The Centre Doesn’t Exist

A couple weeks back I showed why conservatism is always doomed to fail. A healthy reaction within the overton window is necessary for society to not continuously degenerate. Moderate conservatives who oppose ‘right-wing extremists’ and try to set them as outside the are the enemy of all conservatism as they are rigging the game in the liberal’s favour. As well, given the way our overton window is framed, compromise is always a liberal victory and a conservative loss; any conservative advocating compromise is advocating his own loss. That is reason enough to dislike conservative moderates.

But my point today is not to talk just about conservatives moderates, but rather to talk about centrists and moderates as a whole. It is popular in our society to oppose “extremism”. Politicians are expected to be reasonable, and to find a balance between the partisan divides of left and right.

But this is a false idea. There is no such thing as a political centre.

Radish created a graphic of the left-to-right spectrum:

Now, the graphic may not be perfect (ex: I think Andrew Jacksonshould have been a bit more right), but it shows the main point, our overton window is a narrow slice far to the left of most of history.

In other words, someone who held the same views as a centrist today would have been moderate liberal a decade ago, a liberal 30 years ago, a socialist 70 years ago, a communist a century ago, a bomb-throwing anarchist two centuries ago, and insane four centuries ago.

For an example, let’s just take the cause de jeur: gay “marriage”, which is now, in 2015, supported by “moderate” “conservatives” and is currently illegal to oppose in any real way in some states. In 2008, just 7 years ago, “moderate” liberal Obama opposed it. In 1996, less than 20 years ago, “moderate” liberal Clinton signed a law banning gay “marriage”. In the 1980’s, only gay radicals were pressing for “marriage”, in the 1970’s not even most gay activists were for gay “marriage”. Before that, it was hardly ever even mentioned. In 1962, just 50 years ago, sodomy was itself illegal in every state. In 1953, less than seven decades ago, just mentioning gay marriage or writing about homosexuality was considered obscence. Just over two centuries ago sodomy merited a death penalty (although these laws were rarely enforced and went beyond just homosexuality). In the 1500’s, the debate was between whether the church or the king would execute homosexuals. Talking of homosexual “marriage” at this time would have been seen as insanity.

This is not an argument on the merits or demerits of homosexual issues, but rather an illustration. What is the moderate position?

For most of English history, the execution of homosexuals would have been seen as normal, it would have been the centrist position. Just decriminalizing homosexuality is in itself, regarding the full scope of English history, an extremely liberal act. Those “moderate” “conservatives” petitioning the Supreme Court are neither. They are extreme leftists.

This is why the political centre doesn’t exist. A centre has to exist in relation to opposite points and there are no true opposing points. There are just two points near each other constantly shifting ever leftward, with the overton window currently situated between the extreme left and the even more extreme left.

A moderate stance is not a virtue and centrists are the most unreasoning. Because there is no point or range that could reasonably be called “the centre”, political centrism or moderation is ideologically bankrupt. They have latched onto nothing real, but instead have allowed society to dictate their beliefs to them. They are either hollow pragmatists, opportunists, or too unthinking to have actually developed a a coherent ideological framework for themselves.

24 comments

  1. Excellent

    A month or so back I was listening to a man (with a PPE) who is a Tory voter saying that of course no one could possibly oppose Gay Marriage. Only the noise in the bar prevented me from taking that idea apart.

  2. Andrew Jackson is a tough on to nail down. The arguments for him being progressive are fairly legit as he was big on extending the vote but then again he fought the bank, removed indians, killed englishmen fought in duels…..

    Your point is solid though. I look back to before 1864 to get an idea of what american politics and social arrangements should look like.

  3. It’s true. In effect, what happened with the rise of “progressivism” in the early 20th century was that the entire political agenda moved left, and their notion of “progress” as leftward movement, either gradual or quick, became the dominant political driver, politically and culturally as well. Since that time, both conservatives and moderates are really just people who from time to time can slow down the leftward movement, but they can’t actually reverse it — they aren’t the motivating force of the system, “progress” (as defined by “progressives”) is. As you note, one of the impacts of this is that what was considered radical 25 years ago is ow something that is an accepted part of affairs by today’s conservatives, simply because endorsing it doesn’t represent current additional change — the needle has moved, and the “current battle” has moved to something else We can already see where that is going on gay marriage — in 20 years it will be a rump minority among conservatives who continue to oppose it, and nothing more.

