Saturday, May 07, 2005

Are You A Blind Partisan? Question 1

Welcome to the first of these semi-occasional efforts to help define the political middle ground in America. It has been inspired by reading blogs like The Moderate Voice for a few months now. At least once a week Joe Gandleman over at TMV will take some position or other that cause people (including myself I admit) to post comments about how un-moderate Joe has suddenly become. Many of the commentators seem to be laboring under the false impression that being a moderate means not holding lefty/righty tendencies. This is simply impossible. There is no way to define a middle policy position on every issue, so every true moderate will hold a morass of opinions that will probably skew to the left or right. This is how it has to be. To discover that TMV has a center/left view of the world simply describes him. It does nothing to discredit his claim to be a moderate. The fact the Iconic Midwest is center/right in orientation doesn't harm my own claim to moderateness. Simply put, the claim to moderateness does not lie in any specific policy prescriptions. There is no "Centrist Manifesto" out there laying out a precise moderate program to follow. What really defines moderateness is less specific and more negative. Moderateness stands in distinction to blind ideological partisanship of the lefty or righty variety. Moderates are those individuals that are less ideologically inclined (at the minimum) or actively anti-ideological (at the maximum.) Moderates will often disagree with each other on this or that issue, but that is no problem because being a moderate means not expecting uniformity of opinions (aka ideological purity.)

There are some folks out there who may be unsure if they are moderates or not, and it is for those people that I will be posting these questions. Being a moderate means not being a blind partisan or an easy hypocrite. If you find yourself thinking that taking hypocritical positions is inevitable in political matters, you are probably a blind partisan of one stripe or another. The following will illustrate, hopefully.

Question 1:

Note your impression to the following statements:

A) Strom Thurmond's segregationist and racist past should have precluded him from any influence or position of power. The Republicans should feel ashamed to call him one of their own.

B) Robert Byrd's time in the KKK should have precluded him from any influence or position of power. The Democrats should feel ashamed to call him one of their own.

C) Bill Clinton's marching against his country as a younger man proves that he didn't have the judgment needed to be President of the United States.

D) George Bush's arrest for drunk driving as a younger man proves that he didn't have the judgment needed to be President of the United States.


Results:

If you find yourself agreeing with A & D, but making excuses for B & C you are a blind partisan (and in this case a hypocrite.)

If you find yourself agreeing with B & C, but making excuses for A & D you are a blind partisan (and in this case a hypocrite.)

If you find yourself agreeing with all of them you are not a blind partisan (or a hypocrite.)

If you find yourself disagreeing with all of them you are not a blind partisan (or a hypocrite.)

If you find yourself agreeing with A & B AND disagreeing with C & D you are not a blind partisan (or a hypocrite.)

If you find yourself disagreeing with A & B AND agreeing with C & D you are not a blind partisan (or a hypocrite.)

If your impressions do not fit any of the above categories, you are an iconoclast, which is a form of idiosyncratic ideology. You'd do best to get over yourself.

3 comments:

Jonathan C said...

Great analysis, IMW. It is indeed frustrating when those on the far left and the far right think that a moderate should never take sides, and never hold strong opinions. We do take sides, but we take sides based on what we ourselves think is right instead of relying on party-line talking points. I'm definitely going to link to this quiz on my blog!

Marty said...

How discouraging - all this time I have been characterizing myself as a hard core bleeding heart liberal. Now, this test comes along and tells me I have my eyes wide open and am not a hypocrite. Think what you've done to my self image!

Thanks - it's was interesting and fun reading about the various types

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Don't worry, you can still be a bleeding heart liberal. You're just not a partisan liberal.

It's a much healthier place to be.