Your thoughts on... centrism

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(Yes i stole your format Parasondox)

The far right has been gaining traction of late. The 2016 presidential election and Britain leaving the EU are widely considered to be vicotries of right-wing populism. Geert Wilders and Marie Le Pen were nothing short of exstatic after these events, and proclaimed the beginning of the "Patriotic spring". Since then, the dutch, austrian and french elections have all ended in centrist victories. Here in Norway, the Centre party are also looking like the surprise power of the upcoming election and many predict it will be part of the next coalition. What are your thoughts on these centrist movements, and how they have seemingly become the alternative choice to the far right this year?

I'm guessing many people looked upon the US with alarm and decided to avoid becoming that. More than 3 years ago, I mean.

My two cents; it's a common front against extremism, but will eventually leave people from all across the political spectrum unsatisfied.

CyanCat47:
Marie Le Pen

*Marine

Was Brexit a right-wing thing? I got the impression that it just depends on the world view rather than a strict right/left positioning. Anyways, I'd take those decision as aversion of Globalism rather than a nebulous "alt-right" which lumps together sane people with neo-nazis and trolls.

In general it seems the center is the best decision right now due to both right wing and left wing going very extreme, with both willing to barter with the scum of society to get "ideological purity" moniker.

It's a bit of a deceptive term really, as 'centre' implies an unbiased balance where nobody gets buggered and everything will be ok as long as the boat isn't rocked too much. But it still favours screwing over the working class in favour of aiding large businesses and multi-billioniares while allowing vast tax evasion for those rich enough to exploit loopholes as the gap between the rich and poor continues to grow. It's not unbiased, it's a surface projection of 'safe' for the consuming masses who always take/pay the highest toll for it.

inu-kun:
Was Brexit a right-wing thing? I got the impression that it just depends on the world view rather than a strict right/left positioning. Anyways, I'd take those decision as aversion of Globalism rather than a nebulous "alt-right" which lumps together sane people with neo-nazis and trolls.

You're right that Brexit was not an issue that belonged specifically on the left or on the right, it's about much more than that, globalism and economic liberalism were the biggest elements questioned during the referendum, and neither of them are exclusive to one side of the political spectrum.

Right-wing figures (Johnson, Gove, Farage) were, in the end, the face of the Leave campaign though, so I don't blame people for failing to make that distinction. Things might have gone differently had Corbyn not decided to halfheartedly echo Labour's position and instead made his position on Brexit clearer.

I would not call the Dutch or France victories for centrism, more liberal(-conservative)/right wing victories.

France is obvious, no need to go into detial, Macron is a liberal.

In the Netherlands, the big secular Lib-con party lost seats but is still in the best position to supply the PM for the coalition(biggest party not being in the government only happened 3 times, labour was victim to it all 3 times). Meanwhile, the left/center-left really split apart, its now spread between 2 democratic socialist parties(Socialists and party for animals), the Greens, Christian union(conservative left), labour and DENK(Turkish party... hard to judge if they are really left wing). Only labour lost seats, but they where mostly picked up by left wing parties, and a bunch of them where completely lost.

Meanwhile, the right gained seats with the christian dems, FvD(alt right) and the PVV. Center also gained some seats with D66, but less than the right wing.

Then again, European mainland center-right is center to center-left in the USA.

Personally, i find that centrism is not as bad as the worst possible result any one person can imagine politically, but very rarely is it anyone's ideal result. Unless a centrist party is championing some kind of major cause they fade into the background rather quickly.

inu-kun:
Was Brexit a right-wing thing? I got the impression that it just depends on the world view rather than a strict right/left positioning.

During the campaign, this was quite true, with various left-wing figures-- perhaps most recognisably Gisella Stuart-- supporting the Leave campaign.

Their reasons for doing so tended to be left-wing priorities, such as increased funding for the NHS after leaving the EU, or opposition to the unregulated free-market economic approach of the Union.

However, now that the vote has gone through, it's become clear that none of those left-wing priorities will be served by the Government in leaving. The Government has now stated that there will be no increased funding for the NHS, even though that was pledged by the Leave campaign. And the Government has also stated its willingness to become an unregulated "tax haven" for large European corporations, so the hope to avoid deregulation was also dashed.

Now that the Government have signalled that none of the left-wing priorities will be served by leaving, it seems to me that it's quite solidly a hard-right cause.

inu-kun:
Was Brexit a right-wing thing? I got the impression that it just depends on the world view rather than a strict right/left positioning. Anyways, I'd take those decision as aversion of Globalism rather than a nebulous "alt-right" which lumps together sane people with neo-nazis and trolls.

