Free Capitalist Network - Community Archive
Mises Community Archive
An online community for fans of Austrian economics and libertarianism, featuring forums, user blogs, and more.

What do you think of Political moderation?

rated by 0 users
This post has 31 Replies | 3 Followers

Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,612
Points 29,515
Aristophanes Posted: Fri, Oct 26 2012 11:32 PM

This is not for the ideologues.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/10/26/opinion/brooks-what-moderation-means.xml

This is an article from David Brooks whose book, Bobos In Paradise, my seminar class read a month or so ago.

His definition of moderation in the article is along the lines of 'balance the competing wants of the various political constituents'.  He even specifies that this could be a decade long dialectic movement. 

The moderate does not believe that there are policies that are permanently right. Situations matter most. Tax cuts might be right one decade but wrong the next. Tighter regulations might be right one decade, but if sclerosis sets in then deregulation might be in order.

...which I suppose is sort of amorphous.  As the market fluctuates so must the regulation or deregulation.  (This pendulum must be the only option...)  Moderation in this sense would prevent any fundamental changes in the system.  It theory it would allow for anything, that is any type of institution, as long as the behavior of it is moderate.

Being moderate does not mean being tepid. It will likely take some pretty energetic policies to reduce inequality or control debt. The best moderates can smash partisan categories and be hard-charging in two directions simultaneously.

I think this is an accurate description of Obama.

There are many moderates in this country, but they have done a terrible job of organizing themselves, building institutions or even organizing around common causes. There are some good history books that describe political moderation, like "A Virtue for Courageous Minds"

I like to think that libertarianism is a form of moderation.  It satisfies both sides of the political sphere on certain issues.  Unfortunately anarchism, which would seek to transfer the scenario of the moderate state society to the moderate stateless society, is seen as too radical.

Therefore, there's a lot of ignorance about what it means to be moderate. If politicians are going to try to pander to the moderate mind-set, they should do it right. I hope this column has helped.

Haha.  Moderation was the basic tenet of most old Pagan cults.  Maybe they were on to something.

His book Bobos in Paradise makes the case that the 1960's bo-hemian counter culture (thesis) integrated with the 1980's bo-urgeois corporate culture to create the world we know today.  Anti-corporate mentality is present everywhere only because the corporation is everywhere.  (Ingsoc)  So, I think he seems to look at everything as this 'moderation dialiectic' at work.  It is a form of Hegelian dialectic referred to within the contraints of moderation.  Further, this form of moderation avoids making moral judgements of political issues seeking only to temper the power that each group strives for.  We could always just endorse the old Roman consul.  You can't get more 'moderate', in this sense, than that!

 

"The Fed does not make predictions. It makes forecasts..." - Mustang19
  • | Post Points: 95
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 781
Points 13,130
Minarchist replied on Sat, Oct 27 2012 12:11 AM

David Brooks:
The moderate does not believe that there are policies that are permanently right. Situations matter most. Tax cuts might be right one decade but wrong the next. Tighter regulations might be right one decade, but if sclerosis sets in then deregulation might be in order.

Right or wrong in terms of what?

Aristophanes:
I[n] theory it would allow for anything, that is any type of institution, as long as the behavior of it is moderate.

Something's being moderate refers to its having a certain kind of relation to other things: namely, to its being "in the middle" of other things in some sense. Saying you favor moderation of political opinion in general is gibberish, as it would require that all political views somehow line up on a single spectrum, and that you favor those views located in the middle of this spectrum. Of course, one can plot all political views on a spectrum, but to do so one has to choose some criteria in terms of which to order those views. And there are any number of such criteria and so any number of spectra. You can't somehow sum up all the possible spectra and get one universal spectrum. Likewise, if someone asked you what kind of food you like, what sense would it make to say "I like moderate food"? You could say I like moderately spicy food, or moderately salty food, or moderately expensive food, but not just moderate in general. And you couldn't just somehow sum up the spicyness, saltyness, expensiveness, et al spectra and produce one spectrum on which you could locate food which is moderate in general: i.e. not in respect to any particular criteria.

apiarius delendus est, ursus esuriens continendus est
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,612
Points 29,515

Right or wrong in terms of what?

Right or wrong in terms of what the democratic factions vote for.

Something's being moderate refers to its having a certain kind of relation to other things: namely, to its being "in the middle" of other things in some sense.

...

