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.