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What is a centrist?

Rob1Billion
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6/9/2010 3:42:36 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I always hear about "moderates" and "centrists" in the political arena, and how they are being driven out as politics polarizes. We have some self-proclaimed centrists here on DDO...

I would like to challenge the concept of a moderate/centrist. I have been criticized in the past for my active labeling of people for their views. For example, if someone is pro-life, I will label them a conservative in that sense; I resist a person who holds a view like "pro-life" trying to escape the label of a conservative even if they have no other conservative views. If they are pro-life and liberal in every other sense, then I will label them a conservative on that issue and go down the line in a check-list fashion, labeling them conservative and liberal depending on their stances on each issue.

If a person holds many conservative and liberal traits, they are considered centrists. Although it is a convenient label, I challenge its validity. How does a centrist feel about abortion? Immigration? Economics? The answer is that they don't have designated values; in other words, centrism is an invalid term to use for someone's political ideology. A term like "mixed" would be more appropriate.

Why make this distinction? For one thing, centrists are hailed as "compromisers" who get the job done when partisans are not able to budge. However, we should be leary of this observation; "centrists" are simply people who are both liberal and conservative. They are not compromisers at all; they are just as partisan in every meaningful sense of the word as conservatives and liberals. A pro-life centrist isn't going to be more compromising about his or her beliefs about the value of a fetus, for example. Being red and blue in the political arena does not make you purple; it just makes you red and blue.
Master P is the end result of capitalism.
Ragnar_Rahl
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6/9/2010 3:46:45 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
For example, if someone is pro-life, I will label them a conservative
What if the fetus is a dirty hippie?
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
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6/9/2010 3:52:08 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/9/2010 3:49:26 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
I wonder if I would be considered a centrist? I'm quite socially conservative while being quite left economically.

It's called fascist née Islamo-
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Volkov
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6/9/2010 3:54:54 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
A "centrist" is someone who isn't an "extremist."

Done.

In all honesty, no one really knows. A centrist is generally considered someone who has opinions that can work on both sides of the aisle. They hold some conservative views, and they hold some liberal ones. They're generally not as adamant about going out to such a far extreme on an issue like, say, abortion. They could be pro-life, but maybe they're pro-life in the sense that they themselves wouldn't have an abortion, but respect a woman's right to choose. Or maybe they're pro-choice but they aren't supportive of late-term abortions for whatever reason.

Who knows, really? The idea that a person's politics can be plotted out on a two-dimensional graph with ease is silly to begin with. "Left" and "right" could refer to libertarian communists or authoritarian capitalists, or libertarian capitalists and authoritarian communists! It doesn't really work well.
Ragnar_Rahl
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6/9/2010 4:02:07 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/9/2010 3:54:54 PM, Volkov wrote:

Who knows, really? The idea that a person's politics can be plotted out on a two-dimensional graph with ease is silly to begin with. "Left" and "right" could refer to libertarian communists or authoritarian capitalists, or libertarian capitalists and authoritarian communists! It doesn't really work well.

Left/right is one dimension. 2 dimensions solves the problem insofar as you've laid it out.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Volkov
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6/9/2010 4:07:34 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/9/2010 4:02:07 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Left/right is one dimension. 2 dimensions solves the problem insofar as you've laid it out.

I think I pointed out "libertarian communists" and "authoritarian capitalists." That's two dimensions.

Either way, it doesn't solve anything. People are a lot more complex than "more authoritarian" and "more capitalist." It's a guideline, sure, but its not entirely helpful.
Ragnar_Rahl
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6/9/2010 4:10:41 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/9/2010 4:07:34 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 6/9/2010 4:02:07 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Left/right is one dimension. 2 dimensions solves the problem insofar as you've laid it out.

