The Virtue of Moderation: pI recently read a splendid book by Harry Clor, On Moderation: Defending an Ancient Virtue in a Modern World, whose purpose is to “articulate a coherent, defensible case for moderation as a virtue, the possession and encouragement of which is important for us.” Maybe the best way to begin is to be clear on what [...]/p
If the definition of Moderation is to move slowly but steadily forward towards progress, then I can agree Moderation is a good thing. But if the definition of a Moderate is someone who splits the differences and thats their governing and political philosophy. From two sides, left we'll take half of what you want and right we'll take half of what you want. No matter how those two halves would and come together, then no I don't have much respect for that. Because half of a doesn't always work well with half of b and besides that there are times when you simply have to take stands. Like on civil rights, what would've been the Moderate solution on civil rights, minorities can have their civil and constitutional rights. In the Northeast but not in the South or maybe African Americans can vote in the South but non minority. Employers can fire them because of their race or deny them housing or education because of their race. And besides civil rights was an issue where the solution to it was both Liberal and Conservative that all Americans should be judged. By their character and not race and who they are as people, not by their complexion or racial features.
There are times when Moderation can be a weakness and where it has faults. Take the Vietnam War were the United States took, excuse the language a half ass approach not staying out of it but not doing. What it takes to win the war, when instead had America took a Liberal or Conservative approach. We would've ended up staying out of a civil war and saving 100K American lives there or would've ended. Up winning the war and preserving Democracy in Vietnam and defeating Communism in a big country with a lot. Of room to grow but what we did instead was not do enough to win and not do little enough to lose. And ended up splitting the difference, so of course extremism and the fringes have serious flaws but just because you are on the right or left. Doesn't make you an extremist or part of a fringe, it depends on how far to the left or right you are that determines whether you are an extremist or not.
Moderation at its best in politics is where neither side has enough power to do what they want completely. And need to work with the other side to get things done and govern. But that doesn't mean you split the difference necessarily. Civil rights and the Vietnam War being perfect examples of that, what it means is that you take what's good from one side and combine that with what's good. From the other side and combine it into one package that works and does the job, deficit reduction. Would be an example of that, we need to cut and we need new revenue but we need to do both of those things. In a way that gets the debt and deficit under control without hurting the economy and hurting people. Who absolutely need those services, so you cut things that you don't need to do or don't work. Reform things that you need to make them work better and find new revenue from things and people who can. Afford to pay more for the services that they consume.
But there are also times when Moderation is not the best course of action or not the right thing to do. If one side has all of the power and has the White House and Congress and the votes to get passed. What they want to do and has the best approach to solve those problems. They almost have a responsibility to pass that agenda even if no one from the opposition votes for it. Because thats the best course of action to take, so Moderation has its benefits but it also has its limits as well.