The history of American conservatism has been marked by tensions and competing ideologies.
Journalist and documentary filmmaker The Hoax of Political Centrism It's only because we continue to regard our politics through that horizontal continuum that those who occupy the top rung of the vertical axis, people like Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg, can pretend that they reside in "the middle.
It's not just the media's obsession with the frivolous details of political theater that's to blame. It's also the fact that in American politics today, there remains almost nothing of substance to opine about when it comes to the choice between the two major parties' respective candidates.
When it comes to certain important policy planks, such as abortion, there are huge differences between the two parties that could impact millions of people when it comes to others, such as regulating the financial sector, the differences are cosmetic.
But as Reuters' Chrystia Freeland suggested in a recent columnthe most significant dividing line in American public opinion is no longer between the left and the right. It's between elite and non-elite opinion -- and elite opinion lines up right in the ostensible middle.
Centrism, Freeland contends, is today's elite ideology. And not by coincidence, it's the ideology of both of this year's presidential candidates. Political centrists, such as the educated professionals who most ardently defend Obama and the few Romney true believers whose support for the Republican candidate has ever amounted to more than cynical pragmatismthink about politics in a different way than ideological partisans.
As Freeland notes, they tend to assume that politics, when properly managed, "is a win-win game. They believe that when you take all the silly partisan posturing and fringe lunacy out of the equation for the most pressing issues that face us, pearls of non-partisan wisdom remain, little lodestars for governing the nation.
Their wealthiest representatives gather with their most accomplished intellectuals at events like the World Economic Forum in Davos and last week's Aspen Ideas Festival, which inspired Freeland's observations, and regard themselves and each other as the only adults in sight on the preschool playground of American politics.
If only our political system weren't so polluted by money and ideology, they plead, we could find lasting prosperity and social peace in a new New Deal bargain, updated for a more free market-oriented 21st century.
These are the Digital Age's inheritors of the spirit of the Bull Moose Party, even if their policy agenda is aimed squarely at dismantling some of the signature achievements of the Progressive Era.
Obama's campaign vaguely articulated this vision. But the vision is a fantasy and a hoax. The reality is that there is no America to improve upon through the application of wise and beneficent policymaking; there are only Americans, some of whom will benefit and some of whom will be hindered by government action.
Politics is a contest of interests, with winners and losers, and the moderate middle does not transcend it, no matter how enlightened and disinterested their think tank researchers may be. On health care reform, Freeland observes, if you're uninsured, by and large, you come out a winner.
If you have a great, secure employer-paid plan, to the extent that you may end up subsidizing the cost of covering the formerly uninsured, you're on the minus side of the ledger.
It's a zero-sum game, and, therefore, a controversial issue -- at least to those whose families have a meaningful material stake in the outcome, which would not tend to include the attendees of the Aspen Ideas Festival. An even more instructive example is the budget deficit, whose ramifications, Freeland notes, are hardly apolitical.
More than eight percent of Americans are unemployedwhile the economic risk of the deficit looms largest for an exceedingly small number of upper income earners who may be forced down the line into a higher tax rate to fill the gap.
Yet it's the latter and not the former that dominates the economic agenda of the sensible center and that shapes the ostensibly non-partisan, technocratic policy prescriptions of its journals and think tanks, which include gradually reducing Medicare and Social Security entitlements, partially privatizing public education and accelerating the decline of the power of organized labor.
These are "solutions" that sound merely "practical" only to those who are insulated from their direct impacts. It's a measure of the alienation of these detached centrists from the lived reality of those who are bearing the brunt of the country's economic stagnation that they can advocate so earnestly for austerity and still remain so hopelessly confounded by the polarization of our politics.
As they scratch their heads in wonder at the zany ideas that have gotten hold of the public these days, those whose families' day-to-day lives will be transformed profoundly by the policies they advocate flock to the left and the right, where political leaders, however ignorant or misguided, at least acknowledge that their constituents' immediate economic interests are worthy of defending rather than casually tossing out with the rest of last season's wardrobe to make room for the new Fall line.
Hyper partisanship is a self-defense mechanism against the social engineering of centrist technocrats. The contest between Obama and Romney speak to none of these divisions.Jul 09, · Politics is a contest of interests, with winners and losers, and the moderate middle does not transcend it, no matter how enlightened and disinterested their think tank researchers may be.
Centrism, Racism, and the Political Divide. By. Arthur Cleroux - December 22, 0. 0. Facebook. listening to research and discoveries on what underlies the current state of politics in the United States, although it’s not only there that we see intense political polarization.
who’s written several books on . just states, but also international institutions, multinational corporations, social norms, but instead with the more general issue of international law’s signiﬁcance, Shortly after 9/11 the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution.
Web Only / Features» July 7, The Problem With Centrism Is That It Might Get Us All Killed. Going ‘back to the center’ and curbing climate change are mutually exclusive. Brown v. Sage — prisoner rights — reversal — Fuentes. Today, a divided Third Circuit panel ruled in favor of a prisoner who argued that he should have been allowed to file suits in forma pauperis because he had not accrued three prior frivolous filings under the Prison Litigation Reform Act’s three-strikes view.
Election ; Voter ID laws; Voting Rights; Wisconsin’s Voter-ID Law Suppressed , Votes in (Trump Won by 22,) Wisconsin’s Voter-ID Law Suppressed , Votes in (Trump.