    In the US, an additional problem is that “conservatism” is laced through with ideas that are more properly described as “libertarian”. There are more than a few “conservatives” who have no issue with gay marriage because they don’t think the state has the right to tell people who they can and can’t marry — and they see this as a “conservative” position simply because it is anti-state. The idea that this worldview — people can do whatever the hell they want and it’s all good as long as there is a small state — is conservative at all in substance is mind-boggling, but these kinds of ideas have made a lot of inroads on the right due to the pragmatic coalition (the only way to describe it) between social conservatives and libertarians on the American right in order to pool votes. Social conservatives and libertarians have extremely little in common in terms of substance other than a distaste for the left (for often different reasons), but the libertarian anti-state-regardless-of-what-the-state-is-doing type of thinking has penetrated the American right deeply, and does impact views of many “conservatives”, when it comes to gay marriage and similar issues.

  4. Very well illustrated. This is a critical point when observing the uselessness of Modern political debate between conservatism and liberalism, illustrated by the ever-shifting ground of the political center.

    I put it in rather absolute times. There is no center between the ideologies of stability, autocracy, virtue and the will of the Divine, and on the other side, constant revolution, degeneration, democracy and the will of the lowest common denominator.

    Anyone adhering to the doctrine of liberalism, which is essentially the carrot that leads the centrist on, is an enemy of Tradition and has consigned themselves to the status of political detritus.

  5. When a society abandons the concept of absolute truth and ethics (theism) for pragmatism (conservatism) and relative truth (liberalism) there is no serious opposition to the pull to the left.

    Maynard Keynes the father of modern western macro -economics was asked how his economic theory would work out in the long-run, he replied “In the long-run we are all dead”. This is the folly of pragmatism; what is expedient for the moment dooms the future to pay for its shortsightedness. Keynes was a homosexual and so would not reproduce and raise a family that would live on into the future; thus his economic theory reflected his desire for momentary pleasure and a contemptuous disregard for the future. Culture and politics have followed this nihilist’s philosophy, why preserve culture, let alone improve and build it, when in the long run we are all dead.

    Every senator ought to have a bumper-sticker on their limo that reads, “I’m spending your great-great-great grand-children’s inheritance.”

    Proverbs 13:22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children

    That is something that feminism, liberalism and pragmatism simply cannot accomplish.

  6. Well, I rather think that traditionalists/conservative could employ some of the tactics of the left – for example, my methods are to claim that I am a moderate, but only so as to inch the direction of policy back in the direction I favour. Incrementalism is likely the way to accomplish the agenda.

  7. Incrementalism is likely the way to accomplish the agenda.

    How many times has this been tried, though. How do we, as believers in order and morality, incrementally move society in our direction? I just don’t think it’s possible. I think the only way we are going to see a move in the right direction is by a groundswell that just manages to barely get into office somewhere and have them do something that will force the Left’s hand. Something like UKIP obtaining a government and forcing the UK out of the EU or something like that. Such folks might not be us, but they share a fundamental belief in order and protecting our society and they might get it after freed from Leftist domination.

    In any case, I just don’t think there is any way to incrementally move society to the right. The Left can do that because they are like an acid eating away little by little. What do you do to move society a little bit to the right? We should be moderately “intolerant” of homosexuals? We should moderately protect our national identity? We should stand for half of our laws? These things are what the mainstream right advocates and it gets them nowhere.

  8. @Scott

    I termed the approach you are speaking of ‘Infiltration Theory’ under the umbrella of ‘Ascendancy Theories’ to answer the question of how we return society to its correct ordered state.

    I disregard Infiltration Theory, which is essentially Antonio Gramsci for the right, for the reason that the left has done what Traditional forces failed to do in the 1700s – prevented thought criminals from serving in any positions of influence.