Saying you favor moderation of political opinion in general is gibberish, as it would require that all political views somehow line up on a single spectrum, and that you favor those views located in the middle of this spectrum.

This is not what it is saying at all.  Did you read the article?  He is making the case of having balanced factions of political powers.  It has nothing to do with valuing ideology that it what he calls at the beginning the wrong approach.  He says this right away concerning your assessment;

First, let me describe what moderation is not. It is not just finding the midpoint between two opposing poles and opportunistically planting yourself there. Only people who know nothing about moderation think it means that.

Please make sure you understand the concepts before writing lengthy paragraphs expousing nothing.

"The Fed does not make predictions. It makes forecasts..." - Mustang19
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,113
Points 60,515
Esuric replied on Sat, Oct 27 2012 12:47 AM

As hoc shots in the dark guided by special interests. 

"If we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion."

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,612
Points 29,515

As hoc shots in the dark guided by special interests.

Yeah, modern democracy...otherwise very insightful.

"The Fed does not make predictions. It makes forecasts..." - Mustang19
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,389
Points 21,840
Moderator

I see this as an institutional question, do you? If that is not th case, than I have fundamentally misinterpreted the text at hand incorrectly, and you can disregard anything else I write in this post.

If this is an institutional issue:

1) All  political institutions (be they one of custom and contract, a liberal order i.e. open society, ancap, ansoc, or whatever you want to name) already have set perameters of actions it will not tolerate.

  a) In one case, we could say that anything existing within the order of the insitution on a social level is acting moderately.  In order to make use of this outlook, further clarifications would have to be made and drawn to take us out of inane abstraction or a useless tautology.  This can probably be done.

  b) In another case, we could take a look at the fringes of what can be tolerated in the social order and say that anything not in that "fringe" is moderate, as it is more "centered" (for lack of a better word).  I would find this outllook to be virtually useless, as it would seem to me to be too difficult to quantify and qualify, and I simply don't see why the end results would be a very interesting use of the word "moderate".

 c) In another we can simply ask what the "moderate" is in Fox news, MSNBC or whatever mainstream pop culture politics wants to throw out at hand.  This is  useful only in the context that you don't care what moderate "really is" in a comprehensible outlook at political theory and just wish to move on to a more important topic at hand.  This may be what's going on here, as the author may just be addressing a cultural concern.

2) What is probably of more interest is how various policies affects the institutions in place, and on what basis are these institutions founded.  That is to say, are the institutions resting on a firm (as US, a government that could reasonably be stated to be built off of compromise and moderation) or flimsy basis (as the Weimer Republic, a govt built off of compromise and moderation)

As for the bobo observation, I have to say I sympathize and have thought the same thing many times, however I don't think it's a proper use of a Hegelian dialectic, as much as it would be a proper use of a geneology.

 

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence"  - GLS Shackle

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 150 Contributor
Male
Posts 554
Points 9,130
Praetyre replied on Sat, Oct 27 2012 1:26 AM

My honest question is, who defines the center? If we took the political spectrum as an aggregate total of human history, starting with Paleolithic hunter-gatherer family units and moving on down to modern democracies, the mainstream West is extremely far to the left and authoritarian ends on the political compass. Even restricting this sample to the last 30 years in first world Western democracies only, there is still a sharp statist bias in Nolan terms and a culturally leftist one; I can hardly picture Margaret Thatcher going all gung ho over global warming or homosexual marriage like David Cameron is, and the neoconservatism of Jonah Goldberg makes the like of William F. Buckley look like Thomas Hobbes on both a cultural and political scale. One generations radicalism is the next's orthodoxy, and ultimately an appeal to moderation as a goal in and of itself (as opposed to a virtue of another political ideology) is either a vulgarized conservatism or a simple exercise in the Golden Mean fallacy.

Just my two cents, as a political independent.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,113
Points 60,515
Esuric replied on Sat, Oct 27 2012 1:29 AM

 Yeah, modern democracy...otherwise very insightful.

Well yeah..

"If we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion."

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 781
Points 13,130

David Brooks:
First, let me describe what moderation is not. It is not just finding the midpoint between two opposing poles and opportunistically planting yourself there. Only people who know nothing about moderation think it means that.

