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Two Years of Radical Moderation

July 8, 2011

As I sat down with my laptop this morning in a fiercely air-conditioned cafe, arms and legs shivering in the artificially induced Arctic climate, it occurred to me that today marks the second anniversary of The New Moderate as a more-or-less regular blog.

Two years ago this July, I launched myself into the blogosphere as a radical moderate, a new moderate — a moderate so confoundedly exasperated (not to mention alarmed) by the extremist rhetoric gushing from the left and right that I was eager to discard middle-of-the-road pleasantries in favor of something resembling passion. (Yes, Virginia, there IS passion in the middle.)

It was time to swap our traditional namby-pamby image for something more heroic and even militant. Yes, we’d still be civil as well as civilized. But there would be no more compromising, no more selfless consensus-building, no more Mr. Nice Moderate.  The extremists were squeezing the center out of existence, and we needed to fight back. The middle had to prevail for the good of the republic.

This diehard centrist would settle for nothing less than a rebellion of the middle — a great awakening among that vast, silent, good-naturedly accommodating mid-region of the American political spectrum. It seemed that nobody listened to us (including our fellow moderates), though our views were the most sensible, the fairest, the most inclusive, the most finely nuanced and least distorted of any in the great marketplace of ideas. It seemed that nobody even respected us: we were widely and unfairly perceived as spineless, indecisive, unwilling or unable to take a stand.

I resolved to change all that. We needed to gain a voice, preferably a loud one, to awaken the slumbering moderate giant and win converts.

What did the world look like in 2009? Well, pretty much the way it looks today. The left ruled the cultural and intellectual roost, as it had since the ’60s and even earlier. But now they ruled with an oppressive hand that tolerated no divergence from the approved pieties. The left was turning America into a patchwork of insular special-interest groups whose allegiance to their own “communities” trumped everything else. Blacks, gays, feminists and even NPR liberals each had their own well-defined cultures, taboos and political priorities. Anyone who went off the reservation would know the sting of excommunication.

At the same time, we were emerging as a full-fledged plutocracy: unregulated corporatism had widened the gap betwen the rich and the rest of us to Gilded Age proportions, and big-money interests had effectively made marionettes of our elected representatives. (Money has always displayed a sinister genius for pulling strings.) The reckless antics of investment bankers, CEOs and their political handmaidens were endangering the survival of the middle class.

Meanwhile, the right had managed to bamboozle a hefty segment of the middle class (particularly the struggling lower middle class) into believing that its interests were identical with those of Wall Street. Lyrically bloviating on the virtues of patriotism and self-reliance while portraying government as the embodiment of evil, radio pundits like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh sparked a grassroots ultraconservative movement that only reinforced the power of big money to run (and ruin) our lives. Glenn Beck was just entering his short-lived heyday, morphing from an artfully wacky radio entertainer into a mad prophet of doom.

In short, this was the perfect moment to launch a new blog for disaffected moderates.

I’ve had plenty to say during my two years as a radical moderate blogger, despite my saying it only once a week at most. I’ve let the dedicated news junkies cover the daily drizzle of events; I prefer to wait until an issue grabs me by both ears and gives me no choice but to rail about it from my pulpit.

Here are just few of the issues that have grabbed my aural appendages during the past two years:

Racial tension in “postracial” America, especially during the overheated summer of 2009…

The upstart Tea Party juggernaut of 2010, an acute political inflammation that’s slowly subsiding for the moment…

The dangerous marginalization of moderate politicians within both major parties…

The spectre of literally endless war in remote Muslim nations…

Illegal immigration and the long-term consequences of a burgeoning Hispanic presence in America…

The riddle of Barack Obama, a brilliantly charismatic and progressive campaigner who emerged as a surprisingly lackluster (and just as surprisingly moderate) president…

The ongoing transformation of the U.S. into a plutocracy with the unwitting cooperation of the American people (We could have used a riot or two on Wall Street)…

The disturbing deterioration of our national soul as we’ve splintered into multiple self-interested subcultures…

And, of course, that fat gray elephant taking up half the room: the lingering Great Recession that started with the bank meltdowns of 2007-8 and officially ended nearly two years ago (yeah, right), though it continues to spread its gloom and its dull poisons throughout the land…

So here we are, two years later — and America is a mess. We’re in hock to the tune of $14 trillion (that’s just about $46,000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S.), and none of our national eminentoes can agree on a remedy. Jobs are being eliminated, outsourced to foreign lands and otherwise hidden from us commoners on an unprecedented scale. Homeowners are sinking under the burden of their mortgages while real estate values still unravel. Unemployed and self-employed Americans impoverish themselves paying for health insurance — or risk bankrupting themselves if they get seriously ill without it. Tuition at private colleges and universities — the unofficial gateway to the upper middle class — has become prohibitive for all but the rich  — and, of course, poor students on scholarships.

The middle class is splitting like a great ice sheet: a small but select sector of well-educated, well-connected individuals drifting upward, everyone else drifting downward. We have welfare for the poor and welfare for the rich (billionaire hedge fund managers pay a lower tax rate than their clerks), but the middle class is left to wither on its own.  And that makes me angry.

What have I accomplished in my two years as a radical moderate blogger? Not enough. There’s been no moderate Great Awakening to speak of; the vast American middle is still absorbing its daily punishments in silence. My columns have scarcely made a blip on the national radar, though my traffic continues to grow like a young oak tree: give me another half-century and I might start to cast a shadow.

I’ve been heartened by the rise of a lively centrist blogosphere over the past two years. I’d like to think my outpourings of unorthodox moderate punditry emboldened my political soulmates to start sounding off on their own, but it’s a safe bet that I had little or nothing to do with their efforts. What I’ve especially enjoyed is the brash, impetuous tone of so much of the commentary; these aren’t your buttoned-down, inoffensive Jon Huntsman moderates… they think from the gut and don’t shrink from controversy. It’s pleasant to know that there’s actually a market for radical moderation.

For a blog with relatively modest traffic, my posts have generated a slew of comments. My biggest surprise has been the lack of invective from right-and left-wing readers. (I had expected to be bombarded, the way I am when I comment occasionally at HuffingtonPost.)

Instead, I’ve grown accustomed to taking heat — mostly good-natured, sometimes  testy — from my moderate readers. I’m a closet leftist, they tell me when I inveigh against corporate America and Wall Street. I’m too conservative on social and cultural issues, some of them will insist when I gripe about illegal immigrants or contemporary art.

That’s exactly as it should be, of course. My mission as a radical moderate is to discover where we’ve tilted too far to the right or left, grab the wheel and tilt us back toward the center. Sometimes that tilting requires strenuous and radical remedial action.

Being a moderate, after all, doesn’t necessarily mean defending the status quo; it means standing up for values that balance right-wing faith in the individual with left-wing concern for the unfortunate. It means achieving the greatest good for the greatest number instead of catering to special interests, no matter how noisy or well-entrenched they might be.