I think I pointed out "libertarian communists" and "authoritarian capitalists." That's two dimensions.
And not a problem. What are the categories (I'm gonna change some terms here: "socially libertarian/authoritarian and economically libertarian/authoritarian) missing? What do they fail to express? The one dimension left right fails to express them, but what's needed to say 2 dimensions are bad is something you can't express in 2.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
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6/9/2010 4:11:11 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Although, notably, it doesn't much describe foreign policy.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Volkov
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6/9/2010 4:15:57 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/9/2010 4:11:11 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Although, notably, it doesn't much describe foreign policy.

Indeed. It also only discusses the two poles of "social" and "economic" issues. They're broad categories that, sure, point you in the right direction, but don't give you enough detail to truly label someone. Hell, Ron Paul probably ends up way in the bottom-right corner of the traditional spectrum, yet do you think you could get his views on abortion from that?
Cerebral_Narcissist
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6/9/2010 4:17:25 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
According to the charts I am just left of centre, and midway on personal liberty. Never thought it was very accurate but hey. Guess I am a moderate. How dull.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
mongoose
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6/9/2010 6:01:18 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
The thing about centrists is that you could have two liberals, and they'd agree on most everything. You could have two libertarians, and they'd agree on most everything. You cold have two conservatives and they'd agree on most everything. But two centrists, in the very center, could disagree on every single issue and be labeled the exact same thing.
It is odd when one's capacity for compassion is measured not in what he is willing to do by his own time, effort, and property, but what he will force others to do with their own property instead.
comoncents
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6/9/2010 8:51:45 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/9/2010 6:01:18 PM, mongoose wrote:
The thing about centrists is that you could have two liberals, and they'd agree on most everything. You could have two libertarians, and they'd agree on most everything. You cold have two conservatives and they'd agree on most everything. But two centrists, in the very center, could disagree on every single issue and be labeled the exact same thing.

Yeah. It is tough in this day of labels. I do not know what I am if it makes you feel better. I am what I am and I vote how ever I vote.
Ragnar_Rahl
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6/9/2010 8:55:17 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/9/2010 4:15:57 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 6/9/2010 4:11:11 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Although, notably, it doesn't much describe foreign policy.

Indeed. It also only discusses the two poles of "social" and "economic" issues. They're broad categories that, sure, point you in the right direction, but don't give you enough detail to truly label someone. Hell, Ron Paul probably ends up way in the bottom-right corner of the traditional spectrum, yet do you think you could get his views on abortion from that?

Mr. States' rights? I'd say that's top, and a bit off the right corner (shrimp subsidies), and bottom right is a misinterpretation of his answers :p
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
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6/9/2010 9:14:44 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Btw, you can also have a "real" centrist-- one that seeks a compromise on every issue.

Pacifism? Nuking every city on earth? How bout we drop conventional bombs on half.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
mongoose
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6/9/2010 9:27:00 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/9/2010 8:55:17 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 6/9/2010 4:15:57 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 6/9/2010 4:11:11 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Although, notably, it doesn't much describe foreign policy.

Indeed. It also only discusses the two poles of "social" and "economic" issues. They're broad categories that, sure, point you in the right direction, but don't give you enough detail to truly label someone. Hell, Ron Paul probably ends up way in the bottom-right corner of the traditional spectrum, yet do you think you could get his views on abortion from that?

Mr. States' rights? I'd say that's top, and a bit off the right corner (shrimp subsidies), and bottom right is a misinterpretation of his answers :p

He's not getting off the train until he stops it.
It is odd when one's capacity for compassion is measured not in what he is willing to do by his own time, effort, and property, but what he will force others to do with their own property instead.
Reasoning
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6/9/2010 9:32:40 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/9/2010 9:27:00 PM, mongoose wrote:
He's not getting off the train until he stops it.

Is this the proverbial train to anarchy?
"What we really ought to ask the liberal, before we even begin addressing his agenda, is this: In what kind of society would he be a conservative?" - Joseph Sobran
Ragnar_Rahl
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6/9/2010 9:33:19 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/9/2010 9:27:00 PM, mongoose wrote:
At 6/9/2010 8:55:17 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 6/9/2010 4:15:57 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 6/9/2010 4:11:11 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Although, notably, it doesn't much describe foreign policy.

