You know, I’m growing a little weary of moderates and centrists, who feel themselves to be so above the partisanship that afflicts the rest of us. From their standpoint — so conspicuously removed from the theological and political sty in which the rest of us wallow–the “left” and the “right” are merely dupes of liberal and conservative overlords. Whereas, the moderates and centrists see through all the parochial agendas the rest of us are just too simple to perceive. This heroic cast of self-justifiers glides through life, unburdened by a need to take a stand on anything — except on what they believe is the meritoriously self-evident issue of not taking stands.
One can sum up their orthodoxy, simply: Nuanced or not, there is no issue that one cannot cleave down the middle. As a result, two halves reveal themselves that correspondingly (and by definition) miss the truth. One can easily find them, both, equidistant from both poles.
Consequently, the only cause over which it is worth getting exercised is getting exercised over causes. Any conviction, on this account, must take a back seat to the primary one, which is that no one should hold any conviction more strongly than that of no conviction is worth holding, strongly.
Actually, it is somewhat understandable. Staying so decidedly in the center is the most convenient place. Ultimately, it demands no real action. Staying in the middle requires not much more than passing casual judgment on those convinced that some action or another is necessary. Moreover, it has the added virtue of making one look wise, since, by its own definition, it possesses the only real wisdom, which is that the truth of any issue cannot wholly exist on either the left or the right.
But here’s the thing: While those on the left or the right are, obviously, beholden to narrative structures that offer views of the world from particular perspectives, those in the center are, too. The difference, however, is that those committed to life in the center, as an end in itself, are the least likely to recognize the debt they owe and the masters they serve.
A version of this post was previously published at Medium.com on December 12, 2015, and is republished here with permission from the author.
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