What Is A Centrist

My blog is about politics and I try to write from a centrist point of view.  I started writing a few months ago and podcasting my topics so people can hear my voice and be enlightened and entertained.  I like to look at both sides of an issue and see where we can find common ground.  Ultimately my hope is that anyone who hears or reads my posts will find value in it and walk away agreeing or disagreeing while acknowledging that everyone sees things differently.  The political spectrum in the United States is vast and similar to that of a rainbow. When you look at a rainbow in the sky you will see many colors that are connected and span across a horizon.  No one color is prettier than the other and it wouldn’t be called a rainbow without all of them combined.  That is how I feel about diversity of thought. With people’s opinions varying as greatly as the colors of the rainbow it only leads to healthy debate and hopefully a better understanding of each other’s opinions, life experiences and points of view.

Since I started writing about different topics and posting them online I’ve received a few comments from people who claim that I am not a centrist and write like a conservative. This is interesting because it shows that they are basing their judgment of my opinions on a few posts they might have read and on their personal opinions of what a centrist is. Sometimes I reply and sometimes I don’t. As long as people are respectful I will generally reply in kind and try to explain myself.  The world is a big place and filled with a lot of content that can occupy your time.  Just like I wrote in the preface of my book The War For The Middle, I will repeat here again.  That is I’m grateful that someone has taken the time to listen to what I have to say and appreciative even more when they take the extra effort to comment even when it’s just to criticize.  Life without criticism is like speaking into an echo chamber and only hearing groupthink. It’s boring, uninspired and leaves no room for personal growth.

So what is a centrist? The word center means the middle. That can literally mean the middle of the road, the center of the room or the person that does not affiliate with any of the major two political parties here in the states.  That is the simple definition of what I like to tell people.  For those that like to go into the details and really take ownership of what a centrist, liberal, conservative, libertarian, etc. is I will address the centrist definition here.  This serves dual purposes.  One, so I can fully explain what I believe a centrist is and two so I can just refer future people to this post when they say I am not a centrist.

I was searching the Internet to find a proper definition of centrist and came across a post from a site run by The Centrist Party.  I have no affiliation with this group and this was the first time I heard of them.  To be perfectly clear I do not endorse the group as I do not endorse any political party. Since they espouse centrist beliefs I figured their definition would be good as any to see if what I claim to be lines up with what they believe a centrist is.  Here is their definition of what is centrist/centrism:

Centrists don’t have party lines. Centrists believe that solutions are more important than bias. While there is no set rule for what a Centrist is, there are some generally accepted guidelines that seem to depict the Centrist mode of thought. Centrism is a political ideology based on reason and pragmatism considerate of short and long-term thinking – Centrism is not defined by compromise or moderation, it is considerate of them. Centrism is about achieving common sense solutions that appropriately address current and future needs; support the public trust, and serve the common good with consideration of risk and capacity in context of these needs.

Modern definitions sometimes conflate Centrism with moderation but the Centrist Party tenets generally oppose moderate views. Let’s just call moderates ‘moderates’ and Centrists ‘Centrist’.

•    Centrism is not about doing what is popular; it is about doing what is right.

•    Centrism is not moderate but rather supports strength, tradition, open-mindedness, and policy based on evidence, not ideology.

•    Centrism is not about compromise but rather allows for it as reasonable.

Centrists are independent thinkers. They gauge situations based on context and reason, consideration and probability. They are open-minded and exercise conviction. Willing to fight for reason as opposed to ideology.

1.    Ideology limits the capacity of reasoning

2.    Centrist conviction is not limited by ideology

3.    Reasoning is based on pragmatic reality and circumstance.

Centrism is not a belief. It is an open book to an unfolding situation. This does not mean it is moderate, but that it is considerate of changing circumstances that may require reconsideration based on the intelligence available, and reason itself.

•    Centrists are independent.

•    Centrists argue based on reason and context to define relevance of a given point.

•    Centrists tend to be pragmatic and avoid extremes whenever possible. Of course, an extreme may be a required action so luckily Centrists tend to exercise reason in application.

•    Centrists tend to dislike special interest influence and unfair practices. They don’t appreciate spin from candidates or news organizations.

•    Centrists tend to believe that if we dealt with the facts and concentrated on working together we could fix a lot more problems than two polar opposite parties constantly embattled in their own agendas and ideologies.

•    Centrists seek accountability in governance.

•    Honor & Integrity – Centrists tend to believe that political spin erodes the integrity of the vote and certainly that of the politician.

What Centrists Are Not

•    Centrists are not moderate.

Moderation has more in kind with compromise than working toward the best solution. The reality of modern politics is that compromise is the status quo. This leads to policy that is not based on pragmatism but rather on the needs of compromised points of view.

The goal is not compromise, but rather pragmatism based on reasonable considerations, short and long-term. In other words, decisions and policies based on the best answer, not the compromise between two flawed perspectives that are ideologically opposed.

When necessary, compromise, but fight for reason and present the case to bring others closer to the most pragmatic solution or policy.

The site has more to say about what a centrist is and isn’t but, that gets the point across. Everything I copied from their website on this topic and posted on this post is exactly how I feel politically and what I believe a centrist is.  So many times people say because you lean conservative on some topics and liberal, libertarian or progressive on others you can only be one of those labels and can not claim the other label.  That narrow-based, rigid ideology of thought is the reason why many on the extremes of the political aisle consider compromising a dirty word.

We are all unique.  We all have different life experiences and views on what is good for our country.  Some people have more compassion than others and believe that compassion should be upheld at any and all costs while others believe in helping those in need but taking care of our own people first.  A good example of this is the open borders debate.  Some believe that no human is illegal and migration to a better life is a human right.  Others believe in the right to economic opportunity by migrants but doing so in a legal lawful manner that maintains our sovereign borders.  This is the reason why some politicians have tried to usurp the federal government and create so-called sanctuary cities and states. If you’ve read any of my posts on immigration you will know that I am a firm believer in the rule of law and against sanctuary cities and states.  I also believe in sensible immigration and having a system where people can pay a fine if they are here illegally and obtain some type of preliminary immigration status so they can go onto becoming law-abiding permanent residents and citizens. For more on that topic look for my post entitled Probationary Resident Status.

So that is centrism and what I believe I am.  You may agree with me or disagree.  Not to rely on one person’s definition of what a centrist is I also took the time a while back to take a political test to see where I fall on the political scale.  The results of that test confirmed I am like many people in this country; smack dab in the middle with a little lien to the bottom right.  That means I have libertarian views that hope for a smaller government and controlled spending.  I have the compassion of a liberal and believe in supporting those that need help through social welfare programs like Democrats which are not meant to last forever like Republicans or conservatives.  In other words, I am my own person just like you and believe we can find common ground when looking for the best solution to a problem.  I don’t believe in endless wars but agree the best offense is a strong defense and sometimes you need to flex your military muscle to deescalate a potentially dangerous conflict.  This is a free country and you are free to agree with my belief on what a centrist is or you can exercise your freedom of choice and disagree with me completely and never listen to anything I have to say again. Either way that’s how I feel and why I write from and call my blog a Centrist Point Of View.  Like always if you agree or disagree with what I say, feel free to make your feelings known in the comments section.  I will be happy to read your thoughts and reply in kind. Best wishes and take care.

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