In general it seems the center is the best decision right now due to both right wing and left wing going very extreme, with both willing to barter with the scum of society to get "ideological purity" moniker.

It wasn't meant to be a right wing thing but was high jacked by right wing politicians pushing their own agenda. That's what annoyed me.

oh also,

CyanCat47:
(Yes i stole your format Parasondox)

I am going to go all Nintendo on your ass, CyanCat47.

Far right only wins when the voters are ignorant. In the UK a lot of the folks didn't even know what the consequences of Brexit are or how the EU works. Without the EU the UK will embrace their Orwellian intent fully. As for the US, several factors were in play. First and foremost Hillary and the DNC are to blame. Nobody has ever liked her, and choosing a president is a deeply personal thing. You absolutely must be likable in the US. And Trump was simply more likable than her. On top of that he told people what they wanted to hear, and unlike Hillary he didn't have 20 years of political baggage filled with lies. Every lie that Hillary ever told was on display.

But despite all of that, Trump didn't manage to win the popular vote. In fact he won approximately the same amount of votes that Republican candidates usually get. That brings us to another important aspect of his victory - voter suppression. Republicans have been working very diligently for years to make it more difficult for minorities to vote. That has proven to be disastrous for Democrats in certain states. Even on a local level. Gerrymandering is also a serious problem.

Trump is also the least popular president at this point in his presidency. In comparison Obama's approval rating after 100 days was over 60%. Trump's approval rating sits between 34% and 42% depending on the poll.

I could go on and on but you get the general idea. The rise of the far-right and alt-right is just an illusion. Things seem larger and like they have a bigger impact when they're all over the internet. But in reality it's all the same as before. Some people are just very loud and passionate about certain things.

Silvanus:

Now that the Government have signalled that none of the left-wing priorities will be served by leaving, it seems to me that it's quite solidly a hard-right cause.

I don't think it works that way, politics usually obey the law of casuality....

The Finnish Centre party is one of the big ones but it has the whole focus on agriculture and the countryside... That's their main thing. They're not the worst but also generally more anti-LGBT than our major non populist right wing party so... Not getting votes from me. Also I guess Social democrats are basically centre.
It seems to me like 'centre' depends by country and who you compare them to so I dunno? Depends on what they stand for and whether it's just 'we're neither of those guys' which isn't much or a platform.

It really depends on whether the "Centrist" opinion has solid political reasoning regarding why it's in the center or whether the "Centrist" opinion is Golden Mean bullshit.

The first I can understand provided their reasoning, even though I'll likely disagree. The latter is cowardice that will eventually fall prey to a shifting Overton window and extremists.

In my opinion "centrist" just means "Too much of a puss to say what he or she really thinks" and "liberal who sells out because they're scared of Republicans saying bad things about them."

Centrism is the ultimate in toxic political correctness: they base their every action on literally, not figuratively, being politically correct. Centrists pretend to ignore serious problems because they think that they need to be "polite" and not deal with them. At the same time, they pander to radicals without a second thought because they think it will be good for their careers if they can stay on the "winning side". When they talk to the public they do so in speeches and sound bites made entirely out of buzzwords and dog whistles that are meant to appeal to everyone while at the same time saying absolutely nothing.

Like, it wasn't just conservatives who stalled progress on dealing with the HIV crisis in the 1980s, it was centrists who thought that talking about AIDS was taboo because it was widely seen as a disease that only affected gay people. In the 1990s, it was centrists who hopped on the "tough on blacks crime" bandwagon and helped start mass incarceration. It was Bill Clinton trying to play the part of the centrist who signed the Defense of Marriage Act.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that it was centrists who got us stuck with Donald Trump when the DNC told everyone that Bernie Sanders was "too extreme" and instead thought that Hillary Clinton (whose name has for decades been synonymous with "unlikable" and "driven entirely by political convenience") would be the better choice.

Here's the thing about the real world: some things are objectively correct and some things are objectively incorrect. The fact that strong opinions exist on both sides of an issue does not mean that both opinions are equally valid and copping out and taking the "middle ground" is intellectually lazy at best and one of the greatest hindrances to progress at worst.

I havent seen any centrists or moderates in a long time. Its all right-wingers who want to pretend they are not right-wingers, but seem to mysteriously only ever have a problem with the left.

Saelune:
I havent seen any centrists or moderates in a long time. Its all right-wingers who want to pretend they are not right-wingers, but seem to mysteriously only ever have a problem with the left.