America today is seriously out of balance, both economically and culturally. We’re losing our way, and we’re in danger of losing our greatness. That’s why our embattled republic needs its radical moderates, now more than ever. Though I’m sometimes tempted to jettison the political Sturm und Drang for more congenial and remunerative pursuits, it’s safe to say I won’t be going away anytime soon.

I hope you won’t, either. In fact, let me thank you immoderately for contributing to the success of The New Moderate as an oasis of political sanity in troubled times. I couldn’t have done it without you.

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53 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2011 3:16 am

    You are not a closet leftist because you rant against wallstreet and corporatism. Contrary to public perception the left is more deeply in the pocket of big corporations than the right. Buying regulatory barriers to entry, leveraging government power for business is more effective with the big government pro regulation left.
    You are a closet leftist because you believe that the power of government can be used to help the less fortunate, and because you do not grasp that equality is always at the expense of freedom. These are traits you share with alot of people. If the underlying assumptions were true they would even be noble.

    There is a political revolution going on in this country. But it is to the right of both of us. It is reflected by the Tea Party – though it is bigger than the Tea Party. I would be far more willing to call it moderate than you are – but then I see you as at best a moderate liberal. I am libertarian. But the revolution is still to my right. The fiscal conservatives have taken on the Social conservatives, and neo-cons and said enough is enough. To a greater extent than anytime since the revolution we are suspicious of government – and contrary to the views of the left and the press, that is a very good thing.

    At the same time as the primary political revolution of our time is to your and my right, the net movement of policy is decidedly libertarian. Fiscal conservatives are seizing the reigns. Government is getting cut. At the same time, though there is a nation building interventionist pro-war contingent on both the right and left, the country as a whole and particularly the GOP is moving to a very libertarian foreign policy. Export our values not our weapons. There is a long hard fight remaining. One that keeps getting perverted with leftist distortions like hate crimes laws, but soon enough our inalienable rights will no longer be infringed on based on sexual orientation. We are on the cusp of yanking the education of our children from government. We are at the beginings of questioning our drug polices. We are grasping that we can not incarcerate such a large portion of our population. The proliferation of video cameras in Cell phones threatens to drive the minority of neo-nazi’s out of our police, and restore the respect of citizens for police and police for citizens.
    And on and on.

    I can not resist taking a whack at your remarks on inequality.
    Money is not wealth. Money is what people accumulate when there is no longer any purpose to accumulating wealth. The more polarized the distribution of money is the more equal the distribution of real wealth must be. This meme that the benefits of more free markets have accrued primarily to the rich is a lie. It is one that is readily apparent to anyone who has been an adult for the past three decades. I own (or better put the bank does) a small apartment building. My tenants are poor. I do not envy them anything. Yet by every conceivable measure they have more wealth than I had 30 years ago. Their apartments are larger. Their housing cost is a smaller part of their income. They have Cell Phones, computers, flat screen TVs. In constant dollars or as a percent of income most of what they have costs less, sometimes dramatically less than it cost me thirty years ago. Very few things actually cost the same or more. Further – just as Julian Simon won his bet with Paul Ehrlich that the the price of any 5 commodities of Paul’s chosing would decline in real dollars over 10 years, that is till true today, and will be ten years from now. Unfettered (or even fairly hobbled) that is what capitolism does. But the cost of goods and the average wealth of the poor is not the only fallacy. Economic data tells us alot of us live in poverty. What is ignored is that it also tells us that few people stay there for very long – months not years. The long term impoverished are a small fraction of total poverty. Despite increasing government created barriers to class mobility, americans still climb the ladder. The overwhelming majority of us are better off than we were, ten twenty thirty years ago. Today’s poor are mostly the young, and though most of them will not become super rich, they will likely have risen into the next quintile over the next ten years. there are 12 million illegal immigrants in this country today. Alone they are an enormous distortion in inequality trends. And even they are far better off than where they came from, and will be better off in ten years than today.
    I hope that in the libertarian revolution we are in the midst of that we would grasp that beneficial freedoms include trade and immigration, but we do not appear to be ready yet. Far too many on both the left and right still mistakenly beleive that trade and jobs are zero sum.

    • July 10, 2011 12:25 pm

      dhlii: Ah, I figured you must be a libertarian. Thanks for coming clean. I appreciate the time and effort you put into your comments, and you make me think (which is generally good). But I hope you don’t expect me to echo libertarian values. (This isn’t The New Libertarian, after all.)

      My problem with libertarians is that they’re usually competent individuals who naturally thrive in a capitalist environment. I think they overlook the fact that capitalism rewards a very narrow range of skills: the ability to spot opportunities and exploit them. What if our talents don’t run in that direction? It’s as if an artist were to disdain his fellow men because they can’t draw a decent face.

      Those of you who thrive as capitalists will always oppose government programs because they cut into your income (albeit so lightly compared to the tax rates of half a century ago) and limit your freedom to expand your empires to the point of monopoly or oppression. Yes, government places limits on individual freedom — because the unrestrained enterprise of some individuals would harm the well-being of many others (think of slave traders, or even the factory owners of a century ago who made their employees work under abominable conditions). You can’t deny that we needed the government to step in and outlaw slavery… or that it had to meddle to some extent with workplace conditions when labor was at the mercy of capital.

      Times change, of course, but when CEOs are earning thousands of times more than average workers and Wall Street is capable of plunging everyone (except Wall Street tycoons, of course) into financial ruin, something has to be done. It has to be done by the government — because our corporatist capitalist system is either unwilling or unable to regulate itself.

      Yes, that means restricting some freedoms. But think about it: human society can’t exist unless we find a balance between freedom and cooperation. I’m a moderate because I favor only limited restrictions on freedom, primarily where that freedom would harm others. (That’s why I’d restrict the power of lobbies — and even short-selling on Wall Street.) I don’t think that makes me a leftist or a statist. I strive for balance… to me, that’s what being a moderate is all about.

