Centrism, Features, Politics
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Seeking Refuge in the Embattled Centre

A few days ago, Lindsay Shepherd, the Canadian free speech Joan of Arc, bloodied but unbowed by her brush with the grand inquisitors of Laurier University’s virtue squad, announced that she was no longer left-wing, and was taking up a position in the political centre. For months she had been courted and wooed by right-wing provocateurs and held up as an exemplar of courage in the face of her university’s nosey-parker thought police. She had been interviewed by Mark Stein, Jordan Peterson, and Dave Rubin among many other older and more sophisticated interlocutors in the wake of her dressing down, and vilified by some of the louder, more insistent puritans on the Left. This 23-year-old Master’s student quickly became a sensation on Twitter and YouTube, the newly made-up face on the prow of a ship slicing through choppy ideological seas.

At once defiant and confessional, Shepherd declared that she had grown to distrust the motives and aspirations of left-wing “social justice warriors.” She explained that actions and attitudes like bike-riding and worrying about the environment that she had once assumed were left-wing, she now saw were merely sensible, and intended to claim them for her new, centrist position. All that remained in the left-wing camp, she declared, was bullying and ideological purity-policing. Interestingly, one of her complaints about the Left was their inability to distinguish between white nationalism and white supremacy. This granular sidebar made her centrist bona fides a little hard to swallow.

During her conversation with Mark Steyn in March, a rather stilted affair during which Steyn spoke quite a bit and Shepherd mostly agreed, she did allow that her new boyfriend was “far right.” One wonders: does love conquer all, after all? Regarding her deer in the headlights attitude during the interview, I couldn’t help but feel for her. At 23, it would probably have gone the same way for me.

I’ve never been a joiner. An extroverted introvert, I’m temperamentally allergic to pinning name tags on my lapel and declaring myself a member of the group, no matter how laudable that group’s goals might be. I’ve always been drawn to the rebels in the room, the romantics, the artists, the smart and the grumpy. When I was young, I thought business was for greedy bores, and if I thought about capitalism at all it was as a necessary evil at best, a soul-destroying machine of environmental degradation at worst. People who worked in banks or toiled away for corporations were alien, half-alive wretches, and capitalists were frightening, power-mad philistines. Nevertheless, my first marriage was to a stockbroker, and then the tech boom happened, and entrepreneurs were elevated in the public imagination, and in my private one, to the artists and rebels of the twentieth century.

Today, in the Trump Age, the yin and yang of yore look like funny little antiques in a cabinet of curiosities. It’s no longer The Man against The People, or the Corporate State against Labour, or the assembly line against the artisan. Now, it’s The Man for the People against the Chinese assembly line, Western civilisation against the teeming hordes landing on our shores, Western civilisation against itself, Man against Woman against Man against the spongers against opiates against the law.

Western societies are riven in a way they have not been in decades. Automation and globalization have razed the rust-belt working class. Cheap goods from foreign lands have been a boon and a consolation, but not enough of either. The placid Pax Europa is curdling as national pride and xenophobia join hands once again, scowling at immigrants and open border die-hards. America has laid down for all her attention-seeking babies to snuggle up together in her lap with their smart phones and social media. Evangelicals, gun nuts, libertarians, America Firsters, white supremacists and white nationalists (if you don’t know the difference, ask Lindsay), trade protectionists, Big Beautiful Wall promoters, and the Putin-sympathetic are fighting for mother America’s love against Bernie bros, trans allies, Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood supporters, pro-immigration activists, Hollywood, and higher education.

But there’s a scrappy runt in there too, fighting for space with the only weapon it’s got: reasoned dialogue. It’s the centre, the eye of the storm, the gorgeous, calm place where Steven Pinker has set up an airy tent, open to anyone willing to entertain the idea that the red-faced naysayers are just alarmists who aren’t listening to the better angels of their natures. It’s where Bret Weinstein, hounded away from the fringes, has found a place to catch his breath, speak his mind and inspire the rest of us to think slow, not fast. For a small band of Republicans like David Frum, Rick Wilson, and Bill Kristol, it’s the no-man’s land across which they used to lob grenades as they took pot shots at their enemies, and onto which they have now stridden, hands extended toward the open-minded Left for a beautiful Christmas Day armistice. Like mustard gas, Donald Trump has driven them over the walls of their trenches and into the arms of their antagonists, if only for a brief while. The centre has also become a refuge for Leftists embarrassed by the hectoring, disapproving tones and ultra-progressive social engineering plans of their former comrades.

