The New Moderate Q&A
Q. What on earth possessed you to start a blog for moderates, anyway?
A. Nature abhors a vacuum, and so do I. The vast mid-range of the political spectrum lacked a galvanizing voice, so I decided to clear my throat and start galvanizing.
Q. But there are already numerous moderate blogs out there for the reading. Why yours?
A. Can you name any of them off the top of your head? Didn’t think so. Our mission (and I’ve chosen to accept it) is to light a fire under the moderate majority — at least the minority of moderates who actually take an interest in public affairs and ideas. The New Moderate wants them to lose their inhibitions and make noise; otherwise the political debate in the U.S. will continue to be controlled by ideologues on the right and the left.
Q. Don’t the extremists contribute to the vital push-and-pull of ideas in a free society?
A. Yes. They’re responsible for quite a lot of pushing and pulling.
Q. You don’t want to silence them, do you?
A. No, and I couldn’t even if I wanted to. I just don’t believe that two erroneous ideas in opposition will necessarily lead to a good idea. A donklephant (with apologies to Donklephant.com) is still a grotesque creature. Believe it or not, moderate ideas don’t always take the form of a compromise.
Q. An example, please?
A. Take lobbying, a dubious institution favored by lefties and righties alike. Both camps use lobbying to push their one-sided agendas, generally by stealth and thinly veiled bribery. A thinking moderate would conclude that lobbyists are hazardous to our public health, and would denounce them in no uncertain terms. A radical moderate would push to criminalize any flow of money from lobbyists to representatives.
Q. Sounds pretty vehement. Are you sure you’re a moderate?
A. Absolutely. I’m just not your traditional, excessively polite, garden-variety, namby-pamby moderate. That’s why I call my creation The NEW Moderate. I’d like to be known as a moderate firebrand.
Q. Moderate firebrand? Isn’t that sort of an oxymoron?
A. Not anymore. The New Moderate intends to kick butt — righteously, of course. I’d like to make it safe for moderates to espouse radical ideas when radical ideas are justified. After all, moderates can be revolutionaries, and vice versa. Look at George Washington and Ben Franklin, to name just a few moderate revolutionaries.
Q. But doesn’t a radical stance on any issue automatically make you a leftist?
A. No, that’s the big misconception about us: that moderates are locked into bland, middle-of-the-road solutions… that we can’t demand change and still be moderates. A true moderate believes in balance for the good of society: the greatest good for the greatest number. It disturbs us (and it should) when special-interest groups upset that balance to remake society in their own image. Whether the great scale is tipped toward the insatiable plutocrats of Wall Street or “progressives” who ban conservatives from campus, we moderates want to tip it back toward the center. Sometimes this act requires a lot of forceful tipping.
Q. But wouldn’t it be pretty boring if everyone were a sensible moderate?
A. It probably would, and I’d be the first to admit it. But I don’t expect everyone to be a moderate. I wouldn’t even want everyone to be a moderate. (We need extremist ideas for comic relief, if nothing else.) Believe it or not, I actually enjoy the push-and-pull of conflicting ideas. But politics is like a see-saw. If one side carries too much weight, the see-saw will thump to the ground. We need a strong moderate presence to keep the see-saw in motion.
Q. Does that mean you have to sit in the middle of the see-saw, shifting your balance when one side weighs it down?
A. You’ve got it. And the tricky part is that we have several see-saws going at once: for example, right now the economic see-saw has been tilting toward the right while the cultural see-saw tilts toward the left. That keeps us pretty busy, and it’s why we need a strong middle now more than ever.
Q. How’s your traffic by the way?
A. Don’t ask.
Q. Too late; we already did.
A. All right, since you asked: fairly dismal, but that’s to be expected for a moderate blog, and a relatively new one at that. Most moderates have a tendency toward apathy, but we aim to change all that. The recent flurry of comments has been encouraging, at least. We’re building an audience, one moderate at a time.
Q. Good luck.
A. Thanks. I’ll need it. So will the U.S. if moderate voices don’t prevail.