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MODERATE … mäd(ə)rət

noun

  1. a person who holds moderate views, especially in politics.

MODERATIONmädəˈrāSH(ə)n

noun
  1. the avoidance of excess or extremes, especially in one’s behavior or political opinions.
  2. Physics … the retardation of neutrons by a moderator.

One of the dangers in Politics is the loss of Moderation. Moderation provides fertile ground for reasonable solutions and compromise. Moderation in political beliefs does not represent an inability to make up one’s mind, nor does it mean one who does not feel strongly about important issues and policies.

I ran into a column What Moderation Means by David Brooks, a conservative columnist at The New York Times, written in October 2012 in the run-up to the Obama-Romney election. Although I do not agree completely with his definition of a Moderate, I found passages that certainly rang true.

  • Moderation is not … just finding the midpoint between two opposing poles and opportunistically planting yourself there.
  • Moderates start with a political vision, but they get it from history books, not philosophy books. That is, a moderate isn’t ultimately committed to an abstract idea.
  • This animating principle doesn’t mean that all Americans think alike. It means that we have a tradition of conflict.
  • Being moderate does not mean being tepid. The best moderates can smash partisan categories and be hard-charging in two directions simultaneously.
  • Moderation is also a distinct ethical disposition. (The Moderate) distrusts passionate intensity and bold simplicity and admires self-restraint, intellectual openness and equipoise.

My issue with Brooks’ definition of Moderate revolves around the moderation of social and political tensions over issues such as inequality, debt and growth.  Largely economic principles certainly wrapped around politics.

This will not necessarily be my approach with this blog. My writings will be geared more towards all political, economic, and social issues where Moderates freely choose positions regardless of whether they be in concert or conflict with the Base elements of their own political party.

Brooks closes his October 2012 column with one very accurate and poignant observation.

There are many moderates in this country, but they have done a terrible job of organizing themselves, building institutions or even organizing around common causes. There are some good history books that describe political moderation … But there are few good manifestoes.

Moderate believers in American values will NEVER organize into a significant political party or organization of their own. It simply is not in their DNA. Moderates by definition are not extreme in their beliefs; but it’s extremism that often drives organization. Extremism provides the heat needed to percolate then harden political will.

(By extremism, I mean strong identification to an ideal or objective that drives concerted efforts, not “extremism” as a soulless, maniacal dedication to a philosophy that – in itself – is extreme.)

Moderates in most cases must be satisfied with the concept that strength comes in numbers, even if those numbers are at times kowtowed by the louder voices on the far off flanks. Moderates need to voice their positions and beliefs. Where there are Moderates in numbers, repeating strong, consistent themes and translating them into statements backed by fact and practical considerations, a groundswell of popular opinion can take root and spread.

My focus here will be to illustrate moderate views of the world order reflected in our most important topics and reviewed in current events.

You can find more personal and mostly lighthearted information and stories at my fun blog Cranky Man’s Lawn.