      • July 11, 2011 5:46 pm

        Rick; First, I do not have all the answers. Libertarian philosophy has its own problems – If less government is better, why not none ? There are as many answers to that as there are libertarians, and probably more internecine warfare. But I do know that whatever the optimum it is far less than what we have now.
        I also know that not only do I have the support of myriads of intellectually hefty dead philosophers, but that increasingly even such bastions of central planning such as the World Bank are reporting that as a nations liberty increases so does its standard of living, and as entitlements increase its standard of living declines.
        Capitalism is not just the best system for a small collection of entrepreneurial people, it produces the best outcome for almost everyone. I will admit that for that tiny fraction of people that totally incapable of making a contribution equal to their own needs, that pure capitolism fails. But that is a miniscule part of society – the modern safety net far from helping the most needy ensnares almost the bottom 40% of our country in one way or another, and with few exceptions leaves them worse off then they would be otherwise. The progressive meme of social responsibility has a strong appeal – even to my own heart. But it does not and has not worked anywhere. Even outside of government trying to help people is an extremely difficult business. Private charity has an abysmal record. Gates and Oprah have wasted fortunes trying to help people, and are slowly learning that money does not solve some problems. I think Buffet is insane and actually evil to contribute his fortune to charity where much of it will be squandered rather than leave it right were it is where each day hundreds of thousands of people – rich and poor, entrepenuerial and not, have jobs, and create more jobs, creating wealth that ultimately benefits everyone – even the least of us.
        The meme that capitolism is only for a small subset of people that thrive in such a system is observably false. Smith grasped that the greatest beneficiaries of free markets would be primaliy those at the bottom.
        Today we fix on GINI indexs – a concept with so many embedded fallacies it is mind boggling. If the income equality of the 50’s was some ideal, then why not that of Pharoh ? GINI confuses wealth and money. I believe I have said this before – it is specifically because the accumulation of useful wealth becomes harder the farther up the ladder one is that the rich have far more money that the rest of us. Capitalism builds real wealth from the bottom up. By design not by accident. Each of us is an entrepreneur in our own way – it is a trait distributed on a curve, not a binary attribute. Further the prime beneficiaries of the most entrepreneurial is everyone else.
        Yes, I resent seeing the “rich” take on an even greater part in supporting government – as someone transitions from accumulating wealth to accumulating money, their contribution to the rest of society skyrockets. We know again from such progressive groups as the UN that taxes on capitol on the whole do $2 of damage to the economy for every $1 collected. The rich certainly have less money, but that economic damage is paid in the wealth of the rest of us.
        Money is not wealth. A mistake progressives never escape. Yet Smith proved it centuries ago. If that were not true, Spain would rule the world and England would be a backwater. Confusing money and wealth is the root of just about every progressive error. It is a mistake most of us make. Even Milton Friedman was periodically ensnared by it.

        I do not care how much CEO’s make, just as I do not care how much professional athlete’s make, or …. so long as what they do not do so at someone else’s expense lamenting the success of others is just envy. If you grasp that economics-life is not a zero sum game, The success of others does not come at someone else’s expense. I think you are far too intelligent to buy into a zero sum premise – but far too many of your arguments depend on that. If you actually beleive in freedom and the only limit is when it is harmful to others then why do you care how much CEO’s and Wall Street make ?

        I know of no concrete definition of moderate. But the closest definable ideology that fits between conservative and liberal would be libertarian.
        You definition of what you think makes you a moderate in your last paragraph is extremely close to most definitions of libertarianism.
        But it is inconsistent with much of the rest of what you write.
        The ability of CEO’s, WallStreet, …. to do virtually all the evil you claim – and I will agree with much of it, depends on co-opting the power of government. I would not care how much money lobbiests spent (and that would be very little), if they were not seeking to buy power that government does not need and should not have.
        Corporatism is Rent-Seeking. It is not possible without government power. I will be happy to join you in tirades against bailouts, protectionism, government subsidies, corporate welfare, …. but these all other corporatist manifestation depend on perverting the power of government not markets.
        Whatever power you give government will prove an attractive inducement to business, and politicians. Power corrupts – need I go on ?
        The free market by design drives each participant to seek advantage over the next – and so long as the market is truly free whoever wins, we all benefit. Seeking advantage is not a flaw, but an asset. We all seek advantage – if you apply for a job do you seek every possible way to set yourself above other candidates ? But if government has power to confer an advantage on a business, then business will be attracted like iron to a magnet to seek advantage lever-aging that power. It is not that government power can be abused, it is that it will be abused. Even if the political process was not self selecting for power brokers, the human desire to seek advantage that is the root of capitalism is so powerful that government and corruption have been synonymous throughout human history. If you want me to concede that business will strive to corrupt government – absolutely. But those economic systems with the least individual liberty seem to have the most government corruption. Those governments with the most power are always the most corrupt. Government will be corrupted to the extent that it has power. Good purposes do not prevent that.
        Business does not take away our freedom – ever. You are free to buy, or not, you are free to work or not. Even when your need say for food or a job is so great you feel coerced – the business did not create the need that compels you. The sole purpose of government is the use of force. Any task that can be done without the need for force does not require government. Even when we disagree on what business can do, the argument for government doing it is force. Only government can coerce the land rights needed for a railroad, or road. Only Government can compel universal health care, the “only government” argument is always followed by an atbest veiled reference to the use of force. The purpose of government is to use force to infringe on liberty. It is this very fact that makes it a magnet for corruption.
        When you see a problem – and mostly we all see the same problems, if your answer is almost always to use the unique attribute of government – the right to initiate force, and restrict liberty, then I think describing you as a statist is accurate. Possibly more important – if you do not atleast ask might government power have created this problem ? Might it make it worse ? Is there a way to solve this without government ? by limiting government ? Then you are a statist.
        This is where we part, I assume that wherever the curve of government benefits intersects individual liberty – wherever the point that value of lost liberty is exceeded by societal gain we have already gone far beyond it. You talk about freedom, and many of your complaints about the right and left are valid, but when it comes to solutions, the first and only thought is to more government.
        Five years ago I would have called myself a moderate. Like you I gave lip service to individual freedom. When a problem arose, I was sure that government action was required. I believed that a it was governments responsibility to defend out freedom. I have come to realise that every infringement on liberty I wanted fixed was rooted in government.

      • AMAC permalink
        July 21, 2011 7:00 pm

        Rick

        I enjoy your comments. The only disagreement I have is that I don’t believe that government regulations on business and wall street do limit personal freedom. I think that they ensure freedom for a larger group of people. I feel that the latest recession is proof that individuals and businesses cannot always be counted on to do the right thing. I worked for a publicly traded company on the S&P for 12 years. The executives and boards in charge of these companies are tasked with growing, expanding, and ensuring profitability. I don’t fault them for this. We all should endeavor to be profitable. However, someone has to step in for the greater good. Companies can be profitable and fair. While unions are increasingly weak, the government is the last line of defense for the 99% of us not making upper 6’s and 7 figures. As a moderate, I believe that regulations should work to prevent corruption and exploitation of the people, and ensure companies can remain competitive and profitable.

  2. July 9, 2011 6:59 pm

    Hahaha

    I do so love the freaks that blogs like ours bring out of the woodwork when they see people like us who don’t fit into their stupid little two dimensional, black and white/red and blue, worldview.

    My blog just had it’s one year anniversary. Keep it up man… we’ve both seen too many good bloggers go dark over the years. Hope to be able to keep reading yours for years to come.

    • Priscilla permalink
      July 9, 2011 10:23 pm

      An interesting, but not particularly moderate comment, in my view, Solomon.

      My own definition of moderate has more to do with what Rick aptly calls the “vast, silent, good-naturedly accommodating mid-region of the American political spectrum.” I tend to occupy the right of that region (almost all of the time), and I think that Rick tends to occupy the left ( at least some of the time), and there have been many times that we have disageed almost completely about an issue, but stayed within that accomodating zone of believing that reasonable, intelligent folks of good will can disagree.

      Once we cross over into the fevered swamp of anger and disdain directed at those who see the world in a different way, moderation becomes a difficult, if not impossible, path to follow.