The fringes are circling around, trying to figure out what is going on inside. Many on both the Left and the Right feel stung by the departure of their former allies, deeply suspicious of their motives, convinced they were never really fighting on the same side. Frum, Wilson, and Kristol are derided as RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) by a drink-the-Koolaid-and-damn-the-torpedoes GOP. They also get flak from the uncompromising peanut gallery overseeing the Democrats’ interests, the disapproving nannies imploring their fellow travellers not to fall for the honeyed tones of the neo-cons. In the United States there are fewer well-known apostates from the Democratic Party as there’s nowhere good to go. As we’ve seen, however, a number of public intellectuals who identify with traditional leftist ideas have moved to the centre. It is where they can speak freely about the strident, anti-scientific fact-fudging and micro-issue focus of some of the more fanciful members of the contemporary Left.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK Labour Party

In the UK, the Labour Party has been hijacked by a far-Left faction led by Jeremy Corbyn, gormless friend to Hezbollah and Hamas, and capitalism’s most implacable English foe. Reports from the north indicate that a number of party meetings have been segregated by gender, a tribute to the delicate sensibilities of the Islamic attendees. Corbynistas insist their leader is being maligned, that he’s the victim of a transparent smear campaign, but the evidence is stacking up against them. Aghast at what he views as Labour’s coddling of anti-Semites, the party’s most important donor, Sir David Garrard, has discontinued his funding. Thousands of Labour Party members have turned in their cards thanks to the organization’s humourless, melodramatic turn to the far-Left. The party’s promiscuous embrace of faddish progressive causes and scoffing at moderates has nudged out all too many of their own members. Meanwhile, Brexit has turned brother against brother and torn friendships apart. The fight between Leavers and Remainers has been vicious, with both sides trying to demolish the other, leaving may Leavers to keep quiet about their choice lest they lose friends and put their careers in jeopardy.

Canada – well-governed, sensible Canada – where Justin Trudeau’s handsome face beams good will and middle-of-the-road Liberal Party certainties from coast to coast to coast (as we like to say), isn’t immune from the tug of progressive piety or the sour yank of conservatives – not throat-clearing, bean-counting Conservatives, but the new breed of reactionaries; the type who cheer when social programs falter and elect the likes of the late Rob Ford and, now, his brother Doug. The Liberal Party deftly outflanked the New Democrats in the last election and won by a landslide. They’ve always been easy to vote for. To be a Liberal in Canada was to be sensible but compassionate. It was to champion a market economy while paying high-ish taxes to share the fruits of our prosperity with the less fortunate. But while the Americans have Donald Trump, we’ve got our own, pocket-sized, made-in-Canada populists.

Nowadays, there is reason to worry about the Liberals and their zeal to make good on their election promises and set an example of twenty-first century wokeness to the world. They may squander the voters’ goodwill on quixotic quests for gender equity and other progressive causes. They risk losing the ardour of the Left as they pursue oil projects with dubious environmental credentials, and squash the hopes of indigenous groups who don’t want to see their lands despoiled. On the other hand, the government is currently holding its own in financial negotiations with its aggressive counterparts in the US, and that counts for a lot. But, if in the end the Liberals can’t hold the line on utopia, what then?

Canadian universities, much like those in the UK and the United States, are dominated by left-wing academics and well-compensated administrators who, decades into the diversity and equity programs they have set up and run, continue to insist that their institutions are rife with racism and gender discrimination. Critical theory sends its tentacles into virtually every academic domain, including the sciences, questioning the fundamental principles of knowledge acquisition in service of a theory that says all truth is relative. Even true truth.