Indeed. It also only discusses the two poles of "social" and "economic" issues. They're broad categories that, sure, point you in the right direction, but don't give you enough detail to truly label someone. Hell, Ron Paul probably ends up way in the bottom-right corner of the traditional spectrum, yet do you think you could get his views on abortion from that?

Mr. States' rights? I'd say that's top, and a bit off the right corner (shrimp subsidies), and bottom right is a misinterpretation of his answers :p

He's not getting off the train until he stops it.

Shrimp subsidies weren't staying on the train, they were donating an extra car to the train.

Anyway, that doesn't explain state's rights.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
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6/9/2010 9:34:39 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/9/2010 9:32:40 PM, Reasoning wrote:
At 6/9/2010 9:27:00 PM, mongoose wrote:
He's not getting off the train until he stops it.

Is this the proverbial train to anarchy?

No, it's the gravy train. It's a reference to how I summed up my position on personally accepting state benefits "I'm in favor of stopping the train, not jumping off while it's still moving."
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Reasoning
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6/9/2010 9:34:48 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/9/2010 9:33:19 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Anyway, that doesn't explain state's rights.

It's a rhetorical device. Undoubtedly the federal government is a much greater threat to liberty at present than the state governments are.
"What we really ought to ask the liberal, before we even begin addressing his agenda, is this: In what kind of society would he be a conservative?" - Joseph Sobran
Ragnar_Rahl
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6/9/2010 9:38:16 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/9/2010 9:34:48 PM, Reasoning wrote:
At 6/9/2010 9:33:19 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Anyway, that doesn't explain state's rights.

It's a rhetorical device
OBAMA, YOU'RE A SOCIALIST.
NOPE, ITS JUST A RHETORICAL DEVICE.

Undoubtedly the federal government is a much greater threat to liberty at present than the state governments are.
I doubt that, at least until the FSP gets moving. It's far easier to get a majority for a new violation on liberty in a smaller area. You'll notice Romneycare happened before Obamacare.

(as for non-present threats- lolslaverylol.)
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FREEDO
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6/10/2010 2:16:58 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Hello, just passing through..
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Rob1Billion
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6/10/2010 9:29:57 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I would argue that most of the key issues don't have a "moderate" position; you are either liberal or conservative on it -

Abortion: does life/personhood start at conception?

Economics: should we be implementing more social programs to offset poverty and income disparity, or should we be cutting government programs/taxes to let the private sector take care of it?

Gay marriage: should we put gay marriage as equal to hetero marriage?

Enviro protection: Leave it to the free market, or let govt regulate?

Immigration: This one could definitely have a moderate position, but is an exception.

Patriotism: Do you see celebrating America as pro-America or anti-everyone else?

Euthanasia, gun rights, capital punishment, drug legalization, minimum wage, affirmative action: no explanation needed.

As Ragnar alluded to, foreign policy is probably not part of the lib/con spectrum. I am Lib on all these issues (save gun rights) yet I still manage to disagree with liberals quite often.

You could take extreme positions on some of these (e.g., tanks should be sold to private citizens, abortions are a good way to lose weight) but I don't think that is relevent here.
Master P is the end result of capitalism.
Ragnar_Rahl
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6/10/2010 11:08:51 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/10/2010 9:29:57 AM, Rob1Billion wrote:
I would argue that most of the key issues don't have a "moderate" position; you are either liberal or conservative on it -

Abortion: does life/personhood start at conception?
Start's with the third trimester.


Economics: should we be implementing more social programs to offset poverty and income disparity, or should we be cutting government programs/taxes to let the private sector take care of it?
Keep social programs as is.


Gay marriage: should we put gay marriage as equal to hetero marriage?
Civil unions.


Enviro protection: Leave it to the free market, or let govt regulate?
Let government regulate half the earth.