Yep, he said that. Then he said this:

In most great arguments, there are two partially true points of view, which sit in tension. The moderate tries to maintain a rough proportion between them...Americans have prospered over the centuries because we've kept a rough balance between things like individual opportunity and social cohesion, local rights and federal power. At any moment, new historical circumstances, like industrialization or globalization, might upset the balance. But the political system gradually finds a new equilibrium...The moderate creates her policy agenda by looking to her specific circumstances and seeing which things are being driven out of proportion at the current moment.... She's probably going to have a pretty eclectic mix of policies...Just as the founding fathers tried a mixed form of government, moderates like pluralistic agendas...]Just as the moderate suspects imbalance in the country, so she suspects it in herself. She distrusts passionate intensity and bold simplicity and admires self-restraint, intellectual openness and equipoise.

As I said, insofar as this article says anything at all, what it says is that moderation in general is good: i.e. a political programme which is somehow balanced between a multitude of dissimilar views, which sort of proportionally represents those views, which is at equilibrium between the extremes of those views, etc (more bad analogies to physics). And that's nonsense, for the reasons I explained already. The reality of political moderation is that it's the self-ascribed position of those who are incapable of forming their political ideas into a coherent whole, and/or those who really have no political ideas at all, but need to say something when asked in order to avoid sounding stupid.

apiarius delendus est, ursus esuriens continendus est
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,612
Points 29,515

I see this as an institutional question, do you?

Pretty much.  I tend to think of institutions as networks more so than singular entites. So the occupation of several positions of interlating powers becomes "institutional."  This is an effect of elites centralizing their powers in a workable form (so they don't have immediate and formidable oppositions) as much as can be done.  I'm not sure who the linked article is directed at other than the author referenced and Obama.  The politicians know how to pander to the "undecided voter" and it doesn't involve complicating their traditional Chrisitan values with moderate French liberalism.

RE: 1)  Yes, and those are not in question.

a) Yes.  Anything that is not causing the powers to struggle to extinguish or to epitomize something is considered within the sphere of moderate behavior.

b) I don't quite get this, but it doesn't sound like it matters.

c) I think the author is saying what you said.  Politicians have no idea what moderation means, well Romney doesn't (it looks as if Brooks is making the case that Obama is closer to Continental moderate political thoughht than Romney who is using the word to take votes from Obama), and the news isn't helping.

2)  He does allude to the debt and inequality being "out of whack."  Although, he doesn't say anything on the ends of political institutions, but I don't think the integrity of the foundation of the U.S. government is in quesition for him.

however I don't think it's a proper use of a Hegelian dialectic, as much as it would be a proper use of a geneology.

How so?  He refers to it as a synthesis in the book. He says that there are those who refuse the synthesis and they will become the new push of progress when the new synthesis becomes the Establishment (partly my addition of concept).

__________________________

The reality of political moderation is that it's the self-ascribed position of those who are incapable of forming their political ideas into a coherent whole, and/or those who really have no political ideas at all, but need to say something when asked in order to avoid sounding stupid.

That is a helluva conjecture.  I would also guess that you aren't that well read on Continental thought, so...

Moderation is a position for politiciansPoliticians don't need to be ideologues.  They need to temper the exercise of power that is requested from the democratic factions.  The democratic factions are the ones with political ideas that are a "coherent whole."  You aren't willing to consider this notion.  And still miss the point he is making.

"The Fed does not make predictions. It makes forecasts..." - Mustang19
  • | Post Points: 50
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 267
Points 5,370
Meistro replied on Sat, Oct 27 2012 1:42 AM

It's important to understand how politics is participated in by the outside world.  You could say that battles in politics are so feirce because the differences are so minute but people live and breathe these differences as if they were the most important things ever.  Realistically though the apathetic observer is in a morally superior position than the bungling activist, since they at least abide by the precautionary principle.

 

... just as the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own - Albert Jay Nock

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 781
Points 13,130

Aristophanes:
That is a helluva conjecture.

It's an empirical observation.

I would also guess that you aren't that well read on Continental thought, so...

Now that's a blind conjecture...and an especially amusing one considering what I do.

Moderation is a position for politiciansPoliticians don't need to be ideologues.  They need to temper the exercise of power that is requested from the democratic factions.  The democratic factions are the ones with political ideas that are a "coherent whole."  You aren't willing to consider this notion. And still miss the point he is making.

You must have a magic decoder ring, because that not what he's saying in the text of the article. He's explaining what it means to be a moderate (voter), and thus what politicians need to do to court them; and he's not speaking as a disinterested political analyst, he sounds very much sympathetic to the moderate cause...lol, if one can speak of such a thing.