All of this weirdness – the relentless pecking away at reason and common sense, the indulgence of fantasy, the attempts at shaming, and the assaults on the sensibilities of common folk and educated people alike – is sending sensible people scrambling for the exits. The centre is growing, becoming populated with refugees from the places that used to contain certainties. A heartening alternative to the trenches, no-man’s land is making bedfellows of strangers who find themselves turning to their former antagonists for comfort in the night. It’s a place where a person can breathe, look around, and make new friends.

Social media, for all its flaws, is able to draw unlike-minded people together: a former owner of an anarchist book store who now calls himself a centrist with libertarian sympathies; a British filmmaker who was a committed socialist in the 1980s but turned away from the Left after too many encounters with their unyielding purity police; a Welsh DJ who was born kicking and screaming into Labour but has long since skedaddled; a former manager of progressive comedians who finally gave up on her charges when every second joke they produced contained the words “kill” or “destroy,” usually aimed at Trump or his supporters. The filmmaker sees echoes of the old battles among the Left in today’s social justice warriors and is only too happy to have set up shop, however discreetly, at the centre of the political spectrum. The DJ watched the Left become ever more po-faced and mean, and misses the days when the English could kid each other about their respective politics, rather than rage from their respective corners. The comedy promoter now runs a dinner and discussion meet-up group composed of evangelicals, progressives, conservatives, and liberals. Nary a harsh word is spoken as they hash out their differences and celebrate their shared humanity, and she is happier than she’s ever been.

A unifying theme animating the contemporary political centre is the sense that free speech is under assault. Right wing and reactionary forces have dusted off the art of the big lie, which Vladimir Putin and his PR minions have been using to great effect for years. Now it’s America’s turn, and Donald Trump is a natural, fabricating stories out of thin air every day for the sheer joy of it. For his critics on the Right, enumerating the lies and explaining why they are dangerous is heresy – never mind that everyone knows Trump is a fear-mongering fabulist. For its part, the Left has student radicals fired up with enthusiasm for remaking society, righting the wrongs of the past and, most significantly, anticipating future wrongs. This leads many of them to quell dissent in the womb, accusing outliers of thought crimes and assuming impure motives. High on high dungeon they publicly break with friends and gather mobs to attack their own kind when they step out of line. Many leftists view the very fight for free speech as a fifth-column attack.

In fairness, torrents of fact-free drivel pour through our communication channels every day. Protecting free speech requires caravans of patience and an ability not only to identify the lies and propaganda, but mount adequate defensive and offensive strategies. Wolves in wolves’ clothing do occasionally snarl their way into the centre, spitting out sophistry, trying to seize the banner of truth for themselves. But their teeth are far too big to hold such a delicate object in their jaws. The really dangerous interlopers are the prophets.

This isn’t the first time in history that the world has produced intolerable political and moral options, or that ideological camps have retrenched and become hateful to one another. But the mood, the aesthetics, the weapons, the players and the sheer scale of today’s ideological and culture wars are particular to the times. The Internet hasn’t brought enlightenment to quite everyone yet, but it’s certainly helped spread the gospel of the mad, the marginalised and the malevolent. Let us hope that the centre holds. We’ll be joined by people who are really only passing through, because where they’re headed is actually just to the opposite side of wherever they were coming from. Lindsay Shepherd may be one of them. The centre is contested ground, and as collegial as some of the new friendships and alliances appear, and while appeals to reason and civilised debate are hallmarks of the place, it is still populated by people with vastly different political and social views.

Today, neoconservatives like David Frum and Bill Kristol eloquently express their disdain for the chaos of the Trump presidency, but how will the centrist coalition also accommodate those who still consider opposition to the Iraq war a test of political and moral decency? Globalisation has built strong middle classes in places like China and India but brought pain and purposelessness to formerly industrial regions across North America and Europe, from which centrism’s populist opponents are now benefitting. Should free trade be allowed to spread the wealth across the globe, or should Western nations rally to protect and rebuild manufacturing and repopulate gutted towns and regions? Immigration continues to divide well intentioned liberals on Left and Right who recognise a strong humanitarian imperative to protect and rescue refugees and also the need to maintain and defend national borders from disruptive levels of migration. And the competing perspectives on issues like these are so at odds and so existential that they tear at the fabric of civilised society – even in the moderate and pragmatic centre ground.

