Monday, January 28, 2008

What makes one a "Moderate?"

I like to say that I'm a "Moderate" when it comes to politics. But what does that mean? That I'm not in any political party? That I generally despise the two primary parties? That my positions are exactly halfway between the two parties? Well, no, it can't be that, because they really aren't. Is it that some of my positions are similar to one party and some are similar to another? Well, maybe, though some days I think my positions are far away from both parties - at least what they really do (as opposed to what they claim they stand for, like the usual bullshit about Republicans being for "small government" when they actually completely blow away the Democrats when it comes to being for "big huge overpowering government in every nook and cranny of your life").

I like to think I'm a moderate because I like to find the facts and find out what works rather than starting at an ideology or a party and working backwards (like the party hacks and pundits seem to do). I also am intellectually honest and consistent in my positions. Unlike the political parties.

For instance, if you talk to a GOPer, you will find out that juries are magically perfect, are beyond any sort of manipulation by plaintiff's lawyers, and never make mistakes, and if they do make mistakes, judges are perfect at catching them. Or rather, you find this when the discussion is about capital punishment and the plaintiff is the state prosecutor. On the other hand, if it is about torts, then suddenly juries are easily manipulated by slick plaintiff's lawyers, judges can't be trusted, and so we have to legislate away the mere possibility that a case could ever even get before a judge. This all despite the fact that the juries in question all come from the same pool of people and the judges are all the same judges.

For some on the left, the reverse is true, though not, from what I've seen, to the extreme it is with the GOP. But in any case, to be logically consistent and intellectually honest, one would have to have a consistent view of judges, juries, and the legal system.

For me, I know juries and judges aren't perfect, but the system in place usually works out ok. There are problems with prosecutors having too much power and judges being too ideological (usually if they are GOP judges, who are selected solely for ideological purity and a young age at the federal level). And these problems affect all trials, not just civil or criminal. And they need to be addressed. But the starting point needs to be reality, not some ideological construct.

And I see ideology as preventing any examination of reality because, as I've seen again and again, the ideological will denial reality til the end of time if there is even a hint that reality would conflict with their ideological agenda. So we're stuck with the bullshit.

And so I call myself a moderate. Did I really explain what that means? I don't know. I will probably think of other examples soon. (Also one needs to beware the ideologues who pretend to be "moderate" as just another way to foist their ideology on the unsuspecting).

Perhaps another good synonym for moderate is "reasonable." I've said before that "there are no battle cries for moderates." Maybe "be reasonable" is a good one.

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