      Happy Anniversary, New Moderate :)

      • July 11, 2011 6:00 pm

        The ability to debate an issue vigorously without malice, is independent of the political philosophy of the advocate.
        I am mostly an extremely mild easy going non-threatening person. I get shoved around alot. I am slow to anger. But I argue philosophical issues loudly – even in writing. As easily as I will let you walk all over me in most facets of daily live, I will debate an issue as if life depended on it.
        I strive not to insult people, and only to challenge ideas. But that can be hard. Rick claims the mantle of moderate – I know people I disagree with I would call moderate, and Rick is not one. I think Rick is attracted to moderate values, but still defaults to a presumption of the beneficence and goodness of government, and the exercise of government power as the default solution to a problem.

        Regardless, I frequent myriads of blogs, left right and across the spectrum. I find this blog very much like Matthew Yglesias on think progress, without some of the vitriol, but also less philosophical. But atleast here there is no serious name calling. The comment sections on far too many good blogs are almost exclusively ad hominem attacks and backslapping over the quality of insults. I find this an order of magnitude atleast worse on the left. But it is prevelent everywhere.

      • July 11, 2011 7:03 pm

        I’m not a moderate, I’m a centrist, and moderate doesn’t have anything to do with being tepid. If you’re satisfied with letting people run roughshod over you, more power to ya. I’m not. I talk plainly, and when I see a freakshow, I point it out. We need more centrists and moderates that verbally fight back… being the quiet majority doesn’t accomplish anything.

      • National Centrist Party permalink
        July 21, 2011 8:34 am

        Solomon, A Centrist is a moderate who has found his/her roots in a philosophy based on balance and adheres to it. Albeit, the person is not perfect, but has in a way ordained this way of life. Basic Moderates are tepid. They are “neither hot nor cold” Revelations 3:16 (Bible) and they are spewed out not only by God, but also by the two political parties.

        If you wish to be Centered you must be hot, because cold leaves you nowhere (Independent), and tepid (Moderate) leaves you an outcast.

        Centrist is a philosophy to those who wish to learn balance and are religious in speaking in a “balanced third-way” toward viewing the world. This includes looking at life in general, politics, philosophy, issues, relations, the mind, the body, everything!

        I had an “Enlightenment” some few years ago. Then I read a book the Dalai Lama wrote a few years later. His views are difficult to understand. I even had to read it over a few times. It confirmed my reasoning.

        Centrist philosophy follows an understanding that we must discover our world to understand it and live with it. Rather than to discover our world to change it and manipulate it. When you manipulate your world…you accept mankind will fight for agendas for selfishness. This is what separated “God” from “Man”. Both, man and God (“The Existing” prior to humans) are the only ones known to be able to “Create” and “Manipulate” and to a degree understand everything.

        Centrist philosophy dictates that mankind must make an effort to set an agenda where mankind in his learning doesn’t conquer the world, but learns to adapt to it in logic. Mans needs and the World’s needs must be balanced.

        When I look at the world…the position of the Earth in relation to the distance to the Sun. Christ’s Crucifixion position. His purple-colored robe. Everything speaks Centrist….it is the true “Third-Way”.

        Yes, Centrists need to be hot for their philosophy. Believers…knowing how to put it into practice would make us all more peaceful. Unfortunately, for people to become Centrists in a non-Centrist world…..including the U.S. We must balance Left-Wing/Right-Wing anger with Centrist anger. Knowing Centrist philosophy and then using it in anger is a balanced approach to reaching a perfect Harmony. Used any other way would be an abomination.

        Reminder: Going crazy over two parties and saying you represent the middle is idiotic. Use the teachings of the middle (Centrist Philosophy) to counteract both extremes. The teachings of the middle is just beginning my friend for our human species. Jesus tried and was “cut short” by the Right-Wing Pharisees and the Left-Wing Roman Empire. I believe that it wasn’t Jesus that was coming back….it was his teachings. Man has manipulated the teachings of Jesus for selfishness over the years. When man realizes his errors in selfishness that is when the teachings of Jesus comes back and we can all live in peace. Agreeing to disagree, but always looking for truth using facts in logic.

        Kent

    • July 10, 2011 12:32 pm

      Solomon: Oh, I don’t mind the slings and arrows… we moderates are always stepping into the crossfire between right and left, so we have to be thick-skinned. But thanks for the moral support. And congratulations on your own anniversary — you’ve come so far that it’s hard to believe you’ve only been blogging for a year. Continued success, comrade! (Can moderates have comrades? Sure… why not!)

      • July 10, 2011 1:47 pm

        Blogger buddy? haha

      • National Centrist Party permalink
        July 21, 2011 8:54 am

        Rick,

        I like your blog. I discovered that I like philosophy over power than most who would prefer to use power to dictate philosophy. I believe in many ways Jesus saw this and many others saw to understand mankind than to manipulate it. Socrates, Jesus come to mind in a peaceful sense. Others like MLK in a more radical, yet peaceful sense.

        I see blogs and comments on CNN and MSNBC of people who are emotionally driven to “Comment”. Which are mostly rants or idiotic statements. Rarely to I catch someone’s comments who have researched and put thought into their writing.

        If there was a way to promote a Centrist Website…like the one I would like built…I am sure we would have sign-ups across the country and many discussions blogs added to “stir-the-pudding” in thinking logically rather than emotionally (first).
        Kent

  3. July 10, 2011 12:41 pm

    Priscilla: I can’t think of anyone I’d rather disagree with. ;) As my most faithful reader over the past two years, you’ve always commented with civility and (of course) intelligence. Yes, you have a little more faith in free-market capitalism than I do, but it would be a pretty boring world if everyone simply agreed with me. Of course, when we do agree, I’m fine with that, too!

    • National Centrist Party permalink
      July 21, 2011 9:57 am

      Rick,

      Free-Market Capitalism is good as long as the people in the world want it to be this way. It is the best way to ensure a product balances based on supply or demand.

      A. The downside is that the owner/owners of a resource may not be good in finding the right sell price for the buyer….leading to high prices or low supply due to low prices.
      Or….
      B. The owner/owners may be choosy on who gets what… this is a “power trip” for the owner of the resource.

      1. It is my recommendation that sellers of resources should be competent people in economics education to some degree. I see many on the comments of CNN and MSNBC who have no economic sense….This goes back to poor education of money.

      2. It is also my recommendation that the seller should not be picky on the buyer, but should use their best “common sense”…which should be an innate ability that some/most haven’t found in some cases. Common Sense…meaning selling grenades to children. Not good.

      When you take a position to withhold or give incentives to certain individuals or…poorly set High/low prices you pick a winner and loser rather than a balanced winner/loser ratio where the problem is only on poor spending habits.

      Coupling this Free-Market System flaws with the poorly educated in economics (adults) and this is where I see most people get hung up on the Rich vs. poor, have’s vs. have not’s.

      Is it an individual/business that sells the product…yes. Should the person be held liable for selling a product that does harm…no. Unless the product is defective. Example: Selling knifes is a product that harms, but most likely not defective. The buyer has to use common sense of what is “sharp” can be harmful.

