Friday, June 24, 2005

The Exalted Middle

I read Whispers in the Loggia every now and then, about twice a week. There is a reason I can't read him more often. Even though I suspect he's more on my side of things on the political spectrum, I can't stand his self-righteous exalted middle stance (i.e, the conservatives say this, the liberals say that, but I say . . .). But it appears it's not only me. This was in his comment box today:

I doubt I am the only one getting rather sick of your pretended "even handedness" between the "cons" (i.e. orthodox Catholics) and radical liberals (i.e. heterodox), positinioning yourself (a moderate liberal) in medio ecclesia.

I have no problem at all with moderates. I have a problem with the notion that moderates are superior because they are free from the biases and passions that characterize each side. I once heard a reporter say that "the average between the truth and a lie is a lie." Moderation as an a priori principle regardless of the issue is useless. Everyone can claim to be moderate and everyone can be said to be one side or the other, it is simply perspective.

I'm a firm believer in conviction. Wherever your convictions place you is where you are. If it is in the middle then so be it. If on the left or right, or far left or far-right, so be it. This was what John Henry Newman discovered as an Anglican. Prior to his conversion to Catholicism, he held the Via Media principle, the middle way. This, until in reflecting on history, he realized that the moderate stance in the Arian heresy would have been Semi-Arianism, which was a heresy. You can multiply the examples.

Just a pet peeve, soap box thing. I just get tired of the conservatives saying their thing and the liberals saying their thing. I'm just glad that I'm above the partisanship and able to see both sides clearly unlike the liberals and conservatives.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

" I'm just glad that I'm above the partisanship and able to see both sides clearly unlike the liberals and conservatives."

Um, you're joking, right? You, Mr. Bush-hater. You, Mr. Kerry-supporter. Above the partisanship? Thanks for the laugh, Ono.

David B

1:39 PM  
Blogger Ono said...

I'm extremely balanced and even-handed . . . everyone else is wrong!!:)

11:18 PM  
Blogger Steve Bogner said...

OK Mr Humility....

Maybe it's just that we moderates (that would include ME) can't make up our minds? Or is it that we are just realistic enough to know that cooperation and compromise are required in the real world? Maybe it's the recognition that there's more than one acceptable way to see or approach an issue? I don't know... I can't decide...

11:26 AM  
Blogger Ono said...

Actually, I am quite renowned for my humility.

Compromise and pragmatism speak to good point. I know, Steve, that you don't compromise on your principles, what you believe to be right, but you seek ways to reach out and communicate with others of differing viewpoints. I think that is a great thing and slightly different than what I am talking about.

I think my point is that the moderate position is not the a priori reasonable position. It could be the most reasonable position in many instances and maybe not.

Also, everyone is basically a mix of opinions, so liberal, conservative, etc, never neatly fit. Thus, what when the labels of conservative and liberals are applied, the image of an unthinking parrot is evoked. (While I think that is true on the Right, on the Left we are far more reasonable and thoughtful than that.) Moderates are generally given the deference as independent thinkers, while liberals or conservatives are considered essentially as puppets. (Again, this is true of the Right, but not of the Left.)

Also, I think I'm reacting to the notion that there is a single correct answer or way of doing things. I tend to believe that truth has a very strong subjective component to it and even if you are certain of your position, that shouldn't proscribe the legitimate certitude of another who is using a different approach.

Basically, I just want someone to agree with me that the Right is wrong and that we on the Left should be accorded as much intellectual deference as the moderates get.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Basically, I just want someone to agree with me that the Right is wrong and that we on the Left should be accorded as much intellectual deference as the moderates get."

Well, no doubt you will be able to find someone that agrees with you that the Right is wrong, especially on your liberal blog. Now, it must be noted that agreement with your premise doesn't make it so.

Now, as to this "intellectual deference" that moderates get, I don't think the moderates even deserve such. At least the left have strongly held beliefs, no matter how much I disagree with most of it. Moderates are those who have no strongly held convictions. Just sitting on the fence.

David B

11:03 PM  
Blogger Ono said...

Moderates are not "just sitting on the fence." Conviction is often the reason for their position. The poles move all the time, so it's not like we are dealing with absolute truths or principles at either end and the middle lacks truth and principle.

As I said in my post, your conviction could give you a moderate stance. My beef is first the notion that anyone is or can be free from bias. Everyone has their bias and angles, so moderates are not free from those. Secondly, that the moderate approach is by default, the "reasonable" position, as opposed to those at the ends.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Steve Bogner said...

A strongly held belief doesn't have to be a liberal or a conservative one. Moderates certainly do have convictions - just not to the same extreme as liberals or conservatives.

I see all this as a spectrum. We each have a portfolio of convictions, stances, beliefs, values and so on. The overall image of the portfolio may range from liberal to conservative. Moderates are in the middle - just another point on the continuum.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


"Moderates are in the middle - just another point on the continuum."

Neither hot nor cold. Would the moderate position be the lukewarm one? It's kind of like the "undecided voters" of the last presidedential election. There was a vast difference between President Bush and John Kerry. What were they waiting for? Bush to nuke an ally? Kerry to trash U.S. troops? (I mean, our current troops, not the ones he trashed when he came back from Vietnam.)

David B

David B

5:40 PM  
Blogger Steve Bogner said...

Yes, the moderate position would be lukewarm, we use both faucets instead of only one. It's a mix of hot and cold positions, not apathy or indecisive positions.

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


"Yes, the moderate position would be lukewarm,"

Well, you know what Jesus said about being lukewarm. ;-)

David B.

12:36 AM  

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