Who needs moderation today? At first sight, the present moment does not seem to be ripe for moderation. As long as we live in echo chambers and democratic norms are being defied and undermined by politicians who exhibit erratic patterns of behavior and an insatiable appetite for domination, embracing moderation seems to be a self-defeating course of action. As a political theorist who has been researching this elusive virtue for over a decade, I have learned two important things about it.1 First, writing about moderation often amounts to a silent condemnation to solitude and marginality. This virtue never makes the headlines in our cable news world and it is conspicuously absent from the agenda of many politicians and parties. We know who the lions and foxes of the world are, but the moderates, whoever they may be, rarely appear on our radar screens. Second, the conventional image of moderation as a weak and ineffective virtue deserves to be challenged and revised. Edmund Burke was aware that moderation had often been stigmatized as âthe virtue of cowards and compromise as the prudence of traitors.â And yet, he still regarded it as the virtue of noble and superior minds. âIn all changes in the state,â Burke claimed, âmoderation is a virtue, not only amiable but powerful. It is a disposing, arranging, conciliating, cementing virtue.â2
One may wonder why Burkeâs defense of moderation seems so alien to many of us today. Donât we need this virtue in our current political world to countervail the influence of misguided ambition and curb the insatiable desire for (more) power and domination? This is arguably a rhetorical question. That is why I have been encouraged by the sudden revival of interest in a virtue which, for all its limitations, remains essential to the smooth functioning of our representative institutions. Jerry Taylorâs essay âThe Alternative to Ideologyâ (October 29, 2018) and the Niskanen Center policy essay âThe Center Can Hold: Public Policy for an Age of Extremesâ (December 2018) are bold manifestos for moderation that highlight the pitfalls of ideological thinking and the dangers of the âmonomaniacal pursuit of a single ideaâ at all costs.3 Both texts extend a timely invitation to those who are not fearful of swimming against the current to rediscover the nuances of a complex, contested, and often misunderstood virtue. They are likely to raise some eyebrows, perhaps even trigger some interesting controversies. We can only hope that they will start a larger debate on an important virtue in scarce supply in Washington and beyond. Here I would like to contribute to this conversation by summarizing a few lessons I have learned while studying moderation in historical perspective.
I'm so exciting! This is one of the very few major party candidates I would consider voting for. Hopefully there is enough thirst for open and free non partisan thought out there to give her a chance, but I fear her problem will be more on the left than the middle and right.
It is January 2019. This signals the start of the 2020 election circus. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the first big-name Democrat on stage. But we will soon be deluged with candidates, bizarre antics and endless commentary by fatuous TV and radio pundits. The hyperventilating, the constant polling, the updates on who has the largest campaign war chest, the hypothetical matches between this hopeful and that hopeful, the mocking tweets by Donald Trump, will, as we saw in the 2016 election campaign, have as much relevance to our lives and political future as the speculation on cable sports channels about next yearâs football season. This farce takes the place of genuine political life. (...)
One of the interesting things to me is that infrastructure spending is mentioned as a politically palatable option that could potentially nip a recession in the bud if applied judiciously. If Trump were smart politically he'd be looking to lay the groundwork for such a bill with Dems. Since he isn't, well . . . I guess Trumpsters are going to have to hope that GOP leadership does it for him, like everything else.
i think trump wants to spend a ton of money on infrastructure
i know there was interest and i think he floated something out there
but not sure what happened
i wouldn't doubt his willingness to spend a few trillion dollars