      Once the individual buys the product from another individual logic would dictate that the new owner is responsible. When you blame the seller thru emotions for making money without using facts and/or proof of negligence you can lessen the responsibility of the owner who bought the product. Thus, promoting more uneducated adults thru word-of-mouth.

      This works well for politics as most people are uneducated/naive adults in politics. It seems that “word-of-mouth” draws emotions on both sides to hate each other.

      There should be laws to protect in economics and politics, but individuals should be the governing factor. This is what the founding fathers were thinking. People rule the laws..not the other way around to where people assume they can slack off their responsibility.

  4. July 11, 2011 6:01 pm

    It is far less interesting to write a comment the gist of which is “me too”

  5. July 11, 2011 6:09 pm

    I felt a compelling need to out myself on Talking Points Memo as a demonstration of the chilling effect on speech of required disclosure.

    Apparently, that choice has accidentally carried itself over to the New Moderate.

    dhlii is a monicker I have used for decades. It is my signature in my work – software, art, ….

    The name behind that is Dave Lynch.
    I too have a web site, and a blog, but it is focused on my work which is mostly embedded software, and the blog is software with an unnamed libertarian tinge – free markets values appeal to clients but political labels do not.

    • Priscilla permalink
      July 12, 2011 7:16 am

      Why successful people in a free market are not so bad (should be mandatory viewing for those who think that folks who make over $200,000 should have their “excess income” largely confiscated by the government):

      • July 12, 2011 1:01 pm

        you know it’s really just left wingers who think it has anything to do with “excess income”, don’t you?

      • July 13, 2011 12:20 am

        Priscilla: Let me get this straight: the super-rich deserve their excessive income because they buy expensive new gadgets and help lower the prices for the rest of us? I dunno… I’d say it’s worth a little nod of gratitude, but somehow these folks were able to afford their gadgets back in the ’90s while paying higher Clinton-era taxes. I still say we end the Bush-era tax cuts now.

        For me, the most persuasive point of the video was to consider how much value we’d place on new media (like the internet) that we tend to take for granted. I’m always complaining about my soaring home media bills, but I’d probably be willing to pay even more to keep my internet access. (Don’t let Comcast hear me say that!)

      • National Centrist Party permalink
        July 21, 2011 11:25 am

        Rick,

        In a way Free-Market Capitalism allows rich individual people to expand research into improving life for those who have less. The cost of putting up a shop in the mall, advertising, etc. costs money and the rich have it or you can ask the government to do it for you (welfare via robbing your wallet), but it may take time or the invention is in their “agenda”.

        I like to make up my own mind when buying something. Some would like the government to force us to buy things. Which side do you choose?

        If you wish to choose your own destiny by making your own choices the one person who represents what you want is more likely the Rich person than the Government. The Government doesn’t give in to individuality, it is equality. That is why it is stated as “We the People”, not “I the individual”.

        When I see something that is newly invented and expensive to make then the rich person is who I would expect to pay the research to improve the marketing, technology, manufacturing in assembly line the product. It is the demand and supply. Not to mention brings in jobs.

        We all demand a good product and the easy access to Venture Capitalists provides money quickly and practically never ending as long as the product is attractive.

        You take Venture Capitalist money away to the Government the VC’s will close their hands and hold onto their remaining money in order to maintain their living status. Not creating jobs.

        The U.S. worked just fine in business before the Government Progressives in the early 1900’s with Karl Marx agenda’s robbed our paychecks. What the U.S. government should be doing is staying out of taking our money, but carefully ensuring that people are protected from thieves.

        Ironic, They take our money, say they are protecting you, tell you what you should buy, buy things you don’t want with your money, Borrow against your future income, borrow against your future retirement, bailout companies that should fail against your wishes in a so-called “Capitalist” society. Plus, they stimulate the economy based on ideology to Unions and big-fat Corporation cats that favor one party over others. To end it all they come to you and tell you it is Wall Streets fault that Government regulators were looking at porn all day long and downloading it…thousands of downloads. To even make it worse we all pay for this garbage and they threaten us with prison in order to validate on paper the money they take out of our paychecks weekly/bi.

        I would rather have a Venture Capitalist spend his/her extras bucks take a chance on a new invention and maybe bring it to me cheaply while creating a couple of good jobs.

      • August 28, 2012 8:58 am

        That video misses the mark by a mile- asking how much people would want to not have the internet is completely contradictory to the point it is trying to make. Firstly it would require much more to give up the internet completely- as it is pretty much essential to make use of it nowadays in a job, for finding a job, or in education to help you get a better job. It is also essential for a lot of business. (Unless, of course you are Amish.) It’s also a lot cheaper to buy goods on the internet than in a shop, and you have to get to the shop first which costs money for petrol or bus fares.

        Also, that people value their use of the internet that much has less to do with how much they would be prepared to pay for it, as to their percieved need of it.

  6. george.baxter@gmail.com permalink
    July 12, 2011 7:50 pm

    It’s nice to be a moderate, people don’t think you’re a raving loonie. Or maybe they don’t know you all that well.

    • National Centrist Party permalink
      July 21, 2011 11:35 am

      George,

      Raving loonie? Yea, that includes Centrists/Moderates/Independents/Libertarians. We can be angry and raving, but maybe with a little more emphasis on logic, common sense and using facts via research than the other two extremes philosophic agendas.

  7. July 13, 2011 12:28 am

    George: I’m a raving moderate. In fact, that was my original choice for the name of my blog, but it was already taken. So were “Militant Moderate,” “Radical Moderate” and even “Mad Moderate” — so I opted for the bland but authoritative-sounding “New Moderate.”

    • National Centrist Party permalink
      July 21, 2011 11:43 am

      Rick,

      I like New Moderate. It brings a view to a new person searching for a home away from the two main parties and many of the smaller ones. If I had a blog it would rather be New Centrist/Radical Centrist.
      Kent

  8. July 13, 2011 12:53 am

    Ah, so dhlii and Dave Lynch are one and the same! I should have guessed. You know, it’s a futile exercise to grade me based on your perceived opinion of what constitutes a moderate point of view. Of course I’m going to be more pro-government than you are: you’re a libertarian! I’m not.

    But believe me, I’m no fan of the government in its current incarnation. It’s corrupt almost beyond repair. And I subscribe to your belief that we should invite government intervention only when no other course of action seems to work. But I believe we’re already there; if corporate America is routinely outsourcing jobs and denying them to Americans… if an unregulated financial establishment is slowly but surely destroying the middle class… we can’t depend on the free market to correct itself.

    I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record (does that term mean anything to anyone under 40?), but we have an unemployment emergency that almost ranks with the mess FDR inherited in 1933. I think the government needs to scrap the current welfare and unemployment insurance systems — and create public works programs. We’d be putting spending money in people’s pockets while gaining something of value from them in return. You have to agree it’s a more productive use of funds than putting idle workers on the dole.

