur. Some abuses are documented and reported (and quickly dismissed as “isolated events”).
Are unions universally reprehensible? Is this even a serious question? I seriously doubt any organization is completely staffed and populated by 100%, bona fide, evil dictators masquerading as circus clowns. There have been anecdotes of Gestapo officers doing kind things for elderly neighbors and cute puppies. I’m sure there are anecdotes of Saddam Hussein doing something nice for a little boy or girl he saw by the side of the road one day (and probably not having their teacher shot for giving the child a B on an assignment).
Those previous two sentences now entitle everyone on this site, everyone on the Internet, in the US, on the planet, and on this entire plane of existence the right to call me a sleeper agent for the Gestapo who funneled drugs and biological weapons to Saddam Hussein.
Yep. And I’m a birther too, obviously.
That is what passes for discourse in this country.
Nobody on the other side has a right to any fact or opinion that might agree in part with the other party’s platform (even if they don’t have a party). Nobody on our side has a right to agree with anything the other side has to say. Nobody on either side has a right to say the words “yes, but”. Nobody else has the right to say “I agree with the issue, but have concerns about this part.”
It is hilarious to note, however, that the same people, in every stripe of our now-motley spectrum, are now calling people within the other sections of the subdivided spectrum “Nazis”, while expecting people within their own subdivision to march goose-step toward a particular platform.
Part of the problem is that people suddenly seem to want more passion than reason from candidates and spokespeople. If you’re yelling, it means you’re more passionate. You really believe in the issue.
It’s really hard to maintain a loud argument when one is basically yelling, “I think the real solution requires a compromise between extreme poles of this argument!”
After a while, one just looks like a doofus.
The root cause of this new focus could be that people got tired of deadpan, boring delivery of speeches. When Ben Stern is reciting economic figures on a national broadcast that is pre-empting re-runs of “All in the Family”, people are going to experience a certain ennui with the subject. Follow that up with someone screaming the figures have been falsified with Communist sympathizers from the planet Venus, who want to emasculate every American male, and people are going to agree just to keep him talking, just for the entertainment value.
Remember the main complaint about Al Gore during the first Clinton campaign? “He’s boring.”
Not only is moderation a terrible thing (requiring years of electroshock therapy and waterboarding), but so is “boring”.
I know a lot of teenagers who say adults are “boring”. The global genocide against those people old enough to vote is coming. Mark my words.
Maybe that’s why Fox News (or as I call it, Fasc Noise) has higher ratings than the news-oriented programs: they yell and scream a lot, and the news is “boring”. But hey, wait a few minutes and Britney, Paris, Lindsey, and Mad Max will be on. Go to the kitchen during the weather, because that isn’t relevant to anyone.
I have to admit that a perverse side of me is looking forward to this little phenomenon spreading. When we get to the point where cities are promoting crime to make it more exciting (so they don’t get bombed for being boring, as part of the Federal Government’s Urban Revitalization Program), I’m going to move to San Francisco. After all, San Francisco has “We Built This City on Rock and Roll”, while most cities were built to the tune of a slow waltz, or maybe the Charleston, so I should be safe, at least until the Hip Hop Wars begin.