This time a hundred. Sort of like how egalitarians only show up to the party when it's feminists shoveling the stupid rhetoric, and not when people like Roosh or Vox Day are speaking...

inu-kun:

Silvanus:

Now that the Government have signalled that none of the left-wing priorities will be served by leaving, it seems to me that it's quite solidly a hard-right cause.

I don't think it works that way, politics usually obey the law of casuality....

I don't understand what you're referring to. The law of causality has been observed at every stage.

1. Some Right-wing interests and some Left-wing interests campaign together for the UK to leave the EU. Their priorities, and what they want to come out of this move, differ, but both believe their interests will be served by this move.

2. The campaign is successful.

3. The move can only fully serve either the right-wing interests or the left-wing interests, because in many respects, their priorities are mutually incompatible. The Right-wing interests win out, because in this instance the government is Right-wing, and because right-wing interests were more dominant within the Leave campaign to begin with.

A clear progression. Causality every step of the way.

Centrism is meaningless, imho. It just means more of the same. People voting for centrism have been convinced that the alternatives are worse. Looking at Le Pen and Wilders, they may have a point.

I mean, you could argue that by the very fact that centrism represents no significant change, that they are the actual conservatives. If we're going by actual meanings of words.

Sonmi:
Right-wing figures (Johnson, Gove, Farage) were, in the end, the face of the Leave campaign though, so I don't blame people for failing to make that distinction.

People seem to forget that the Remain campaign was equally lead by equally right wing figures. Tories dominated the debate, because Labour was silent and the Lib Dems were still completely irrelevant from their last set of fuck-ups.

Well centrism by definition just means to the left of the right and to the right of the left. That's all nice and all but different country have very different left and right so the center also shift quite a lot. Macron is openly centrist, but in the US he would be consider left wing, in Argentina or something he'd be right wing.

The basic idea is a good one, takes what good from the right and what's good from the left and leave all the crap behind. The problem is that it's not a vote mover, nobody goes in the street to celebrate good sensible government. And centrist are easy to attack from both side, the left can say they don't spend enough on public program (usually omitting that the government is already running a deficit) and the right can claim that they squander money (and omit that there replacement system leave a lot of people vulnerable).

Nothing is ever perfect and when you have a population that's divided and consider that compromise is a dirty things you usually end up with nobody happy. Then comes along someone who promise that there ideology can do everything at once ("I'll lower tax and increase public service" or "remove the government from public service and everything will improve") and centrist don't have much to defend themselves other than saying it makes no sense, which few people bother checking out. Selling a dream is much easier than reality.

Meiam:
Well centrism by definition just means to the left of the right and to the right of the left. That's all nice and all but different country have very different left and right so the center also shift quite a lot. Macron is openly centrist, but in the US he would be consider left wing, in Argentina or something he'd be right wing.

The basic idea is a good one, takes what good from the right and what's good from the left and leave all the crap behind. The problem is that it's not a vote mover, nobody goes in the street to celebrate good sensible government.

Centrism isn't "takes what's good from the right and what what's good from the left"-- it can easily be "takes what's bad from the right and what's bad from the left" or "waters down a good proposal into dysfunctional irrelevance." There is nothing in particular to reason that a position which seems to be in between two other positions is in any way superior. Some people think X, others think Y, that doesn't mean a Z that is between them will be better than either. Especially when it comes to balancing the interests of different groups: taking into consideration the clear interest of investment bankers in being absolutely protected from any negative consequence that results from risk-taking and adding provisions to financial regulations to protect that interest is a compromise-- it's also not helpful.

Sometimes one side is just right and the other should be trampled. There are also situations in which both sides have a better proposal than the 'centrist' one because they aren't working at cross-purposes.

Well nobody become centrist thinking they'll take all the bad idea from both side...

Parasondox:

inu-kun:
Was Brexit a right-wing thing? I got the impression that it just depends on the world view rather than a strict right/left positioning. Anyways, I'd take those decision as aversion of Globalism rather than a nebulous "alt-right" which lumps together sane people with neo-nazis and trolls.

In general it seems the center is the best decision right now due to both right wing and left wing going very extreme, with both willing to barter with the scum of society to get "ideological purity" moniker.

It wasn't meant to be a right wing thing but was high jacked by right wing politicians pushing their own agenda. That's what annoyed me.

oh also,

CyanCat47:
(Yes i stole your format Parasondox)

I am going to go all Nintendo on your ass, CyanCat47.