The centre is home to the devout and to atheists alike. Yet believers in a God that created the world and granted human beings consciousness may have some trouble hashing out society’s ills and their solutions with those who can’t quite get from here to life eternal. The biologist and science populariser Richard Dawkins, for instance, is a centrist by his lights, yet his exasperation with religion brings tears to the eyes of ‘moderate’ believers of all religious persuasions. The rift between unbelieving materialists and the faithful impacts the sober discussion of complex ethical issues like abortion, euthanasia, and stem cell research. It won’t always be easy to occupy or even to define the centre as these debates are hashed out, and strange bedfellows will elbow each other in the nose during the night.

Caveat emptor: as new fronts open up, and the centre ground shifts as the parameters of acceptable debate are established, some ideas will thrive and others will shrivel. But, in the end, the free speech defenders are right. Reason and discussion are preferable to the populist siren song of ideological certainty, and allowing opinions to come into the sun is the only way to judge their worth.

 

In a former life, Genevieve Weynerowski co-founded a personal carbon trading company. She now works as a writer and translator for film and magazines and is currently writing a murder mystery set in the age of migrant crises and climate change. You can follow her on Twitter @GWeynerowski

24 Comments

  1. I really respect Lindsay, she stood up, when most would have crumpled. The sad thing is, she was only speaking the obvious. its too bad that politics is dividing and conquering, when I was younger, things like fixing the roads were more important, now fixing the roads does takes work, costs money and doesnt get much thanks. Politics can scramble peoples minds, AND actually get lots of votes for the well planned, well organized ridiculous.
    Go Lyndsay Go!!! a young lady with lots of spunk..

  2. Emblem14 says

    Shepard is being led astray. Ha!

    Assuming she isn’t in fact a burgeoning alt-rightist, she has to get that however much you detest one group, that doesn’t mean that group’s opponents are any more correct or sympathetic on their own merits.

    Hopefully she’ll soon regret her pedantry regarding the difference between “White Nationalism” and “White Supremacy”. Not because of social media shaming, but from a further analysis that finds whatever semantic differences one could identify in theory, it all comes out in the fascist wash. What an idiotic example to hold up for why one would leave the left. What’s next, complaining that people are glossing over the important differences between slavery and indentured servitude? One can be excused for wondering about your priorities.

    As for the article – sadly, we all know the number of principled defenders of free speech is far smaller than the opportunistic bandwagoners who become born again civil libertarians whenever they’re on the losing side, only to convert back to gleeful PC enforcers of whatever stripe once they get a taste of power.

    • Kurt says

      RE:”Assuming she isn’t in fact a burgeoning alt-rightist, she has to get that however much you detest one group, that doesn’t mean that group’s opponents are any more correct or sympathetic on their own merit”

      It’s really hard to imagine how anybody or anything could be more vile and reprehensible than the cabal that attacked Lindsay. And yes, the people that didn’t corner and gang rape her as retribution for daring to have a thought are superior in every way to the cultists that did – cultists fond of mindlessly applying the term “white supremacy” to just about everything (don’t forget “alt-right” and “fascist” too). Normal, decent people that didn’t and don’t assault her win by default.

      So no, it wasn’t unwise for Lindsay to notice who it is that clearly states that she is an idiot for refusing to drink the intersectional Kool-Aid, and decide she isn’t one if them.

      One group calls her an idiotic, burgeoning alt-rightist pendant. Another group has flaws of its own, but respects her courage and doesn’t despise her for having the brains to question whether or not her skin color is inherently shameful, or whether nationalism is necessarily an evil on par with slavery. Where do you suppose she fits in?

      • Emblem14 says

        Corner and Gang Rape? Am I unaware of some horrible crime that befell Shapard, or are you using hyperbole to describe a twitter mob?

