Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Myth of Moderates (Originally Published 12/22/10)

"Moderate." One of the most beloved descriptions of oneself in American politics today. (See also independent).  People love calling themselves a moderate. Why?  Because it defines you as a peacemaker.  As someone who is willing to compromise. Someone who rationally considers every issue on its merits rather than based on hardnosed political beliefs.

Sure sounds good to be a moderate right?  We all want to be seen as a peacemaker, willing to compromise, and not as a hardnosed ideologue. If nothing else, these values make you a great spouse.  But politically speaking, is being moderate a good thing?

Before I tackle that question, let's first decide if there really is such a thing as a Moderate.  There seem to be three types of people who consider themselves to be Moderates.  Let's tackle the first two together:

RINOs and DINOs (n):        
RINO: Republican in Name Only                  
DINO: Democrat in Name Only

Let’s consider two of the most famous.  Unfortunately, DINOs are becoming extinct fast, so I have to use a retroactive example, Senator Joe Lieberman (I - Connecticut).  As for RINOs, let's go with Senator Olympia Snowe (R - Maine).

Joe Lieberman's Politics in a Nutshell (1):  Senator Lieberman has received a grade of 100 from the Abortion Rights Organization. Co-Sponsored the Clean Air Act (1990).  Has received a letter grade of F from the National Rifle Association.

Olympia Snowe's Politics in a Nutshell (2):  Senator Snowe is pro-abortion and pro-gay rights.  She was the only Republican to vote for the Tax Fairness & Economic Growth Act (1992) which helped President Bill Clinton institute the largest income tax increase in history.

Both of these individuals are often characterized as "Moderates." Their political history, however, shows them to be LIBERALS! I grant you, they are less liberal than Barrack Obama, John Kerry, etc.  But they are in fact liberals. 

These two groups are in actuality one group of so-called "moderates." They are liberals who do not want to be called liberals so they therefore call themselves moderates.  This is not surprising, considering 42% of Americans consider themselves Conservative, while only 20% call themselves Liberal.  (3% presumably gave some other answer.  It is the remaining 35% we discuss now..."moderates.") (3)

These liberals who call themselves moderates are simply trying to put new packaging on themselves.  As someone who sells advertising for a living, I understand this.  As a Christian, this is a lie which bothers me.   However, the reason these liberals who call themselves moderates do so is simple.  Liberals are out of the mainstream.  As I presented in a previous blog (4), Conservatives ARE the mainstream.  (I won't restate that argument.  It's linked at the bottom.)  Thus, for these liberals to get elected BY the mainstream, they have to reinvent themselves as something palatable to the mainstream.

Now to the final group of "moderates." As much as the ones above I mentioned annoy me, it is this final group which drives me the craziest.  These are the people who consider themselves more thoughtful than those of us who are on the left or the right.  They consider every issue on its merits and therefore arrive at a more evolved conclusion.  They are generally huge jerks.
We all know these people.  They are proud of the fact that they are registered as an Independent and trumpet it at all opportunities. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a registered Republican.  While I stand by my statement that I am a Conservative not a Republican, in the great state of New York (where I live) you must be registered with a particular party in order to vote in their primary elections, and I want a say on what candidate gets the nomination!
I for one reject this premise that sitting on the fence makes someone more intellectual.  I do in fact decide my opinion on each issue based on its merit, as these "moderates" also claim to do.  Here is the difference. I make my decisions based on three things.  In social issues, I make those decisions based upon my faith.  I am a Born-Again, Pentecostal Christian.  I believe the Bible is the infallible Word of the Living God.  When a social issue comes up, I make my decisions based on the Bible.  With economic issues, I make my decisions on what works.  Period.  Does this economic policy succeed or fail.  The rare item that does not fit into one of these two categories, I make my decision based upon the Constitution of the United States. 

What does the U.S. Constitution say?

Moderates want us to believe that they are making their decisions issue by issue but are somehow landing in the center every leg on each side of the fence.  Let me give you some examples:

Abortion:  As a Christian, I believe that the unborn child is a human being.  As a human being, it is entitled to certain inalienable rights; among which (and supreme) are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However that child has come to be, it has the right to live.
One of the most prominent moderate arguments on abortion is "allow abortion only if the mother's life is in danger or in cases of rape."  Here is my response:

In terms of mother's life in danger, one of the preeminent parts of the doctor's Hippocratic Oath is to save the more viable life.  If the mother is more likely to live, save the mother, if the child is more likely to live save the child.  I am fine with this is simply good medicine.
In terms of an instance of rape, I do understand and I do sympathize with the woman who has been impregnated by rape.   These circumstances are incredibly rare, at least if we include ONLY forcible rape.  (For more on the difference see reference 5).  While it absolutely stinks that this woman who has been through the trauma of rape be asked to carry this unfortunate child to term, the child does have the right to life.  In essence, I am suggesting the human rights of the unborn child (right to life) outrank the civil rights of the woman (right to pursue happiness aka right to do what she wishes with her body).

If I am correct and that unborn child is in fact human, how is it a good thing to decide that it is ok to kill a few of these children under extreme circumstances? 

Taxes:  Liberals want the taxes of the rich to be high.  Conservatives want them low.  The moderate position is to keep the rates LESS HIGH. 