    • National Centrist Party permalink
      July 21, 2011 12:18 pm

      Rick,
      The Government is the problem. It has regulators that should be watching Wall Street (instead of porn)and politicians blame Wall Street. Politicians created the “everyone should own a home Policy” in 1999. Then they allowed Fannie Mae and Freddie to buy up everything. Government was allowed to buy because politicians didn’t want to control the market because Government was doing the buying.

      The Corporations are leaving because new inventions are cheaper to make in other places.
      The Government makes things expensive here (due to labor costs) and rich people will only have them longer before you get them. The Government will have to take more taxes to make the new invention because no one individual (rich or otherwise) wants to spend more than you can get cheap making something good in China. Granted some are bad products in China.

      The U.S. has the 2nd highest Corporate tax in the Developed World. Second to Japan. Japan is outsourcing to the U.S. Building car factories. Do you think the U.S. wouldn’t export it’s jobs being the 2nd? Corporate Tax is a extra hand in the middle of a money transaction. It takes away from lowering the cost of goods…keeping them high. Slows research because the money is being sucked into an extra coffers hands. Plus, Consumers pay more because of it. Plus, Consumers pay more if the company makes the products in the U.S.

      Corporate taxes are money off of the profits businesses make off the cost of goods sold. In order for the business to make a continued 10% profit….they have to add in another % for the Government’s portion (bailout)….thus the cost is higher for the consumer. Thus, an indirect taxation on the people…whereas…Income tax is direct on the people.

      Government started their “Bailout” system in 1913 when the politicians decided they were wanting to create programs to keep track/control of how people live. Government was at the whims of the people prior to this time.

      A projects system may work, but they already borrowed too much and spent the money unwisely allotted last few years. I don’t think asking for us more is the answer in order to “reshuffle our money”. Maybe it should be they leave us (the people) alone to start the jobs, maintain our family and stop asking to take our paychecks that we need for ourselves. Economists have been saying to the Government to stay low for a while now and let people do what they want like when the U.S. was in its prior 1913 world. Unfortunately, Government is not relenting on anything once laws are in place so…it is up to the emotions of the individual to determine when to spend and spread their own wealth when they feel least threatened.

      Kent

  9. Priscilla permalink
    July 13, 2011 7:23 am

    Solomon: That is not necessarily true – at least, not if you are defining “left wingers” as an fringe group. In that case, Obama is a left winger, based on his oft repeated statements that the rich – defined not necessarily as millionaires or billionaires, but as anyindivual or business earning $200K – should not be “allowed to keep additional income” that they do not need. A quick perusal of your blog indicates that you consider Obama to be a centrist.

    Rick: No, that is not the point. The point is that, in free markets, economies grow and innovation thrives, bringing prosperity to a greater number of people. That prosperity is not evenly distributed, because there is competition, and, as in any competition, there are winners and losers. In a growth economy, such as the one that Clinton inherited and presided over (hey, you brought him up ;) ), almost everyone benefits financially – of course, during the 90’s computers and the Internet came of age, massive reductions in military spending, begun after the collapse of the Soviet Union, allowed capital to be deployed to more economically productive ends, no major wars disrupted the world’s rapidly growing trade, etc. Plus, Clinton, although a liberal, was by no means a statist or corporatist on the scale of Obama – although there is plenty of evidence to suggest that his tax increases killed jobs and led to the recession inherited by Bush. I am not a particular fan of Bush, who in many ways was as much of a corporatist as Obama (just different corporate buddies), but bringing down the exorbitant Clinton tax rates almost certainly helped spur the recovery. And if we were in a growth period now, I would guess that there would be far less opposition to raising taxes…..but we are not in a recovery; on the contrary, we may be headed for a double dip recession and raising taxes would be unbelieveably destructive.

    I still struggle to understand your position that 30’s style government works programs, which most economists agree didn’t even end the Great Depression, are going to somehow jumpstart a thriving and successful free market. It is a Keynesian idea that hasn’t worked yet….

    • Priscilla permalink
      July 13, 2011 8:51 am

      Ok, before you come back at me (and rightfully so) with the argument there were other factors that led to the early 2000’s recession (end of the dot com bubble,etc) I acknowledge that . I’ll revise my hastily written commentary to say that the tax hikes didn’t help, but that the tax cuts did. :)

    • July 13, 2011 10:40 am

      Priscilla: I know that FDR’s job programs didn’t end the Great Depression, but they did something equally important: they put huge numbers of unemployed people to work and kept them from starving (as well as losing all hope that their government cared about them). We’re in a borderline depression right now, nobody’s hiring, and we can’t depend on the free market system to feed all these marginalized folks. (It’s sort of like depending on God to help the people of Haiti.)

      Your faith in the trickle-down economy is touching, and not entirely without merit… but when you come down to it, how many of those super-rich (who are currently paying super-low taxes compared with any other time since 1950) are in a position to hire, even if they had a little more discretionary income? Think about it. Hedge fund managers and investment bankers do just fine on their own, thanks… I don’t see them offering to share the wealth with anyone further down the socioeconomic pyramid. Corporate CEOs who make $20 million a year won’t personally hire anyone, either, other than an extra gardener or maid; it’s their companies that do the hiring. And if they only get to keep $13 million instead of $15 million, I don’t see it making a huge difference in their lifestyles.

      Most of the people in a position to hire are middle-class entrepreneurs; they wouldn’t even be affected by raising tax rates on the rich. We do need to modify our corporate tax structure to encourage hiring — though we also need to modify it so that we no longer subsidize giants like GE, whose nonpayment of taxes is a disgrace. And even with that massive tax break, how much hiring are they doing in this country?

      Bottom line: when people are starting to go hungry in America, we can’t just fly the flag of free-market capitalism and expect everything to get better. I’m afraid we’re going to have riots on our hands if the government doesn’t step in and do what our corporations are supposed to be doing: creating jobs here in the U.S.

      • National Centrist Party permalink
        July 21, 2011 12:45 pm

        Rick,

        The Super-Rich? Are you speaking of the Capital Gains that Warren Buffett, George Soros, and Bill Gates make at the 20% being raised above the working Rich who get a paycheck being taxed at 35%?

        Many people say “tax the rich”…Who Soros or the business owner/CEO who has to wake up for a paycheck? Soros has 11 tons of Gold the CEO maybe double millions. Soros 20% taxation. CEO 35%.

        It seems to me that the politicians want to pick on the top Income tax bracket who is paying the most in taxes and forced to work, but not the extremely wealthy who makes money “off other people’s backs”.

        Yet, it’s all to get the politician to take from the highest worker, not the highest valued person.

        Seems rather depressing…to know you are working to feed yourself and family while the Government wants to come in and tear you down as you become successful until you can no longer work for a living.

        As far as trickle-down economics that is subjective. A janitor who is poor will not give you a paycheck. The owner with money (has to have) will give you money. That is trickle-down. Whether it is a lot of money or enough to get by…that is your decision. If you don’t like it….get a new job.

        When I give an allowance to my son it is trickle-down. I don’t ask the Government to snoop into my wallet and write a check to my son. And it certainly isn’t a bottom-up approach. My daughter doesn’t have a job so she can’t pay my son’s allowance.