        “the people that didn’t corner and gang rape her as retribution for daring to have a thought are superior in every way”…”Normal, decent people that didn’t and don’t assault her win by default.”

        I fundamentally disagree with your reasoning and think it’s dangerous. Superior “in every way” – really? based on what? That’s a non sequitur. “Normal, Decent” – that’s an unsupported assumption.

        You cannot limit the analysis to a strictly comparative morality when determining the rightness or wrongness of a set of ideas. Ok, so X is “less bad” than Y. What does that tell you about the moral character of X? Nothing! Without some external standard to measure against, you acquiesce to evil as long as you can point to a relatively worse evil and convince yourself that you are trapped in a dichotomy. But it’s usually a false dichotomy.

        If I oppose the left, that doesn’t mean I *have* to get into bed with all the enemies of the left in some default mode of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Even if I think the left is the “worst” and everything else is less bad, that in no way implies that I support or sympathise with the things I think are “less bad” – they’re still bad! This kind of binary thinking is absurd and stunningly short-sighted.

        There’s no doubt people on the alt-right are trying to recruit her and attempting to use her as a pawn in their culture war/free speech battles. If you sympathize with the alt-right, we’re just not going to agree.

        To non alt-righters like myself, I suppose there is technically a (theoretical) difference between white nationalism and white supremacy. I would argue that it’s not a meaningful distinction, because they’re both based on ethnic collectivism, which lead to the same domestic consequences (ethnic cleansing as the only means of achieving the transition from plural to homogenous society) in practice. Maybe one is more intrinsically imperialistic than the other, but they’re both so odious to my values, it’s not relevant.

    • Brian Pereira says

      “Hopefully she’ll soon regret her pedantry regarding the difference between “White Nationalism” and “White Supremacy”. Not because of social media shaming, but from a further analysis that finds whatever semantic differences one could identify in theory, it all comes out in the fascist wash. What an idiotic example to hold up for why one would leave the left. What’s next, complaining that people are glossing over the important differences between slavery and indentured servitude? One can be excused for wondering about your priorities.”

      They are just two different categories… that was all she was saying… such sensitive people blowing this out of proportion…

      No one would ever call Japan a racist country focused on Japanese supremacy, but based on their actions Japan is a Japanese nationalist country…

      So if you are trying to conflate nationalism with supremacy then by your own words, many countries around the world are fascist.

      So is that the case, is Japan a fascist country?

      I dont agree at all with white (or any kind of racial) nationalism or supremacy but there is a difference and there is a difference between slavery and indentured servitude as well.

      You sound like a Leftist attempting to eliminate distinctions between words and language, are you a secret marxist?

      • Emblem14 says

        You made the key distinction yourself. There is a big difference between ethnic and non-ethnic nationalism. One requires collective ethnic homogeneity within a border, and the other allows for a far more pluralistic citizenry, who are bound together by loyalty to and affinity with the nation itself. One is an idea, and perhaps a set of obligations and duties, that must be shared in common, the other is a uniformity of skin color or ancestry. One can allow for all kinds of different people with different backgrounds as long as they all have a shared civic commitment, the other is just legally codified racial tribalism.

        Furthermore, if there are any ethnic minorities within an ethno-nationalist state, they must be treated differently, or else the ethno part in ethno-nationalism is meaningless by definition. When that happens, and a legal and cultural hierarchy based on ethnicity is enforced by the state, “white nationalism” becomes “white supremacy” automatically. There is no logical loophole.

        Plus, if you want to turn a multiethnic society into one that either favors one ethnicity over others, or removes ethnic diversity from the body politic, it requires either a supremacist legal regime or ethnic cleansing by force, respectively, two things that we ought to know require large measures of cruelty, ruthlessness and violence, and aren’t morally viable projects.

        And if you say “bu.but Israel!” Yes, Israel is a state that legally privileges Jews over non Jews, making it, *by definition* an ethno supremacist state, albeit one that doesn’t treat it’s second-class minorities as terribly as it could.

        Maybe ask yourself what makes Israel and America different in their founding principles and legal traditions before making the “if it’s ok for israel” argument.

