A Centrist Is … A Believer In The Greater Good

A centrist is a state of mind, not a political belief.

A centrist can be left, right, statist, libertarian or even a menshevik (but probably not a bolshevik).

Centrists believe that we are all in this together and we can find a solution if we work together.

I consider myself a conservative — a progressive conservative even: open to new ideas and ways of doing things.

Progressive should mean that you see something that needs a solution and you put your mind to find a way to achieve a positive outcome.

There can be contradictions. I am often contradictory.

— I believe Social Security would have been found unconstitutional if Roosevelt hadn’t threatened political stacking of the deck by changing the Supreme Court’s structure. Yet I also believe that Social Security is a great idea, an appropriate policy for any nation with a modern, non-agrarian workforce that really doesn’t have the means to finance their eventual retirement.

— I believe that the individual mandate of the Affordable Health Care Act, aka ObamaCare, is unconstitutional but I am all for a national healthcare plan and universal coverage. We could have creatively worked out a solution that covered more without mandating coverage of all.

A Centrist can be contradictory in what they believe and in what they are willing to accept. I am an American first and a conservative second.

It bothers me to no end the occasional chatter about something being unconstitutional or not what our founders intended. In both cases such folks seldom have a clue what they are talking about — and obviously know little of our founders; whereas Madison drafted most of the Constitution he couldn’t sell it and it took a strong federalist like Alexander Hamilton, who strongly disagreed with Madison (and Jefferson) on many things, to convince the several states (including Virginia which was among the very last) to ratify the Constitution. It took a Centrist that believed in the greater good and willing to trade some of his own priorities in order to get passage of a founding document which had numerous objectionable aspects to him.


There is not a lot of competition for the center.

And let’s not confuse being centrist with being moderate, although there are commonalities.

I consider myself first and foremost a conservative. It bothers me greatly however that conservatism really has very little meaning today in relationship with being a principled conservative that is not seen as cold hearted, mean and often spiteful.

There are those that are trying to rewrite the principles of conservatism. Here is a case in point: http://tinyurl.com/43xdqlg — the author perverts a number of traditional conservative principles in a very Ayn Randian way.

Here is a conservative Q&A website that shows perverted conservatism in action. This website poses a series of indoctrinal questions about what conservatism means and how conservatives should think about the situation or issue: http://tinyurl.com/3jc6k8f

One of my (dis)favorites is:


>> A: “Conservatives do care about what happens to such people. That’s why they oppose government programs that multiply the poor, weak, discouraged, and outcast by undermining and disrupting the network of habits and social relations that enable people to carry on their lives without depending on government bureaucracy.”

I guess there was no problem the day before the government got involved, eh?

I am very much for minimal government. Yet government does have a role to play … and blaming the government for being inefficient at dealing with the failure of our society to successfully deal with issues on our own is a very poor criticism in my book.

So if all of that seems contradictory … well, at least you can’t convict me of being dogmatic.



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6 responses to “A Centrist Is … A Believer In The Greater Good

  1. George S. Harris

    While many people downplay Wikipedia, it does seem to be a fair reference tool. Your description of “Centerist” seems to be one that you have developed to fit what you think Centrism is.


    But if it works for you, I suppose that is OK. When I review what Wikipedia has to say, most of us probably fit the broader definition, but I don’t see anything that says , …we are all in this together and we can find a solution if we work together.” Except maybe a “Pragmatic Centerist” might feel that way.

    You also say that perhaps you are a “progressive conservative”. It seems to me that the way the term “progressive” is being used by the Re/Teapublicans, the two terms are mutually exclusive. The term “progressive” is the new “socialist” as I see how the right is using the term. I suppose it is possible to be a “progressive conservative” but it seems to me that present day “concervatives” are unwilling to look at anything new–simply wanting to go back to some time that never was.

  2. Wikipedia has my definition covered:

    “As a pragmatic political position:
    Centrism is sometimes associated with political pragmatism, in that the position is not necessarily aligned to a political ideology.”

    As for working for the greater good, I could be cynical and define pragmatism as just meaning: I got something. You got something. So let’s both leave happy with whatever we both were able to scavenge.

    … But I prefer to believe that pragmatism means that we understand that we can’t always get our way. If in the larger sense the situation appears to favor a generally positive outcome for us all, something for the greater good, then that can be an acceptable outcome.

    It’s my reality. I made it up. I am not changing my story.

  3. George S. Harris

    I can agree about your idea of pragmatism but probably from a more liberal point of view. Sometime if we ever have the opportunity, I will tell you a story about the Meyers-Briggs Type Inventory and the observations of two guys standing on a factory floor in a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant.

  4. ck

    Let’s hope the nation gets taken by “centrifical” force!

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