        Cutting out the subsides would give us a good view of our economy. Corporate taxes not only help lower product cost on the shelf, but also allows more money into the companies accounts to hire more people.

        GE is Union, thus Bailout money, subsides. Cut them loose. Sink or swim.

        Kent

      • National Centrist Party permalink
        July 21, 2011 12:50 pm

        Rick,

        Correction. Less or no Corporate Taxes not only help lower product cost on the shelf, but also allows more money into the companies accounts to hire more people.

        Corporate Taxes are only there to feed the Governments spending habits which we all pay into whether we like it or not.
        Kent

    • July 13, 2011 4:02 pm

      Are you purposefully trying to make yourself look stupid, Priscilla?

      Rise of the Center has taken on this misperception of Obama as a centrist at least a half dozen times. He’s not a centrist, or even a moderate, he’s a mainstream (not extreme) liberal on the whole, who is willing to compromise to get things done. Giving him props for pushing a compromise deal is not anything like calling him a centrist.

      I don’t know how you got this idea that we think Obama is a centrist. Certainly not by anything we’ve said, unless you slather on as much BS as the left and right wingers who call us (respectively) closet conservative or liberals, pretending there isn’t such thing as the center, since it doesn’t fit into their tidy little ideological black and white world.

      Obama has not said anything (that I’ve seen) to suggest he thinks the wealthy should pay more because they have “excess income”. He clearly believes, as the vast majority of the country believes, in progressive taxation. The wealthy get more from society, so paying higher rates is fair. If Obama could wave a magic wand I’m sure his rate would be higher than mine, but I’ve not seen him say anything that led me to his reasoning being that the wealthy made excess money. Those things are not at all necessarily tied together.

      • National Centrist Party permalink
        July 21, 2011 1:32 pm

        Solomon,

        Obama is definitely not a Centrist. He is left-wing. I expected him to play to the center once he had his “Change” closed in the 2010 elections.

        He did move to the Center…only in making promises and sounding like one, but his mind and heart is dead center leftist.

        Obama says that the “Rich” need to pay their “fair share”. I would gather it is in taxes? Forcing someone to contribute is like putting a gun to someone’s head. Yet the left thinks this is all fine. The Right thinks leaving people alone to contribute is all fine. But with low educated people who don’t know how to handle money and understand politics. I would rather shoot for the center and offer a ‘third alternative’.

        It is called inspiring someone to act without force. Incentives to help others. “Pay it Forward” comes to mind.

        Yes, many believe in Progressive taxation, because that is all they know. If you show a poor person two values of their paycheck. One with money valued to prior to taxes and one after taxes. Which do you think they would choose? People in this country are low educated on the theft the Government is doing and just accept they are doing their “fair share” because politicians say they are in their “corner” for the “little guy”. Yea, right! This is said so much more when elections are in full swing.

        The 1913 Progressive Tax is a “depression tax”. It is set to depress you as you become more successful. Yes, under the Progressive Tax the highest paid worker (CEO) should pay more. They should feel more “depressed” than most of us making less, but they aren’t because of their success.

        Why?

        Because the system is flawed! It is made to keep the workers at the bottom depressed and asking for more from the Government. You add in poor education and then you have everyone asking the rich to become poor and “share the wealth”. The “rich” become the scapegoat for your lifestyle. Hey, it worked for Nazi Germany against the Jews.

        Making excess money is determined by the person owning it. I make a budget on what I expect daily delivering pizza. If I make more it is excess. The other guy might think it isn’t. Determining who has excess money is subjective.

        Last, we all share ideas to better ourselves. Calling people names is an emotional outburst before thinking to explain yourself. It makes you less likely to listen to. We all are learning together.

        Kent

      • National Centrist Party permalink
        July 21, 2011 2:21 pm

        Second, I read your blog. I found it rather Radical Centrist. More aggressive than I would write normally because I like to keep my emotions out and try to think logically.

        I found the starting a Third Party entertaining. It is all about bringing people together and forming than winning a position of power that only lasts a short time.

        As a growing group we would make ourselves in the center known at the right time.

  10. Priscilla permalink
    July 13, 2011 5:16 pm

    I will end my commentary on this blog at this point by saying 1) 200K is not super rich, and my “touching” sympathy for the free market is shared by many highly educated and reasonable moderates and 2) Solomon, your blog is very run-of-the-mill , boilerplate anti-conservative, pro-Obama. I only read a little bit, because I was bored with it. Perhaps I missed the good stuff ;)

    Rick, regards on your blogging anniversary. New Moderate has been a nice place to visit but, much as I admire you and enjoy the give and take of reasoned argument, I do not enjoy being snarked at and called stupid.

    • July 13, 2011 5:59 pm

      You haven’t been paying attention if you think our blog is just anti-conservative. We have a few centrists, as well as a few moderate liberals and a few moderate conservatives, and we go after the left all the time, overall I’d say as much as the right over the course of the year we’ve been around. If you think you can judge a blog off of a few days where the right is genuinely being more worthy of scorn on the biggest issue, then that’s your own fault for judging so quickly.

  11. valdobiade permalink
    July 13, 2011 6:20 pm

    Priscilla,
    You’re a smart lady. I hope that Solomon will apologize for his “ad hominem” remark. Blogs are for studying, analyzing and have opinions about economic, political etc. issues not persons. There are forums and BB where personal opinions and views can be discussed and even flames be exchanged… but not in blogs. Solomon should have seen the difference between blogs and forums or chat rooms.

    • July 13, 2011 6:36 pm

      My remarks were anything but ad hominem. She jumped to stupid conclusions.

      • July 13, 2011 7:07 pm

        OK, I was afraid something like this would happen eventually. It happens on my cynic’s site all the time, but I expect it there.

        Solomon, we don’t flame each other here. If you disagree with someone, feel free to disagree. But pretend you’re on TV… even if you were in a hot debate with Ann Coulter, it wouldn’t be proper to hurl insults at her. FYI: Priscilla is one of the least stupid people I know (that’s an understatement). She deserves better from you. Try to cool off and don’t get hung up on labels. I don’t even make a real distinction between centrists and moderates.

  12. July 13, 2011 7:50 pm

    I didn’t flame her, I asked if she was trying to seem stupid. People do this all of the time online, pull one snippet out of context and pretend it is a trend. It’s a debate tactic, and one that both makes a person look stupid, and dumbs down debates.

    • July 13, 2011 11:16 pm

      Solomon: Ehh… you might not have meant that she’s stupid, but unfortunately that’s the way it came across. I can understand how you might have thought she was being deliberately selective (so are most debaters, for that matter), but you can’t really expect her to read and absorb your entire blog before she comments on it.

      Anyway, try to remember that we’re talking to actual human beings here… sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of that fact when all we see are words on a screen. We have important work to do as moderate/centrist activists… let’s not fight among ourselves when we have the rest of the political spectrum to fight with.

      • July 14, 2011 12:45 am

        I think it’s far worse to use politically correct bleach on chatter than it is to irk oversensitive people who don’t like it when people point out their mistakes without using kid gloves.