        History will judge that it’s probably not “ok”.

    • Yes . You are right…. no one voice is perfect…. but reasoned and methodical reasoning coupled with inspiration must be embraced if we are to come together as Americans. This centre isn’t a place where ideology is rejected… it is where I accept that you may be ideologically different but we recognize the interests we have in common and work to reach agreements and solutions which most can adhere to. For this I champion this article as an imperfect step forward out of the morass of oligarchical control of the Republican and Democratic parties who have been the paid whores of these oligarchs.

    • I’m sort of ambivalent here. She was clearly in the right when she defended herself against the WLU tribunal, and her own views (as far as I understand them) aren’t particularly controversial, much less regressive. But why invite Faith Goldy to speak? Note, I’m not saying de-platform the woman. I just question the value, sanity, and fairness of her message. It’s not like she’s some great investigative journalist with a handful of out-there opinions or anything.

      • ga gamba says

        But why invite Faith Goldy to speak?

        Conversely, why not? She holds some views some find distasteful, perhaps even repellant, but would you prefer to hear them right from her mouth or should they only be presented by the interpretation of her critics?

        Note, I’m not saying de-platform the woman. I just question the value, sanity, and fairness of her message.

        But you just kind of did say that. OK, to be fair, you may not advocating she be de-platformed, which requires an invitation to the platform be given. Rather, it seems to me you object to the invitation being given in the first place. So, it’s not that you’re saying de-platform her, your objection is the platforming itself. Though the sequence differs, the result is the same: she may not speak. And what assurances do we have of your message’s value, sanity, and fairness? How do we know you’re a skilled practitioner of armchair psychological diagnosis? Yet, you’ve been given a platform, i.e. the comment section here, to smear.

        It’s not like she’s some great investigative journalist with a handful of out-there opinions or anything.

        Fair enough you don’t find any value in her investigative journalist skills, yet you’re simply one person with one opinion. Within the realm of possibility there are others who may find she has something interesting to say. Further, ‘greatness’ is often acquired through practice. A lot of it. Even Mozart had to sit at the piano and plonk away at the keys for a while. To reserve the platform for those who’ve attained ‘greatness’ does two things. Firstly, it usually relies on someone’s subjective opinion to determine it, and with this all the baggage accompanying it. Do these judges need to be great also? Secondly, it denies the platform to all the rest of us mediocre people who from time to time may actually have something noteworthy to contribute – it was a child who called out the emperor’s new clothes, wasn’t it? Even if the opinion is wrong headed, by allowing it to be voiced the listeners have their right to debunk it. Accompanying the right to speech is the right to listen and reply; it seems to me this latter part of the equation is too often forgotten by speech foes.

        Let’s not ignore on university campuses increasingly we see more politicised courses, such as those advocating diversity and inclusivity, being mandated. Not only must students attend, it’s a graded course affecting a student’s GPA and the outcomes based on that. Ms Goldy’s speech is not a mandatory event nor are students graded. I struggle to find legitimate reasons why some oppose what is a voluntary and peaceful activity that has no consequence to the students’ academic prospects. I suppose opposition is due to the catastrophisation of ‘normalising’.

  3. Brian Pereira says

    “…but the new breed of reactionaries; the type who cheer when social programs falter and elect the likes of the late Rob Ford and, now, his brother Doug.”

    It’s interesting… very interesting that you seem to have the same disdain for Leftists as those on the right… yet

    you list many things that the Left has done that is really bad for society but you’re criticism of us conservatives is that we cheer when social programs falter and we support Ford?

    Really?

    It’s like people have this automatic hate for conservatives just because we are conservative, but to criticise the Left there needs to be actual reasons that can be pointed to…

    Pretty disappointed with this article.

    PS. What the hell is with the snark here – “…white supremacists and white nationalists (if you don’t know the difference, ask Lindsay),”

    Think of it scientifically, white nationalists are one category and white supremacists a different one, that is all she was pointing out yet you make it as if she has some secret pro white agenda that she is subtly pushing.

