Define “Moderate”

Hello, and welcome to my blog.

In this space, I intend to discuss some of the most important political issues of the day from a moderate mindset. Why have I chosen the moderate standpoint? Well, for one thing, that’s how I tend to define my own views, so it would be disingenuous for me to take any other stance. But for another, I think our country’s two-party mentality led to so much vitriol and spite that our federal government is incapable of accomplishing anything–which is incredibly frustrating to watch. I hope to show that if people were a little open-minded and, perhaps, willing to compromise–and of course, if our politicians prioritized the well-being of our nation over their petty political aspirations–our political system could repair itself and become functional once more.

I hope.

So, what exactly is a moderate? It’s not a person who simply stands in the middle of the political spectrum and refuses to take a stance on any contentious issue. (That’s called being ignorant, or cowardly.) Plenty of moderates have strong views on topics–I know I certainly do.

I think the main criterion for being a moderate is that even if you affiliate with a party (which is okay), you have to consider each of the main political issues in our country (education, taxation, foreign policy, etc.) and follow your own conscience on that issue, regardless of your party’s stance. To me, this sort of honest reflection is a necessary, but not sufficient, criterion for being a moderate. (After all, you could listen with an open mind to all the arguments on all the topics of the day and still find that you side with one party’s agenda about 80% or more of the time. In that case, you probably couldn’t call yourself a moderate, just a particularly thoughtful partisan, which is also fine.)

Obviously, this means that moderates can have incredibly disparate views, even from one another. One moderate might be fiscally conservative but socially liberal, while the other is fiscally liberal and socially conservative. Without a single view in common, they could still go by the same title of moderate. Even if they never agree with each other, the fact that they are open-minded enough to diverge from party lines means that they might be capable of having a really thoughtful and interesting debate with one another–which is cool, since debate is the basis of a strong democracy.

Essentially, if you happen to think that both parties may be right on certain issues but neither is anywhere near figuring out a plausible vision for our country’s future, then congratulations: you’re a moderate.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a little bit right of center: like most of my generation, I’m quite socially liberal, but on matters fiscal and foreign, I often veer right. In future posts, I hope to explain why on an issue-by-issue basis.

Comments are welcome, particularly if you want to enjoy debating (which I think helps people to refine their thinking and create solutions.)

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2 thoughts on “Define “Moderate”

  1. As a general philosophy–and with obvious exceptions, such as taxation–I tend to think that anything that the government do, the private sector can do better. I favor school choice, for example (and will probably do a blog on the subject), as well as smaller federal budgets (of course, some Republicans have virtually renounced fiscal responsibility, but in the past, it was the party of less government spending.) Also, although I wouldn’t call myself a hawk, I favor a bold defense program, including U.S. intervention when necessary. (I may need to do more research before I tackle the minefield of Syria in a blog post, though–as I see it, there could be a lot to gain from a strategic attack, but there could also be a lot to lose.)

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