In a recent post, A call to arms, I bemoan the paucity of strong background analysis of the election processes in the
Having been spoiled by a reasonably independent media here in Australia, in Canada and Britain and parts of Europe; been dazzled by feisty academics, economists and historians ready to go bare knuckles on issues of critical analysis; and perhaps a culture less inclined to be compliant, I find the lack of intellectual curiosity in the US disturbing.
Now I know one example isn’t the be all and end all, but it is a start and one I’m willing launch from and with a little luck be proved totally wrong. In my search I found The Gruntled Center. I have no doubt this bloke is a nice guy and well meaning, but he is also a Sociology professor, though he qualifies that with ‘Latte-sipping intellectual’. Anyone slightly serious would settle for nothing less than an espresso…
Let me put this in a too-strong way at first in order to be clear:
A centrist wants to promote what is best for society, tolerate what is good enough, and prevent what is harmful.
Conservatives want to promote what is best for society, and prevent everything else.
Liberals want to promote all options (except the truly dangerous ones) as equally good.
If your first reaction to this is, “Who is to say what is best?” you are a probably a liberal.
If your first reaction to this is, “Why settle for mediocrity?” you are probably a conservative.
If this bell-curve picture of the social options seems reasonable to you, and you have no principled objection to making discriminating judgments – welcome to the
. Gruntled Center
One of the first things I was taught was ‘define your terms’. Coming out of the English,
I don’t totally disagree with Gruntle’s centrist, though I normally express it as a reflection of the old Scottish commonweal (commonwealth), i.e. for the good of all rather than simply for the good of sectional interests.
Conservative has been twisted out of shape everywhere in the past few decades. The arch conservatives, Thatcher and Reagan rank among the most radical leaders the western economies have known. The left tend to be the conservatives today, although they are trying to conserve life and not simply sectional privilege.
So Gruntle “What I Think Principled Centrism Means,” gives us an interpretation of various issues from his ‘centrist perspective’ a category of social practice between the preferred and the prohibited.
…historically and cross-culturally, marriage is the preferred institution in which to raise children, and incestuous unions are a prohibited way. What centrists need to be able to say is that marriage is preferred for raising children, and some other ways – my nominees would be single parenthood and same-sex unions -- are tolerated, acceptable, good enough
Then in his comments: I think there is an intermediate moment in liberal thinking, when a previously "not good enough" option is judged to be tolerable. Then, the logic of egalitarianism kicks in, and liberals find it uncomfortable to merely tolerate what they now judge to be acceptable.
That does not strike me as a well researched, sociological conclusion, rather a proposition to support a pre-existing prejudice - Liberal’s are woolly thinkers, liberals yearn for a peace/love utopia, liberals are blind to harsh realities…
I think a closer look at commercial prerequisites, of marketing and advertising imperatives, many of the ‘family values’ breakdowns are driven by the market and not by so called liberals. To claim otherwise smacks of poor research and a complete lack of critical analysis.
A little support
I recently saw an interview with tennis great and lesbian, Martina Navratilova, launching her new art venture in
The term the ‘Pink Dollar’ was not coined by the loony left or wishy washy liberals, it was identified and labelled by hard headed corporate types. It is a simple reality which those in love with money cannot afford to ignore. So it is just a little supporting argument, but more than I have been seeing lately.