    I like the fact that you call out the Left but so much of your criticism of the Right is pretty shitty and underhanded. But I guess some people need to desperately virtue signal their position as a rebel who doesnt ascribe to any side… oh great and moral neutral person with no bias please lead the way for us who have choosen a side as we are obviously too idiotic and immoral to figure things out on our own…

  4. Brian Pereira says

    Heres the Truth about Doug Ford that this author doesnt want to admit…

    He is NOT our Canadian Trump, as in this author and many others try to imply…

    He is just a business man ready to make IMPORTANT changes for our province that has been horribly mismanaged for so long…

    And the majority of his supporters are good people who are tired of the identity politics, tired of mismanagement of our money, tired of being driven further and further into debt, tired of not being looked after by our leaders while they pander to hyper progressive and many times counter productive progressive causes…

    We are mostly just normal people sick of the bullshit. Not gullible idiots brainwashed by populism and cheering for the death of social programs…

    Ive noticed something about people in the “middle” or who refuse to take a side. They act all high and mighty like they are morally superior to everyone else because only THEY weren’t dumb enough to fall for a political leaning, only THEY can see all the faults clearly, only THEY can decide who is really in the center and not…

    Honestly Im starting not to see much of a difference between these new centrists and the far Left…

  5. Darren, nottingham says

    There’s a very simple answer – Georgism: the best of both right and left, achieved via tax reform.

  6. Dan Meisels says

    I would love an article analysing some polling on what centrists agree on, what issues a consensus could be built around.

  7. Lindsay should be a model for feminists, a young woman who stands up to over whelming power with only her wits and a desire for freedom of thought and expression on her side.

  8. Charles White says

    My takeaway from this article is that it was written by a socialist who has decided to define what the centre in terms of socialism. The big give away was the analysis of Canada’s current socialist government, This is the methodology of the socialists, to redefine the terms.

  9. The Centre isn’t the solution because it’s not a Right and Left issue.

    I have friends on the libertarian left and the libertarian right. I can go for a pint with either. I’m happy to debate them online and in person. The common factor is that libertarianism.

    The problem is the authoritarianism endemic to Trumpism, ethnonationalism, Corbinism and SJWism.

    Retreating to a mythical centrist position where there’s fuck all debate because nobody really gives a shit one way or the other isn’t a solution. There’s plenty to debate about.

    The point is that we should be able to argue for our values without some online lynchmob or black-clad thug destroying our careers or beating us half to death with a bike chain.

  10. Bill says

    Hokum. Once again trying to create a simplistic definition of a political leaning which is not simplistic. Liberal – Moderate – Conservative, Left – Center – Right….Oh yes, it’s that simple…except when you realize there is more than one topic. That’s the irony of the “conservative” being an evangelical, even when they are athiest? The alt-right = NeoNazi racist! But what about the ones who are Jewish or black? OMG…Leavers vs Stayers…clearly Populism = Evil…except when they want to slap “buy American/buy Local” labels on things?

    Here’s a tip — those labels are slander. You will rarely (if ever) find a person who meets all those diverse definitions that fall into the bucket described as “Left, Center, Right.” Those terms are now smears. Call someone Left and the stereotype is now a black hooded, bat carrying Antifa member throwing eggs at women in San Jose (or maybe you envision Harvey Weinstein leering at a 16 year old girl trying to break into show biz). Call someone “right wing” and you are slapping a Hitler / Neo Nazi/Skinhead w/ swastika tattoos stereotype on them. The Center has been treated as the agnostic so long that nobody knows what they are anymore — hence the socialist view described here or the who knows what you see in the US descriptions. Remember what Blue Dog democrats were? TeaParty republicans were fiscally focused, who cares about religion types until rebranded by the Left to again be Hitler-reincarnate.

  11. Shepard wants freedom but like so many in her age bracket hasn’t got a clue what that is and or grasps [until recently] that big government will always find a way to remove it under the guise of “saving you”. She listed a series of “issues” that have zero “left / right” place on the political spectrum. The spectrum: You either support large centrally controlled economies or not and you’re either an authoritarian or not. People keep forgetting that the nazi’s were socialist authoritarians putting them squarely on the left and up on the spectrum [it’s a cross]. You can be a “nationalist” on the left as well as right, so to charge a nationalist as being “alt right” is just plain ignorant.

