Author: Bo Winegard

“Equalitarianism” and Progressive Bias

“In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs, it is the rule.” –Friedrich Nietzsche   “I want to understand how a normal brain becomes conservative,” my professor said. “That is the thing that most puzzles me.” At the time (I was in my early twenties) I completely agreed*. That was the question. Sometimes I would stare at a picture of G. W. Bush like Hamlet staring at a skull, pondering how any sane human could have voted for him. It just didn’t make sense. Progressivism was so obviously correct that it baffled me that anyone could deviate from its basic principles. I didn’t hate conservatives. I even knew one or two. I was just befuddled by them. Most social scientists feel today about conservatives as my professor and I did then. Almost all social scientists (especially social psychologists) are socially liberal, and most of them voted for Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. To many of these scientists, conservatives are like eccentric antiquities that belong in a museum, where they can be …

The Spirit of Centrism

“The far-right and far-left can be equally insane.”  ~John P. Avlon Centrism is a decidedly wimpy word, but it is a powerful political idea. Over the last few weeks, many commentators and critics have compelled me to contemplate centrism more carefully. Is centrism a kind of “average” of extremes: They want single-payer insurance; the other side wants free market insurance; centrists want some unique hybrid? What then when the extreme position is the correct one? Does the centrist defy the truth simply to mold the world to his or her obsessions with compromise? As I’ve contemplated these important questions, I’ve begun to believe that the truly unique and important thing about centrism is its insistence on debate, and its uneasiness with prepackaged dogmas and identity narratives. Centrism is a flexible political position, but it is inflexible in its urging of open inquiry and spirited discourse. Comprised of many competing interests and factions, modern post-industrial society is incredibly complicated. The best policies are difficult to discover, and they almost always require painful tradeoffs. The most straightforward …

Centrism: A Moderate Manifesto

Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; W. B. Yeats Centrism. It’s a decidedly wimpy and unexciting word and it often inspires derision as a kind of pallid purgatory for those afraid to take bold action or propound creative political ideas. Worse, it is less a coherent philosophy than a potpourri of concerns, complaints, and anxieties about other philosophies. The center is where those who can’t quite commit to something better land. And the centrist is that staid friend who orders vanilla pudding for fear that anything unique might offend his delicate palette. These common complaints might contain more than a kernel of truth, but centrism doesn’t need to be dull or incoherent. Understood properly, centrism is a consistent philosophical system that attempts to guide political and cultural systems through change without paroxysms of revolution and violence. The centrist, in this sense, believes that political and cultural progress is best achieved by caution, temperance, and compromise, not extremism, radicalism, or violence. Like …