Patriotism: Do you see celebrating America as pro-America or anti-everyone else?
See it as meaningless fun.


Euthanasia
Requiring counseling and a terminal is the moderate position (between prohibition and "go ahead all you want."

gun rights
Regulation as opposed to prohibition or a free market in guns.

capital punishment
Do something that has a 50 percent chance of death, put in prison if they survive.

drug legalization
Legalize weed, not crack.

minimum wage
Put the minimum wage at half its present value.

affirmative action
"tiebreakers" as opposed to prohibition or quotas.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
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6/10/2010 11:10:18 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
*and a terminal ILLNESS* should read.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Rob1Billion
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6/10/2010 4:03:51 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/10/2010 11:08:51 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 6/10/2010 9:29:57 AM, Rob1Billion wrote:
I would argue that most of the key issues don't have a "moderate" position; you are either liberal or conservative on it -

Abortion: does life/personhood start at conception?
Start's with the third trimester.

Nice try, Ragnar, but I don't think your fully conservative counterparts would agree that you are "half" one of them on abortion. deciding that life is "unimportant" until the third trimester implies that you are alright with abortion until then; this puts you clearly on the side of the liberals (in fact this is where I stand).


Economics: should we be implementing more social programs to offset poverty and income disparity, or should we be cutting government programs/taxes to let the private sector take care of it?
Keep social programs as is.

LOL I've never heard of someone running for office is the interest to "keep things exactly the way they are." Politics is inherently dynamic, and if someone is defending the current status quo then that status quo is probably already clearly liberal or conservative to begin with.


Gay marriage: should we put gay marriage as equal to hetero marriage?
Civil unions.

I would say civil unions are a conservative construction by default. The question is about equal marriage; everything else is everything else, if you follow me.


Enviro protection: Leave it to the free market, or let govt regulate?
Let government regulate half the earth.

Tongue in cheek?

Patriotism: Do you see celebrating America as pro-America or anti-everyone else?
See it as meaningless fun.

OK I will give you that you are finding logical ways to find the median belief here, but your creations are rather moot; in this instance, it is more that they simply don't have an opinion than they are actually demonstrating a clear ideological stance. Even if I conceded all these points, it would mean that centrism means "1st and 2nd trimester abortions... civil unions... enviro regs on "half the earth"... patriotism is meaningless fun...

Neither a "centrist" or any ideology I've ever heard of reflects this belief system.


Euthanasia
Requiring counseling and a terminal is the moderate position (between prohibition and "go ahead all you want."

If you are letting them do it with conditions, then you are still letting them do it. This would be a liberal position.

gun rights
Regulation as opposed to prohibition or a free market in guns.

I don't want to split hairs on this one, but it would seem to me that liberals are the ones who want the regulations.

capital punishment
Do something that has a 50 percent chance of death, put in prison if they survive.

So that's the centrist positionon the death penalty?

drug legalization
Legalize weed, not crack.

Legalizing weed isn't liberal?

minimum wage
Put the minimum wage at half its present value.

affirmative action
"tiebreakers" as opposed to prohibition or quotas.

I think I've made my point by now; these positions are either completely moot and unworkable/ridiculous, or they are clearly liberal or conservative.
Master P is the end result of capitalism.
Danielle
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6/10/2010 4:23:24 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/10/2010 9:29:57 AM, Rob1Billion wrote:
I would argue that most of the key issues don't have a "moderate" position; you are either liberal or conservative on it -

Abortion: does life/personhood start at conception?

Possible Moderate Responses --> Acceptable when the life of the mother is threatened; Pro non-late term abortions only; Pro the morning-after pill but not the surgery, etc.

Economics: should we be implementing more social programs to offset poverty and income disparity, or should we be cutting government programs/taxes to let the private sector take care of it?

Possible Moderate Responses --> Cut things like welfare and national health care but keep Medicaid and SS (or other compromises where some social programs are kept and some are eliminated); cut military spending; cut pork; have some regulation; etc.?

