Monday, August 27, 2012

Centrism: Continuing the Discussion

More on centrism (I'm continuing here the discussion of the topic at this site last week):

One of the more instructive discussions of the topic I've run across is this analysis by traxus4420 at the now-defunct American Strangers blog.  Traxus writes,

‘Centrism’ is rather confusing as a political position. Vague and relative as they are, terms like ‘leftist,’ ‘liberal,’ ‘conservative’ denote a set of core principles that can be upheld or challenged. I, at least, have always been confused by what it’s supposed to mean. After devoting a bit of thought to the question, I’ve decided I was right the first time: centrism is fundamentally incoherent. It’s also much worse.


On one level, centrism should be taken at its word: it is neither right nor left, because these equal and opposite poles are its inventions. It has no formal dogma, because dogma is also its invention. Centrism is about just what it says it is: finding the center, or figuring out where the power is in any given situation and sticking to it. Since power is what relates otherwise disparate situations, centrism has a broadly ‘progressive’ teleology (in the sense of expansion) and a broadly conservative strategy (in the sense of conservation of power). The closest term of comparison is ‘opportunism.’

Figuring out where the power is in any given situation and sticking to it: I intend to keep those words in mind as I listen to Rev. Sam Rodriguez, one of the primary architects of the faith-based "common ground" initiative in beltway circles, give the opening blessing to the GOP convention tomorrow.  Along with other faith-based centrists in D.C., Rodriguez has spent countless hours in recent years trying to force the Democratic party to dance to his conservative faith-based tune on the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage, while claiming to represent "liberal" "working-class" Christian values.

And now he's blessing the Republican national convention.

It's almost as if all those faith-based centrists who claim to be liberals have never been anything but Trojan-horse powerbrokers acting in the interest of the powerful GOP within the Democratic party all these years, isn't it?  Sometimes it's refreshing to see them come out of the closet and declare who they've been all along, and what they've been after all along.

Since putting oneself in the "objective" "centrist" neither-right-nor-left powerbrokering position is surely all about power in the final analysis . . . . About having and enjoying and wielding it, as you declare who's fit to be in the center and who needs to be cast into outer darkness . . . .

The graphic is from a Matt Cantor article about Paul Ryan at Newser.

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