        Case in point… if you say something patently false about Rise of the Center, and I see it (and I usually do, using the magic of automatic google blog searches), I will throw it back in your face. If you don’t want that to happen, don’t say things that are, you guessed it, patently false about me, my bloggers and/or my blog. You don’t like my blog, or have a difference of opinion, I don’t care, but if you state something demonstrably false, you’re damn straight I’m gonna throw it back in your face, and you’ve earned it.

        If you read between the lines and assume I’m calling her stupid, and not actually asking the question, thats not my fault and aint no skin off my back. Oh no… someone is offended on the internet… happens to me several times a day just because the views expressed on Rise of the Center don’t fit into the aforementioned red/blue world of hard core partisans. I’m not going to stop defending my site vehemently because somoene chooses to be offended by me answering false claims about my site, any more than I’m not going to blog because some folks on the left or right are offended that my perspective doesn’t fit into their narrow worldviews.

    • Priscilla permalink
      July 18, 2011 12:17 am

      Ok, I’m back (thanks, Rick and valdo, for vouching for the fact that I possess brain cells).

      And, I am glad that it is no skin off your back, Solomon (although I believe the phrase is “no skin off my nose”, but whatever)….but I do have a question for you. You seem to think that I stated something “demonstrably false” – and of course, that gave you the right to “throw it back in my face.” (note: check your own blog rules about purposefully trying to piss people off)

      So, I have a question: what exactly did I state that actually WAS demonstrably false?

      And, no, I am not trying to seem “purposefully stupid,” I genuinely do not know what that could be. If it was our disagreement over Obama’s statement that he would not agree to a debt limit settlement that allowed people to keep additional income that “they don’t need, ” well….google it.

      If it was that I said that your blog struck me as somewhat less than centrist, well….that may be demonstrably false to you, but, surely, you cannot be so thin-skinned as to attack me and call my opinion “demonstrably false” because I perceive the site as excessively anti-right. Right?

      Maybe I simply prefer a more civilized, less in-your-face style of debate – and that is why I choose to post comments on New Moderate and other blogs that encourage a less vitriolic style of debate.

      I am genuinely sorry that I insulted your blog- which I did. On second read, it is not boring at all. But it does not strike me as particularly “centrist” either. That is my opinion, and – trust me – I do not have a narrow worldview….but I don’t use kid gloves either, and I call it as I see it.

      • Priscilla permalink
        July 18, 2011 7:27 am

        Actually Rick, this little – ahem! – episode of mine, leads me to make one more point about why The New Moderate is, I think, an exceptional blog. I am fascinated by the fact that political junkies (not a pejorative term, in my book) can argue endlessly about their point of view, attack (in a rhetorical sense!) those to the left and to the right of them, but, in the end, rarely reject or modify the positions with which they entered the debate. So, comment threads on most blogs seem to eventually devolve into echo chambers and/or flame wars.

        For the most part, your comment threads here on The New Moderate have tended NOT to devolve, despite the fact that your commentariat is pretty diverse and not opposed to expressing strongly worded opinions. That is due, in large part, I believe to your genuinely moderate (and here I differentiate a bit between “moderate” and “centrist”) posts and your very temperate comment moderation. For this, I award you the most moderate moderator prize ;)

      • July 18, 2011 5:17 pm

        Thanks, Priscilla. I like to learn from other people’s perspectives, and sometimes I even modify my own as a result. (Of course, it’s nice when I can modify other people’s perspectives, too.)

        It’s interesting that we have no extreme right- or left-wingers commenting here, yet the diversity of opinion is enough to keep the discussions lively (that’s putting it mildly). Nobody can accuse me of preaching to the choir, because we moderates really don’t have a choir — we tend to think for ourselves, and that’s a good thing.

  13. valdobiade permalink
    July 15, 2011 10:53 pm

    Francois wrote: But I must admit, today, that my heart does feel for socialism, but only if it can be presented in a rational form which recognizes human nature, a form which does not devolve into totalitarianism, but instead leads to a sincerely humane form of capitalism, if any sense can be made of this proposition.
    —————————–
    Nothing new here. Back in Romania, after 1989 Revolution and fall of Communism, the firsts steps were to create a “socialism with human face”.
    Capitalism by definition is “dog eats dog” but at least it shows how humans are, socialism may work for a while but in the end the power corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolute- then people go back to totalitarianism where “one dog eats all dogs”

    Francois wrote:This is true, valdo, but I find Capitalism to be equally authoritarian to the purest form of Socialism. It simply represents a shift of power from the public to the private.
    In the end, socialists and capitalists are actually very much alike.
    ————————
    Yeah, you’re right too, but you see… In Socialism you have only one centralized boss who dictates what’s good for the country (actually what is good for the boss mostly). When there is a bankruptcy, the whole country gets in the crapper. In capitalism you have corporations, thus more bosses who dictates what is good for the country (actually what is good for the corporation boss mostly). When one corporation is bankrupt the other can thrive. However, here is the point where you’re right, the capitalist in the US ask a socialist govern (as they call Obama) to get them out of the crapper by bailing them with the people tax money. It is not fair, the US should go on a Socialist way for the capitalists are greedy and stupid.

    • July 18, 2011 5:21 pm

      Valdo, are you talking to yourself? ;) I enjoyed your dialogue with Francois, and you’re right that our current corporatist capitalism closely resembles socialism (I’ve long compared corporations to miniature totalitarian states) — the difference being that with socialism you have one dictatorial authority as opposed to multiple dictatorial authorities under corporatism.

      • Anonymous permalink
        July 19, 2011 12:27 pm

        Well, it was a dialog with a guy named Francois. I wanted to illustrate that if we have to call something stupid, then call stupid the actions of some corporations that went begging for bail out. Priscilla had some good experience working in the corporate area, but we should not call names a few people who enjoyed the corporatist way of working.
        I had about 7-8 years of enjoying working in the corporation, but in the end it was greediness and stupid decision that in the end left 200 people lay-off. The corporation moved all jobs in Taiwan after 7-8 years in the US when people here in the US worked to establish a new technology in creating a special ceramic and machining it for semiconductors. About 2 years ago I read that the company folded because Taiwan makes these products very cheap, but enough to bring some dough to the former CEO who invested. Good for him, but what about Americans left in the deep shit?
        A parallel between corporations and Communism: I also enjoyed the first 15 years of Communism in Romania… the last 10 years, before the fall, were the shitty years. What is worse with the corporations is that they come to beg a “socialist Obama” to bail them out because they are “too big to fail”. Shame!

  14. Jesse C permalink
    July 18, 2011 2:37 pm

    I’ve been reading since late 2009, but this is my first post. Happy Anniversary to Rick and blog and kudos to all of you for restoring my faith that intelligent, sane and rational debate is still possible on the internet. :-)

    • July 18, 2011 5:25 pm

      Jesse: You made my day… many thanks! And congratulations on your first post! (I’ve been a silent reader of other blogs myself, and I should probably let them know I appreciate their efforts.) Hope you’ll offer your comments here from time to time.

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