Gay marriage: should we put gay marriage as equal to hetero marriage?

Possible Moderate Response --> Don't have gay marriage - have civil unions but give civil unions the exact same rights and benefits of marriage.

Enviro protection: Leave it to the free market, or let govt regulate?

Possible Moderate Response --> Tax incentives?

Immigration: This one could definitely have a moderate position, but is an exception.

Possible Moderate Response --> Insert Moderate Answer Here

Patriotism: Do you see celebrating America as pro-America or anti-everyone else?

Possible Moderate Response --> Apathy?

Euthanasia, gun rights, capital punishment, drug legalization, minimum wage, affirmative action: no explanation needed.

Minimum wage, sure... but affirmative action - someone could be Pro outreach only (since there are different types); people could say euthanasia is permissible in explicitly specific cases; capital punishment could be reserved for only the most heinous things, marijuana could be legalized but other drugs could be kept illegal, etc.

Just trying to see if I could come up with some :P For the most part I agree with the OP.
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Ragnar_Rahl
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6/10/2010 4:55:58 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 6/10/2010 4:03:51 PM, Rob1Billion wrote:
At 6/10/2010 11:08:51 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 6/10/2010 9:29:57 AM, Rob1Billion wrote:
I would argue that most of the key issues don't have a "moderate" position; you are either liberal or conservative on it -

Abortion: does life/personhood start at conception?
Start's with the third trimester.

Nice try, Ragnar, but I don't think your fully conservative counterparts would agree that you are "half" one of them on abortion
I'm not a moderate. I'm in favor of late-term abortion and not settled entirely on infanticide :). I was just describing the moderate stand.

LOL I've never heard of someone running for office is the interest to "keep things exactly the way they are." Politics is inherently dynamic, and if someone is defending the current status quo then that status quo is probably already clearly liberal or conservative to begin with.\
"Liberal?" "Conservative?" Neither of these are extremist terms. Anarcho-communist! Theocrat!



Gay marriage: should we put gay marriage as equal to hetero marriage?
Civil unions.

I would say civil unions are a conservative construction by default.
Probably because you're a liberal. They aren't, at least not in the "far right" sense of conservatives, which is against civil unions.

The question is about equal marriage; everything else is everything else, if you follow me.
But it isn't everything else, civil unions are part of the same issue.



Enviro protection: Leave it to the free market, or let govt regulate?
Let government regulate half the earth.

Tongue in cheek?
All of these were tongue in cheek. Again, I'm a libertarian extremist.


Patriotism: Do you see celebrating America as pro-America or anti-everyone else?
See it as meaningless fun.

OK I will give you that you are finding logical ways to find the median belief here, but your creations are rather moot; in this instance, it is more that they simply don't have an opinion than they are actually demonstrating a clear ideological stance.
All of these are opinions of positive content.

Neither a "centrist" or any ideology I've ever heard of reflects this belief system.
That's a good thing. Centrism is just a popular way to not make sense.



Euthanasia
Requiring counseling and a terminal is the moderate position (between prohibition and "go ahead all you want."

If you are letting them do it with conditions, then you are still letting them do it. This would be a liberal position.
No, because some people aren't allowed to do it. The extreme (liberal only in the classical sense) position is people can do it whenever they want-- all people. Without precondition.


gun rights
Regulation as opposed to prohibition or a free market in guns.

I don't want to split hairs on this one, but it would seem to me that liberals are the ones who want the regulations.
The moderate ones. The extreme ones want bans.


capital punishment
Do something that has a 50 percent chance of death, put in prison if they survive.

So that's the centrist positionon the death penalty?
That's A position that is centrist. Centrism isn't logically consistent. There are many solutions that can be called centrist.


drug legalization
Legalize weed, not crack.

Legalizing weed isn't liberal?
Not legalizing crack isn't. And they are part of the same essential issue.


I think I've made my point by now; these positions are either completely moot and unworkable/ridiculous
Centrism is ridiculous. This does not make it any less real.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.