David Brooks:
Over the past month, Mitt Romney has aggressively appealed to moderate voters

Voters, not politicians.

There are many moderates in this country

You think he means moderates in the House or the Senate? ...or maybe he means moderate voters?

If politicians are going to try to pander to the moderate mind-set...

It would be strange for politicians to pander to themselves, don't you think? Seems like he's, once again, talking about moderate voters.

If politicians are going to try to pander to the moderate mind-set, they should do it right. I hope this column has helped.

...he hopes this column will help politicians pander better to moderate voters by explaining what it means to be a moderate voter.

apiarius delendus est, ursus esuriens continendus est
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,612
Points 29,515

What is it that you do?

It's an empirical observation.

Then you should have no trouble finding some statistics to prove it...

David Brooks:
Over the past month, Mitt Romney has aggressively appealed to moderate voters

Voters, not politicians.

He is appealling to Obama in the article to tell people (moderates, yes, voters) that he, Obama, is moderate.  It is just a vague appeal to Obama to pipe up.

...he hopes this column will help politicians pander better to moderate voters by explaining what it means to be a moderate voter.

By what is means to be moderate in general.  You are the worst roadblock to discussion on here.

 

"The Fed does not make predictions. It makes forecasts..." - Mustang19
  • | Post Points: 35
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 781
Points 13,130

I'm a grad student in Continental philosophy.

apiarius delendus est, ursus esuriens continendus est
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,612
Points 29,515

At what University?  What is your thesis?

"The Fed does not make predictions. It makes forecasts..." - Mustang19
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 781
Points 13,130

I'd rather not give out that kind of personal information on the interwebs.

apiarius delendus est, ursus esuriens continendus est
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,612
Points 29,515

It would be published on your University site you lying douche.

"The Fed does not make predictions. It makes forecasts..." - Mustang19
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 781
Points 13,130

You asked me a question, I answered it, I really have no interest in whether you believe me or not.

apiarius delendus est, ursus esuriens continendus est
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,612
Points 29,515

Well, you are either lying or a pussy.  Your use of language doesn't at all resemble a philosphy student.  And you could just post your thesis topic, but you didn't even do that...What class/classes are you teaching?  "Burkean influence in the French Liberal intelligentsia in the aftermath of the French Revolution," I bet.

I also noticed that you didn't bother with an stats to your claim that moderation is really just a position for those without a definite set of ideals, but still need to say something.  I bet it is easy to prove things like that empirically...

"The Fed does not make predictions. It makes forecasts..." - Mustang19
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 781
Points 13,130

Aristophanes:
Then you should have no trouble finding some statistics to prove it...

My claim is based on first-hand experience.

As for the rest of it, about "moderation," do you concede that the author is talking about moderation as a political position among voters (I'm not saying that's all he's talking about)? If so, then do you concede that, indeed, my initial comments (criticizing moderation as a political position), were not irrelevant as you claimed?

apiarius delendus est, ursus esuriens continendus est
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,612
Points 29,515

My claim is based on first-hand experience.

My personal experience is that 2+2=52,485  ... 

As for the rest of it, about "moderation," do you concede that the author is talking about moderation as a political position among voters?

I think the article is an appeal to Obama telling him to display his moderation because voters are that way, yes.

If so, then do you concede that, indeed, my initial comments (criticizing moderation as a political position), were not irrelevant as you claimed?

Certainly not.  Moderation can absolutely be a political position.  It is one of ambivalence.  That is why I think the author appeals to the principle as a means to appeal to those who don't vote based on ideology.  Your criticism is shallow as most of your comments are.

Now, tell me your thesis topic and what classes your department has you teaching.

 

"The Fed does not make predictions. It makes forecasts..." - Mustang19
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 781
Points 13,130

Aristophanes:
My personal experience is that 2+2=52,485

You should seek immediate medical attention.

I think the article is an appeal to Obama telling him to display his moderation because voters are that way, yes.

Good, we're in agreement on that point.

Certainly not.  Moderation can absolutely be a political position.

I didn't claim that moderation couldn't be a political position, I claimed it was an absurd political position.

Your criticism is shallow as most of your comments are.

However "shallow" it may be in your view, it was not irrelevant to the topic at hand, as you initially claimed.

apiarius delendus est, ursus esuriens continendus est
  • | Post Points: 35
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,612
Points 29,515

However "shallow" it may be in your view, it was not irrelevant to the topic at hand, as you initially claimed.

