If there’s one noticeable recurring motif in the hallowed pages of the Nexus — well, besides how to acquire cheap liquor — it’s the nasty, unending volley of mud between those on either end of the political spectrum. One day the right is a stinking pack of backward, uneducated hillbillies scared to death of progress, the next day the left is nothing but a clump of powerless, hand-wringing weenies who have no firm grasp of either self-defense or basic economics. While it’s typically up to the reader to decide which of these evaluations to agree with, let’s not hastily turn away from the third possibility: They’re both correct.
Hey, I’m as tired of this gibbering banter between the two sides as you are. The only thinking-person’s way out of this mess is to take the true high road, away from the political onanism of the would-be Michael Moores and Ann Coulters of this world. Just imagine a position where you’re suddenly — almost magically — free to hold the worthwhile views of either lefty or righty while also free to discard their patently unworkable, half-baked pipe-dreams. This, my friends, is possible through centrism.
On one hand, I realize that the United States should take as many steps as are necessary to ensure that its enemies don’t come to power. I don’t support the mandatory redistribution of wealth to “level the field.” I know that the rich aren’t inherently evil. I understand that recycling your newspapers doesn’t do a damn bit of good and it has long since been obvious to me that wealth isn’t a zero-sum game — yes, it just isn’t possible for America to “hog all of the money.”
On the other hand, I’m not driven by my personal relationship with a ghost in the sky. I feel that any free citizen should have the unconditional right to marry whomever — or whatever — he or she wishes, and, though I do not and would not use any of them, I dream of the day when all — not some, all — drugs are legalized. I’m not a big fan of George W. Bush, but I didn’t want to have a hand in putting John Kerry’s finger on the button, either.
Sounds great, right? When you’re in the center, you don’t have to buy into any flawed, overarching party line; you get to believe in what makes sense and nothing more. I pity the poor liberals out there who, just because they’d like to see gay marriage allowed, are then obligated to also get behind boondoggles like the Kyoto Protocol. Of course, I also pity the poor conservatives who, in the name of such reasonable causes as the prevention of excessive government interference into their lives, must align themselves with those who claim virtue based upon their steadfast adherence to ancient myths.
Oh, but don’t think centrists encounter no opposition. Every now and again, some teenage political blowhard tries to rain on my middle-of-the-road parade by accusing me of not sticking to any straight set of ideals; to some, it’s either God-and-Country-forever or everyone-should-be-equal, and there ain’t no in-between. I’m here to tell you that there is indeed an in-between, and boy, is it ever a sweet place to be. If politics were a buffet, centrism allows you to take as many fine cuts of meat and sweet, sweet desserts — say, advocacy of individual freedom and the aspects of government that actually help the populace — and leave behind the vile dried asparagus tips and beef kidneys – wasteful feel-good social programs and anything “faith-based” — for those who pretend to enjoy such things as they painstakingly choke them down, knowing deep inside that nothing good will come of them.
Colin Marshall is a sophomore communication and business economics major.