    As for our PM “trulander” – he was put in power by our media and a host of foreign financial contributors running anti conservative, anti Harper campaigns prior and during the election. The sock boy is a puppet like no other acting as lipstick on who ever is actually pulling his strings, pushing the worst kind of anti Canadian big government authoritarian policies never before seen in this nation. People that vote for the always and egregiously corrupt liberal party are the low information politically economically ignorant who keep thinking you can tax and in-debt yourself into being wealthy. No is the answer.

  12. Alex says

    “Interestingly, one of her complaints about the Left was their inability to distinguish between white nationalism and white supremacy. This granular sidebar made her centrist bona fides a little hard to swallow.”

    I also found that sidebar to be interesting when I watched Lindsay’s video.

    She is correct. Appreciating and wanting to defend your ‘tribe’ is not the same as thinking it is better than all the others. Those who insist on conflating the two are the ones of whom we should be suspicious, in my opinion, as the intent is malicious.

  13. Jeff York says

    The difference between white-nationalism and white-supremacy seems obvious to me. White-nationalism is based on the premise that “birds of a feather” quite naturally want to “flock together.” We’re genetically hard-wired to want to live, work, marry and have our children with people who are like us racially, ethnically, culturally and religiously. We’ve all been propagandized from birth that this is somehow wrong but I don’t see how it’s wrong to simply prefer to be surrounded by members of our “tribe.”

    White-supremacy, on the other hand, is based on the belief that Caucasians of European ancestry are inherently superior and should be at the apex of any multi-racial society.

    Societies that are homogenous tend to be harmonious and have high levels of social trust & cohesion. Examples include Japan and the Scandinavian countries. (Less and less true of Sweden with each passing day). Societies that are heterogeneous, i.e. diverse, tend to be chaotic and have low levels of social trust & cohesion. Examples include 5th-century Rome, the Balkans at different times in history, Rwanda in 1994, Darfur in the 2000s, parts of Africa and the Middle East and increasingly the U.K., the U.S. and parts of Europe.

    The Japanese, in particular, understand something about demographics & destiny that the West collectively does not.

    • Burt Reagan says

      I don’t think following every evolutionary whim is the correct way to craft modern civilization. Many things make sense in evolutionary terms (tribalism, as you say) that are morally repugnant in modernity. Japan is a deeply bigoted, backwards place in very many ways. Hardly a goal to strive towards. As Bret Weinstein says, the key is to remove evolution from behind the wheel and allow careful reason to take over. This “ethno” view of base tribalism as correct seems regressive and deeply unrealistic. We can do better.

      • Jeff York says

        BR, I get what you’re saying but I still think the Japanese have made the right choice. They must look at the mass-rapes and mass-murders in the U.K., Sweden, Germany, Belgium and elsewhere, as well as the degradation in the overall quality of life that third-world immigration brings, and think that westerners are suicidal, insane or both.

        I served in seven third-world dystopias, four of them Islamic visions of what can only be described as Hell on Earth, I kid you not. The West *is* collectively *insane* to allow these people in and in large numbers. No, not all Muslims are quote-unquote bad although even the so-called moderates have beliefs that range from deeply-disturbing to downright *hair-raising*.

        According to one model the population of Africa is projected to increase from 1.3-billion today to 4-billion by 2100. If the U.S. and Europe were to each take 5%, 200-million, over the next ~80 years they would quite literally be destroyed and the remaining 3.6-billion in Africa wouldn’t even notice they were missing.

        I’m telling you, Burt, and I’m quite serious, this is *not* going to end well.

  14. Chris says

    The characterisation of Jeremy Corbin as ‘gormless’ is quite inaccurate. Can I suggest ‘spiteful’ or ‘peevish’ instead?

  15. Pingback: You Don’t Have to be a Milquetoast to be a Centrist – Genevieve Weynerowski

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