Saying you favor moderation of political opinion in general is gibberish, as it would require that all political views somehow line up on a single spectrum, and that you favor those views located in the middle of this spectrum. Of course, one can plot all political views on a spectrum, but to do so one has to choose some criteria in terms of which to order those views.

You were coming up with this thought as you typed it out.

This is what I disliked the most.  You talk yourself in a circle.  The criteria, that you say is absent and unformable, is American politics.  Your whole point was irrelevant as you discredit your own thesis in one sentence.  And unlike you, Brooks is being published in the NYT and does have some type of education.  Not to mention that much of continental philosophy is aligned around the concept of moderation.  Moderation in its primitive form simply means to balance behavior, i.e. be reasonable or rational, it has been around since Greece and India began their philosophies.  As I mentioned before, several Pagan cults built their philosophy around this principle.

I didn't claim that moderation couldn't be a political position, I claimed it was an absurd political position.

However, when you say,

It's an empirical observation.

and, when asked for your evidence of your empirical verification, you follow it up with,

My claim is based on first-hand experience.

You must realize your error, no?  My math "problem" was meant as jest to your idiocy and charlatan-esque behavior.

What you call 'first hand experience' is merely your 'perception', my friend.  It is not in any means 'empirical'.

I thought you said you were a grad student?  Oh, but you won't provide any empirical verification of that either, will you?

You are much fail.

"The Fed does not make predictions. It makes forecasts..." - Mustang19
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 781
Points 13,130

Aristophanes:
You talk yourself in a circle.

What does that mean, and how so?

The criteria is American politics.

I'm afraid you'll have to elaborate.

What you call 'first hand experience' is merely your 'perception', my friend.  It is not in any means 'empirical'.

Obviously you don't know the meaning of the word "empirical." See: a posteriori. Google that and learn something.

apiarius delendus est, ursus esuriens continendus est
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 100 Contributor
Posts 814
Points 16,290

When I think of political moderation, I think of Madisonian republicanism.  They try to combine "pure democracy" and monarchy... they wind up failing.  "Pure democracy" is the natural order of things, so there is no point in trying to make is a republic.  A monarchy also gets compromised so there is no long term order in that either.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,113
Points 60,515
Esuric replied on Sat, Oct 27 2012 11:42 AM

 
Aristophanes:
My personal experience is that 2+2=52,485

You should seek immediate medical attention.

lol

 
Certainly not.  Moderation can absolutely be a political position.

I didn't claim that moderation couldn't be a political position, I claimed it was an absurd political position.

[EDIT]

Indeed, and I think you presented a strong argument in your OP. I would also like to highlight the fact that the idea that politicians and policy in general should have a high degree of flexibility, that it should adjust in step with changing conditions, is probably one of the biggest problems associated with democracy today (the fact that politicians have such authority and that voters demand it). 

It is perfectly summed up in the passage the OP provided:

 The moderate does not believe that there are policies that are permanently right. Situations matter most. Tax cuts might be right one decade but wrong the next. Tighter regulations might be right one decade, but if sclerosis sets in then deregulation might be in order.

This assumes a level of political competency that is nonexistent and wholly ignores public choice frictions inherent in the political sphere. Politicians don't know shit about economics (this statement should be entirely noncontroversial by now). Additionally, what does he mean by 'permanently right?' Right for whom? For the politician, it's always 'right' to increase taxes on the rich and to reduce or to eliminate taxes on the poor/middle class solely for the purposes of winning the next election (getting the highest number of votes). Mitt Romney, the 'conservative republican' candidate is, as we speak, running around the country promising to keep taxes high on the wealthy even though they pay an extremely disproportionate amount, even in relative terms. 

Policy should be fixed and stable. It should be transparent and it should create certainty in the private spheres. Politicians should have next to zero flexibility. This is my view. 

"If we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion."

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,612
Points 29,515

Aristophanes:
You talk yourself in a circle.

What does that mean, and how so?

I mean you start off saying that you can't put all political views on a spectrum, then in the nest sentence, you say you can.  You defeat your own criticism by stating the necessary condition is unreachable, but then you say it is.  You'd get laughed out of your defense proposal if you write like that...

fucking high schoolers...

Obviously you don't know the meaning of the word "empirical." See: a posteriori. Google that and learn something.