    Real right wingers do not get to become teachers, politicians of any sway, or big media personalities (at least in most countries considered Western)

    Now, some say that they could hide their true identities as communist infiltrators did in the United States during the 1950s and 60s, but there is a big difference. Those infiltrators faced a largely apathetic collegiate class, contrary to what history books will tell you about the ‘Red Scare’. Many people in influential institutions really didn’t care if you were a communist and were allowed to peddle your ideology to impressionable minds. We face a totally different world, almost Orwellian in comparison, where anything politically incorrect will be reported to the bureaucracy. In many countries, holding Reactionary views is a criminal offense.

    Just to put a fine point on it, couples who do not believe in same-sex marriage CANNOT LEGALLY ADOPT a child in the United Kingdom, and this kind of crackdown on dissent is spreading.

    Instead of this theory, I am a Prophetic Catastrophist. Observing the entropy of liberalism and the Modern world, its spiraling self-destructive nature to which there is necessarily an apex, a fall, a cataclysm, and of course in conjunction with the Vedic prophecy of the Kali Yuga, I believe we should wait for conditions to change as Modernity deteriorates.

    There will come a point where this age’s self-defense systems will begin to decay and atrophy, creating room for mass movements and potentially separatist militancy. At this point we will know that the time is right for Reaction to strike and the mission is to prepare and lay the foundations for this coming period.

    Julius Evola said in his manual for the aristocrat of the soul, as the degeneration of Modernity away from Tradition intensifies and accelerates, you will not stand against it for the current will be too strong. Instead, wait for the storm to burn itself out and when the ‘tiger’ that we ride is weary and can no longer run, then our time will come.

  9. Well, in defence of my operating style at work, church, etc., I think of it as preparing the ground in local institutions to be prepared for the catastrophic fail of the overarching cultural, social and political institutions of our society. My thinking on this goes back to the Irish monks who saved Western civilization at end of Late Antiquity. God knows my heart despairs for the society I live in, that my child is growing up in, but I have to put my energies toward implementing some kind of plan of action: it is to build some kind of enclave for the virtuous.
    I welcome your comments. As I say, I can’t just do nothing.

  10. The TL, DR of American politics today:

    Democrats love abortion
    Republicans love Israel and guns

    Other than that they’re pretty much the same party.

  11. Do you know anything about Switzerland before Calvin? From what I’ve heard what Calvin did there was conservative in his institutions.
    Either way, fake reactionaries like Radish have little sense of history. He is probably autistic and needs to ‘group’ movements per-industralistation into his neat little groups like that random heathen Moldbug (also obviously on the sphere of autism) and his obsession with the idiocy of being a Jacobite, which as a heathen makes no sense. How can you believe God ordained James and the Catholics when you don’t believe in said God?

    see my reply in:http://freenortherner.com/2015/02/01/post-christianity-and-frankfurt/
    Bad conspiracy theories are going to get this xNR thing no where, which is a good thing. As soon as you need to place a special emphases on your views and the title of them and grouping them in a nice little order, you know your movement is rubbish. Who else do we know looks at history with a blindfold and interrupts it the way they want to? Feminists and Communists. Go figure. xNR is similar in nature, this is why these guys are fake reactionaries. They need to create a manifesto of ideas so you can control how they themselves and others view everything in the past (such as the example of ‘progressionism’ in history), just like everything we hate in Marxism. What do we say, Alfred the Great was a Leftist now because he promoted the Bible in his vulgarity? Are you going to tell me the Normans were conservative because one excuse (to the Pope) for invading England was because upper English women were learned? These things have nothing to do with progressivism and are just the waves of history, but fools like Radish in his feminist-like manifestos will have you believe otherwise.

  12. Being a political moderate is such a spineless and contemptible position to hold. It should not be interpreted as being some great, placid, wise position. Instead, it should be interpreted as, “I am ignorant on the subject matter and/or I do not want to have any principles to believe in because I do not want to offend anyone… at all… ever”

    This ‘go-along to get-along’ attitude towards political matters is a cop-out. Unless you are truly apathetic (in which case you would admit so and not try to LARP as a moderate), then not having a political opinion shows that you are not educated on the subject matter (so educate yourself) or you are a pussy who is too afraid to upset peoples feelings.

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