Centrism: The Path to Dystopia

Centrism is the habit of seeking compromise between opposing positions. It is the expression of the centrist’s personality, not a political philosophy. (I speak from personal experience with a self-proclaimed centrist who is chameleon-like in his willingness to adapt to his political environment — integrity be damned.)

Centrism fails because it doesn’t offer a concrete position to which one might adhere. Centrism is nothing but a reluctance or refusal to choose between concrete positions. A centrist has no principles to offer, unless you think of indecision and conflict avoidance as principles. But they are in fact the personality traits that underlie centrism.

Conflict is unavoidable — at least when it comes to political conflict that involves the foundational principles of governance. There are only two foundational principles that are viable in the long run: conservatism of temperament and left-statism (see this). Conservatism of temperament underlies ideological conservatism, which propounds government that is limited to the defense of life, liberty, and property — where liberty is negative liberty, the right to be left alone.

Left-statism is also a matter of temperament. As I say here,

If there is a distinction between “liberalism”, “progressivism”, and left-statism, it is one of attitude rather than aims. Many a “liberal” and “progressive” wants things that require oppressive state control, but is loath to admit the truth that oppressive state control is required to have such things. These naifs want to believe the impossible: that the accomplishment of the “progressive” agenda is compatible with the preservation of liberty. The left-statist simply doesn’t care about liberty; the accomplishment of the left-statist agenda is the end that justifies any and all means. Those “liberals” and “progressives” who aren’t left-statists by attitude are merely useful idiots to hard-core, Lenin-like left-statists.

So in the battle between conservatism and left-statism, the centrist abets left-statism by encouraging compromises that allow it to creep into governance step by step. As the Chinese proverb says, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. All it takes to achieve left-statist aims is to keep moving toward them as centrists clear the way by giving in, a foot at a time.

Political centrists include any Republican who has or would collaborate with Democrats on any matter that led or will lead to the further empowerment and aggrandizement of the central government. Religious centrists include any Catholic cleric who would or does administer Holy Communion to a “pro-choice” politician. Judicial centrists include any justice of the U.S. Supreme Court who rescues a statist policy (e.g., John Roberts’s rescue of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate by calling a penalty a tax). I am sure that you can add to that list.

There is plenty of centrism around. But the only excusable centrism is the kind that is practiced out of politeness, to avoid pointless conflicts (e.g., Thanksgiving dinner arguments about politics and football). The rest of it is just weakness in the face of left-statism, weakness that is not and will not be rewarded by favors from left-statists when they prevail.

To quote Karl Popper:

If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.

The defense of toleration may well require something that centrists cannot contemplate: a violent showdown with leftists.


Related reading:

Roger L. Simon, “How ‘Woke’ May Be Leading Us to Civil War“, The Epoch Times, May 9, 2011

“Tyler Durden”, “The American Cyber Stasi Will Suppress All Digital Dissent in Biden’s Dystopia“, ZeroHedge, May 11, 2011

Conservatism vs. Extremism

Conservatism, properly understood, is the polar opposite of extremism. Conservatism is the practice of observing and defending those time-tested social norms that bind people through mutual trust, respect, and forbearance. Extremism is the destruction of those norms by using the vast power of the state and the academic-media-information technology complex.

Clinton the Conspirator

Bill Clinton is back on the job. Thanks to a large assist from CNN, Clinton is once again painting those who oppose oppressive government as potentially violent extremists in the mold of Timothy McVeigh. Byron York has this take on Clinton’s latest foray into fear-mongering:

With the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing Monday, former President Bill Clinton is playing a starring role in the liberal effort to draw what the New York Times calls “parallels between the antigovernment tone that preceded that devastating attack and the political tumult of today.” The short version of the narrative is: Today’s Tea Partiers are tomorrow’s right-wing bombers. . . .

At a White House meeting four days [after the bombing], [Dick] Morris presented Clinton with a comeback strategy based on his polling.  Morris prepared an extensive agenda for the session, a copy of which he would include in the paperback version of his 1999 memoir, Behind the Oval Office.  This is how the April 27 agenda began:

AFTERMATH OF OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING

A. Temporary gain: boost in ratings — here today, gone tomorrow

B. More permanent gain: Improvements in character/personality attributes — remedies weakness, incompetence, ineffectiveness found in recent poll

C. Permanent possible gain: sets up Extremist Issue vs. Republicans . . .

It was a political strategy crafted while rescue and recovery efforts were still underway in Oklahoma City.  And it worked better than Clinton or Morris could have predicted.  In the months after the bombing, Clinton regained the upper hand over Republicans, eventually winning battles over issues far removed from the attack.  The next year, 1996, he went on to re-election.  None of that might have happened had Clinton, along with Morris, not found a way to wring as much political advantage as possible out of the deaths in Oklahoma City.  And that is the story you’re not hearing in all the anniversary discussions.

And here is Debra J. Saunders:

Clinton wrote that while criticism is “part of the lifeblood of democracy … we should remember that there is a big difference between criticizing a policy or a politician and demonizing the government that guarantees our freedom and public servants who enforce our laws.”

What I want to know is: Other than the twisted McVeigh and company, who is not clear on this difference? Does Clinton think his all his critics are stupid, or is he playing stupid?

But wait, there’s more. Clinton continued, “We must all assume responsibility for our words and actions before they enter a vast echo chamber and reach those both serious and delirious, connected and unhinged.”

Think about that for a minute: If anyone were to cast blame for the Fort Hood shootings that left 13 dead, or any other attacks within American military bases, on the antiwar movement, then that assertion would be followed by howls of outrage, and deservedly so. It would be absurd to suggest that opposition to the war be misconstrued as promoting violence against U.S. troops.

Yet somehow arguing against President Obama’s health care plan can be construed as practically an incitement to violence.

It all boils down to this: Clinton spearheads a left-wing conspiracy to discredit Americans who legitimately protest the unconstitutional and fiscally destructive acts of the federal government. One of the conspiracy’s tactics is to charge that Tea-Partiers and other critics of Barack Obama’s policies are “racist” — as if Obama’s policies weren’t, in and of themselves, deserving of opprobrium. (See, for example, the decidedly non-racist “Contract from America,” which reflects the true concerns of the Tea-Partiers and millions of silent Americans who are with them in spirit.)

Clinton’s moral standing is on a par with Teddy Kennedy’s. That is to say, Clinton has no moral standing. (A small, non-sexual sample of Clinton’s morality can be found in the use of CS gas against the 25 children who were present in the Branch Davidian compound at Waco.)  To call Clinton a snake would be an insult to snakes.