But, you see, empirical evidence is replicable.  You cannot replicate your experience for anyone else (I asked you for stats...).  What you give is a priori...

This assumes a level of political competency that is nonexistent and wholly ignores public choice frictions inherent in the political sphere

No, it doesn't. It is predicated on the friction of the factions.  And political competency is never mentioned nor did I infer that it is required for voters.  The author uses the word pandering.  Pandering is usually done for the ignorant not the astute.. 

Additionally, what does he mean by 'permanently right?' Right for whom? For the politician, it's always 'right' to increase taxes on the rich and to reduce or to eliminate taxes on the poor/middle class solely for the purposes of winning the next election (getting the highest number of votes).

Did you read the entire article?  In no way does Brooks allude to the necessity of that scenario.  He actually seems to indicate that it is not the proper course to increase taxes.

Mitt Romney, the 'conservative republican' candidate is, as we speak, running around the country promising to keep taxes high on the wealthy even though they pay an extremely disproportionate amount, even in relative terms.

Yeah, it is called pandering.  The article is saying Romney is doing it wrong.

"The Fed does not make predictions. It makes forecasts..." - Mustang19
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 781
Points 13,130

Aristophanes:
I mean you start off saying that you can't put all political views on a spectrum, then in the nest sentence, you say you can.  You defeat your own criticism by stating the necessary condition is unreachable, but then you say it is.

Let me break it down for you:

Minarchist:
one can plot all political views on a spectrum, but to do so one has to choose some criteria in terms of which to order those views. And there are any number of such criteria and so any number of spectra.

For example, I can put all political views on a spectrum where the criterion is the issue of total tax revenue for the government. That is, on one end of the spectrum there are views that call for miniscule tax revenue for the government, and on the other extreme views that call for gargantuan tax revenue for the government, and I can then identify the "moderate" position. I could create another spectrum for which the criterion is total spending by the government, and again I could identify the moderate position. And so forth for every issue.

You can't somehow sum up all the possible spectra and get one universal spectrum

That is, there may be views which are moderate on one spectrum and extreme on another spectrum, and therefore one cannot simply aggregate all these spectra and come up with positions which are moderate in general.  For example, suppose we have a spectrum for civil liberties and a spectrum for fighting the war on terror. You can see how a given policy proposal might be moderate with respect to the one and extreme with respect to the other. Hence, it cannot be said to be moderate or extreme in general.

[moderation] would require that all political views somehow line up on a single spectrum, and that you favor those views located in the middle of this spectrum.

This is what moderate in general means; i.e. a position which is moderate with respect to every issue is one which is plotted in the middle of a spectrum that represents all issues. And I have demonstrated why this is impossible, and why therefore "moderation" as a political position is nonsense. It can't be what it says it is (moderate in general), so what it really ends up being is a grab-bag of random positions.

Likewise, if someone asked you what kind of food you like, what sense would it make to say "I like moderate food"? You could say I like moderately spicy food, or moderately salty food, or moderately expensive food, but not just moderate in general. And you couldn't just somehow sum up the spicyness, saltyness, expensiveness, et al spectra and produce one spectrum on which you could locate food which is moderate in general: i.e. not in respect to any particular criteria.

This is a good analogy, so I repost it for your benefit. In the same way that one and the same policy position might be moderate on civil liberties but extreme on the question of the war on terror, or vice versa, so a given food might be moderate on the saltyness spectrum but extreme on the spicyness spectrum; hence it makes no sense to speak of a food or a policy proposal as being moderate in general.

Aristophanes:
But, you see, empirical evidence is replicable.

No, empirical evidence is evidence from experience: nothing more, nothing less.

You cannot replicate your experience for anyone else (I asked you for stats...).

That's correct.

What you give is a priori...

No, a priori means prior to experience. Mathematical and formal logical claims, for example, are a priori. What I gave you was a report of my own experience, hence it is a posteriori (from experience).

Anyway, your problem with my claim about "moderates" is that you read it as a stronger claim than it was intended to be. That's fine, I did originally phrase it in strong language, I didn't preface the claim with "in my opinion" or "in my experience" or anything like that. So I understand why you would read it the way you did.  However, the very first time you asked me about it, I stated very clearly that the comment was based on experience, and then when you asked me again, I clarified further and said it was based on first-person experience. So what remains unclear to you at this point?

apiarius delendus est, ursus esuriens continendus est
  • Filed under:
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,612
Points 29,515

No, empirical evidence is evidence from experience: nothing more, nothing less.