You are gonna shove a gaming console up my ass? At least buy me dinner first

Sonmi:
My two cents; it's a common front against extremism, but will eventually leave people from all across the political spectrum unsatisfied.

CyanCat47:
Marie Le Pen

*Marine

That name sounds like butter. I gave her a better one

Meiam:
Well nobody become centrist thinking they'll take all the bad idea from both side...

Of course. But what they consider the bad stuff, and what is actually the bad stuff, are different things. Take Macron, who is taking free-market, deregulated economics from the Right. That's not the "good" to me.

Silvanus:

inu-kun:

Silvanus:

Now that the Government have signalled that none of the left-wing priorities will be served by leaving, it seems to me that it's quite solidly a hard-right cause.

I don't think it works that way, politics usually obey the law of casuality....

I don't understand what you're referring to. The law of causality has been observed at every stage.

1. Some Right-wing interests and some Left-wing interests campaign together for the UK to leave the EU. Their priorities, and what they want to come out of this move, differ, but both believe their interests will be served by this move.

2. The campaign is successful.

3. The move can only fully serve either the right-wing interests or the left-wing interests, because in many respects, their priorities are mutually incompatible. The Right-wing interests win out, because in this instance the government is Right-wing, and because right-wing interests were more dominant within the Leave campaign to begin with.

A clear progression. Causality every step of the way.

But when it was voted it was also a left wing cause, the fact it didn't go their way does not magically make rever their choice. Also, you need to prove that a significant majority of the people on the left wing who voted for Brexit did not get their wish to make a blanket statement like that.

It's a catch-all term for anyone whose policies straddle the left/right border for whatever reason. In other words: it doesn't describe a coherent political ideology, and it's kinda useless as a term.

"Moderates", as the term is used in politics, are something I broadly support. A moderate is usually more open to negotiation and reasoning than an extremist. I respect a moderate right-wing person more than I respect an extreme left-wing person, because at least I can have a conversation with the former; the latter will never be pleased, nor will their counterparts on the other end of the horseshoe.

Sonmi:
My two cents; it's a common front against extremism, but will eventually leave people from all across the political spectrum unsatisfied.

CyanCat47:
Marie Le Pen

*Marine

That's the hallmark of a good compromise: each side is equally unhappy. Better than one side being happy and one side REEEEAAAALLLLLLLLY unhappy.

Smithnikov:

Saelune:
I havent seen any centrists or moderates in a long time. Its all right-wingers who want to pretend they are not right-wingers, but seem to mysteriously only ever have a problem with the left.

This time a hundred. Sort of like how egalitarians only show up to the party when it's feminists shoveling the stupid rhetoric, and not when people like Roosh or Vox Day are speaking...

I am a left leaning moderate with varying opinions on many issues. I am not a right winger pretending I am not, despite the false aspersions cast by some. Some of us may have a political core on one side or the other (in my case left) but hate the tactics and tone of extreme members of their own side enough they want to distance themselves from the vengeful sadists who try and get people fired.

inu-kun:

But when it was voted it was also a left wing cause, the fact it didn't go their way does not magically make rever their choice. Also, you need to prove that a significant majority of the people on the left wing who voted for Brexit did not get their wish to make a blanket statement like that.

Of course it doesn't magically reverse their choice; I never said it did. I said that now that the Government has made clear that only certain interests (and promises) will be served by leaving, we can safely say it's a good thing for the Right, and a bad thing for the Left. Were both interests served, it would not be a Right-Left issue. That is not the case.

NB: I do not think I need prove that Left-wing people prioritise Left-wing interests. That's intuitive.

CyanCat47:

Parasondox:

inu-kun:
Was Brexit a right-wing thing? I got the impression that it just depends on the world view rather than a strict right/left positioning. Anyways, I'd take those decision as aversion of Globalism rather than a nebulous "alt-right" which lumps together sane people with neo-nazis and trolls.

In general it seems the center is the best decision right now due to both right wing and left wing going very extreme, with both willing to barter with the scum of society to get "ideological purity" moniker.

It wasn't meant to be a right wing thing but was high jacked by right wing politicians pushing their own agenda. That's what annoyed me.

oh also,

CyanCat47:
(Yes i stole your format Parasondox)

I am going to go all Nintendo on your ass, CyanCat47.

You are gonna shove a gaming console up my ass? At least buy me dinner first

No no. Im going to copyright strike you... and then the console fucking thing. I have my fetishes ;)

Why do some people assume left is good and right is evil?

My political views are a mix, I lean centre-left economically and right-wing in social issues.