However, historically, every time the top marginal tax rates have been cut, a time of economic prosperity follows.  Let us take the top marginal tax rate under Carter (70%) vs. Reagan (28%).  Setting aside from the fact that the economy boomed during the Reagan years, lets simply look at the dollars and cents brought into the federal coiffeurs. Under Carter, the federal government took in $500 billion in tax revenue annually. Under Reagan it was $1.1 trillion annually! Adjusted for total inflation over 8 years, Reagan STILL brought in 50% more revenue than Carter with low taxes! Even if the goal was to raise more revenue (which Liberals will tell you it is), you raise more revenue with lower taxes. 

The reason for this is because the "rich" are also often business owners.  Given extra capital to invest in their business, these individuals often create new or better products/services, which often increases the demand for their product/service which causes them to hire more people!  These new people who are now working (who previously were not) are paying taxes.  Perhaps each individual pays less, but with more taxpayers the total revenue goes up.
By picking a middle ground (say a 45% tax rate on the top bracket) you are logically only going to see less of these good economic results.

Gun Control:This issue is one that falls into neither social (moral) or economic categories which I have previously mentioned. However, Gun Control is a Constitutional issue. Before we go into the sides, let us look at the text of the 2nd Amendment:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." (6)

There are Liberals who believe the 2nd Amendment is outdated because people don't require guns to hunt (completely missing the purpose of the 2nd Amendment).  The Conservative belief is that there should not be regulation on what type of gun a person can own, with exceptions ONLY for such things as nuclear missiles (if you really need me to, I can give you a reason for this). 

The moderate view, therefore, is something akin to "you can have certain types of gun, but you don't NEED to own an assault riffle, etc.)

Unfortunately, this moderate restriction IS an infringement on the Right to Bear Arms!  The reason is enclosed within the reason the for the 2nd Amendment. The 2nd Amendment exists so that any person in the United States would not be left defenseless...either from another individual, or a wild animal, or from a tyrannical government.

It is this last point I want to highlight.  We have the right to bear arms in case we must overthrow a tyrannical government again, as we did in 1776.  Saying that a citizen cannot have an AK-47 is infringing upon this right, because if we must overthrow our government to stop that government's tyranny (NOTE THAT I AM NOT ADVOCATING VIOLENT REVOLUTION HERE!!!) we are going to have a very tough time when the government is fighting with AK-47s and we are fighting with .22 rifles and 12 gauge shotguns. 

Granted, this has not been necessary since 1776, nor do I expect it to be necessary.  We have elections nationally every 2 years which are essentially a peaceful revolution each time we vote one person out and vote another in.  But, given the possibility that it may happen someday, and we may have to once again state...

"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."  (7)

...we as free people must have the right to fight back within kind.  A moderate point of view will leave us unable to do so. 

What in heaven's name is my point, you ask?  Simply that this self described "moderate" point of view isn't well thought out at all!  It isn't taken from a moral perspective, it isn't taken from a logical perspective, and it isn't taken from a Constitutional perspective!  It is neither moral nor successful nor Constitutional (in many cases). It is simply looking at the Conservative perspective, looking at the Liberal perspective, and plopping down at the halfway mark between the two. 

Being a moderate is either akin to being a fence sitter, to being indecisive; or being a Liberal or Conservative without wanting to claim that title for yourself for fear of reaction. 

To those of you who are really Liberals, call yourself Liberals!  If you truly believe in what you espouse, you should have no problem standing on that platform.  (Sure, you have no chance of getting elected outside of New York, California, Taxachusetts, etc, but at least you'll be HONEST!)

If you are Conservative, be proud of being a Conservative! Not only are you part of the largest group of Americans, but you stand for something!  Also, real Conservatism WINS every time it runs (exceptions include liberal bastions like New York, California, and Taxachusetts, but those states the exception, not the rule).

Note to Liberals and Conservatives who call themselves moderates: If you consider each issue on its merits and land on the Conservative side you are in fact a Conservative. If you consider each issue on its merits and land on the Liberal side you are in fact a Liberal. Despite following the Moderate's cry of "I consider each issue on it's merit," Conservatism is a set of values, not a process of choosing values. The same is true for Liberalism (albeit it is a wrong set of values, in my opinion).  If you don't sit on the fence, you aren't a moderate!

Now to you people who really do sit on the fence:  STOP TELLING US HOW WISE YOU ARE! I think I speak for all of us on the Right (and probably some on the Left) when I say "get over yourself."  We also take our time to consider each issue.  We just make our decisions based on real, concrete values which cause us to land on one side. 

And in the end, I think that is better.
(1) Political Opinions of Joe Liberman - Wikipedia -

(2) Olympia Snowe - Wikipedia -
(3) In 2010, Conservatives Still Outnumber Moderates, Liberals - Gallup -

(4) "Conservatives are the Center" by Christopher Bastedo -

(5) The majority of rapes reported in this country are statuatory rape.  The majority of those cases of statuatory rape it is the female who is under the legal age of consent and the male is only a few years older.  For example, a 15 year old girl who is dating an 18 year old boy while both are in high school.  Both give consent but the girl is not legally old enough to do so.  Her father then presses charges.

(6) The Constitution of the United States, 2nd Amendment -

(7) The Declaration of Independence -

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