 Uh well there is a little more to it than that.  Empirical evidence is testable.  You cannot test your experience. Therefore, you cannot prove your claim.

You cannot replicate your experience for anyone else (I asked you for stats...).

That's correct.

So, you are conceding that it is not empirical.  If you could test it then you would have no trouble proving it with some sort of experiment.  It may seem empirical to you, but to an observer, it is your a prioiri perception (you come to the conclusion with no testable hypothesis - a priori).  There is no truth value to it at all.  You cannot just think that because you perceive things a certain way that it is somehow "empirical."  You're just a dumbass who wishes to impress his opinion on people as "empirical" even though you admit that you cannot test or replicate your perceptive results.  Grad student my ass.  You're a liar, a pussy, and a charlatan.

Why won't you tell me your thesis?  Or even a class that you teach?

"The Fed does not make predictions. It makes forecasts..." - Mustang19
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,389
Points 21,840
Moderator

2)  He does allude to the debt and inequality being "out of whack."  Although, he doesn't say anything on the ends of political institutions, but I don't think the integrity of the foundation of the U.S. government is in quesition for him.

By this, I meant that if one were to attempt tp develop a "pure theory" on intelligible grounds of what it means to be "moderate" - the interesting fact would be how it would relate to institutions.  And yes I absolutely agree with you on the meaning of "political institutions".

- As to the Hegelian dialectic, I was hoping to appeal to your intuition on showing how it is probably just easier to think of it as a geneology / evolution of development than taking the extra step on engaging with a "pure theory", idealistic, logical process - I'm just not sure why it would be done.  I certainly don't have it in me to get into much further depth than that on this thread.  Perhaps our continental grad student could put it into clearer terms than I could.

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence"  - GLS Shackle

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,612
Points 29,515

By this, I meant that if one were to attempt tp develop a "pure theory" on intelligible grounds of what it means to be "moderate" - the interesting fact would be how it would relate to institutions.  And yes I absolutely agree with you on the meaning of "political institutions".

Oh, that makes sense.  My 'theory' would be that of "democratic mercantilism."  Any faction can theoretically grab the reigns of power and if need be create their own institutions that adminster their agenda.  This might be a partial explanation of the growth of bureaucracy in the West.

As to the Hegelian dialectic, I was hoping to appeal to your intuition on showing how it is probably just easier to think of it as a geneology / evolution of development than taking the extra step on engaging with a "pure theory", idealistic, logical process - I'm just not sure why it would be done.

Brooks has got a BA in sociology...heh  A.K.A. he is not Carroll Quigley.

I certainly don't have it in me to get into much further depth than that on this thread.  Perhaps our continental grad student could put it into clearer terms than I could.

haha

"The Contemporary Application of the Hegelian System of Historical Advancement in the West" is probably a paper he wrote years ago in honors undergrad.

"The Fed does not make predictions. It makes forecasts..." - Mustang19
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 200 Contributor
Male
Posts 432
Points 6,830
Groucho replied on Sun, Oct 28 2012 6:12 AM

It's hard for me to think of libertarianism, except perhaps in the Cato/Reason sense, as being a form of political moderation.

In the sense that Brooks describes moderation, its defining characteristic seems to be advocacy of a stance believed to lie within a 'compromise range' between two ultimately irreconcilable factions.

However it does seem that libertarianism could have a moderating effect on the extreme factions by throwing light on their hypocrisies when in violation of the non-aggression principle. In this way libertarianism has a moral ground to engage both the "left" and the "right", whose public relationship has reached such an extreme adversarial state that each thinks the other is hopelessly evil and deluded.

The only thing libertarians must watch out for is falling into the role of "common enemy" to both. After all, nothing brings two bitter rivals together like having a common enemy (see for example the type of 'bipartisan cooperation' that arose since 2001). Wingnuts from both sides of modern political gangs despise libertarians, and you don't have to look far to see it show up in their rhetoric on things like guns and drugs.

I seem to have wandered off topic... To answer your question, I think political moderation (assuming I'm understanding the way you mean it) ultimately means the "moderate" lacks any position of his own and merely aligns himself with a calculated compromise between perceived rivals, who may in fact ultimately agree on a point that is totally repugnant.

An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup. -H.L. Mencken
  • | Post Points: 5
Page 1 of 1 (32 items) | RSS