Centrism can work if it means common sense, no extremism, and taking the best of the left and the best of the right and making it all work. You can't make everyone happy but if done well, it can be an effective solution.

The rise of right-wing politics is a response to people who don't want globalism, mass immigration, dilution of a country's culture and identity and want back control of the economy (Europe). I'm pro-EU, but the EU needs a big shakeup, BADLY. The other reason is the political correctness that has gone off the deep end and needs to stop.

Also, left and right can vary slightly from country to country. Here in Portugal, the far left is in favour of leaving the EU, whereas the right that governed before was Merkel's puppet like Macron will be. The centre-left that is in power now is so far striking a good balance.

Delicious Anathema:
Why do some people assume left is good and right is evil?

Same reason that those on the right believe the opposite?

Anyway, I did a political spectrum poll awhile ago - I wouldn't describe myself as centrist, more center-left. Most people on the Escapist lean towards the left by the looks of it, but it isn't hard to find sites where people lean the opposite way.

Delicious Anathema:
Why do some people assume left is good and right is evil?

My political views are a mix, I lean centre-left economically and right-wing in social issues.

Well, let's look at what that would have looked like in a different context removed from our present situation; ~150 years ago in the northern United States, since the global conversation is unduly influenced by the United States and its history anyway.

"Centre-left economically"-- mild distaste toward slavery, support of light protective tariffs and a national bank with inflating currency, support of industrialists and hostility toward unions, support of public funding for schools, railroads. (Goods need to get to and from factories and industrial workers need to be able to read, don't you know?)
"Right-wing in social issues"-- women definitely can't vote, atheists shouldn't be allowed to testify in court, sodomy is a crime deserving somewhere from imprisonment to death, almost certainly a belief in some form of race pseudoscience (known at the time as 'race science'-- this view would only be probable rather than inevitable for someone left-wing in social issues at that time).

I can't imagine.

Also, I probably made some mistakes in my characterizations about "center left" economic views in the circa 1870-- mostly because it's arguable what that even means (I took it to mean the economic views of a moderate Republican)-- so definitely double check that if you're interested.

Seanchaidh:

Delicious Anathema:
Why do some people assume left is good and right is evil?

My political views are a mix, I lean centre-left economically and right-wing in social issues.

Well, let's look at what that would have looked like in a different context removed from our present situation; ~150 years ago in the northern United States, since the global conversation is unduly influenced by the United States and its history anyway.

"Centre-left economically"-- mild distaste toward slavery, support of light protective tariffs and a national bank with inflating currency, support of industrialists and hostility toward unions, support of public funding for schools, railroads. (Goods need to get to and from factories and industrial workers need to be able to read, don't you know?)
"Right-wing in social issues"-- women definitely can't vote, atheists shouldn't be allowed to testify in court, sodomy is a crime deserving somewhere from imprisonment to death, almost certainly a belief in some form of race pseudoscience (known at the time as 'race science'-- this view would only be probable rather than inevitable for someone left-wing in social issues at that time).

I can't imagine.

Also, I probably made some mistakes in my characterizations about "center left" economic views in the circa 1870-- mostly because it's arguable what that even means (I took it to mean the economic views of a moderate Republican)-- so definitely double check that if you're interested.

I fail to see how this is relevant when discussing modern left and right wing politics apart from a lasting impression that may or not reflect today in some people.

If I was around back then I probably would have been left wing, but it seems nowadays being conservative/centrist seems like good common sense, and I was left wing until a year ago.

Define centrism?

After all, I support free trade, globalism, but also universal healthcare, welfare and progressive taxation systems (because of economic benefits to society alone of UHC and ending regressive taxation is known by now) ...

That's a centre right position right there.

Or are we measuring the left-right dichotomy as per idiots who think supporting things like LGBTQ equality somehow makes you inherently leftist despite the clearly utilitarian argument that it is a moral duty to form the truest opinion one can, and ignoring both scientific evidence and personal liberty is in its favour and is harmful to happiness?

Centrist positions are entirely valid as long as we coach the arguments in terms of economic theory and philosophy. If we're measuring as if Bizarro world, I'm a red flag waving Marxist even as I live on investments anf lead the very definition if a bourgeois existence. By any sensible evaluation ... a go-go 80s Reaganaut but with a social conscience.

Or in truth, at heart, a perhaps rosy interpretation of Nixonesque centrism. All the good stuff (and there were a lot of improvements over the warmongering New Deal types) ... less the bad stuff (like a Constitutional crisis of democracy!)...

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