We Are Overdue to Learn the Lesson About Moderation and Balance

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To Socrates, moderation was the equivalent of self-mastery, and the foundation of all virtue. Aristotle’s best-remembered idea of the Golden Mean was to avoid extremes. Every religion preaches moderation and balance.

The idea of balance or equilibrium recognizes that opposing ideals are not really opposing one another, but instead, the trick is to find the right balance between apparent opposites most constructive to each specific situation.

The idea of political parties differentiated from one another is an idea that is inconsistent with the ideas of balance, equilibrium and moderation. The reason this is so is because in order for a political party to be positioned as different, fixed sides must be established, which permanently differ from one another. Progressives must always be pushing to change things, conservatives must always conserve the value of the existing ways.

Today in America we see where this leads. Each of our two parties has grown an extremist wing. The extremist wing of the Democrats offends all Republicans and a great many Independents. The extremist wing of the Republicans offends all Democrats and a great many Independents. The non-extremist party members are finding themselves dominated by their extremists. The average person is moving away from thinking fondly of political parties. In 1939, 81% of Americans identified as members of one of the two parties. Today that number is down to 50%. In contemplating the 2024 elections, a small minority of Americans are totally positive and excited about any of the potential next presidents. Which is in some ways healthy, and in other ways, unhealthy. We need a way out of this. It has to start not with politics but with our ability to think in terms of moderation, balance, and equilibrium.

If you haven’t yet watched Bari Weiss deliver her address “The Last Line of Defense”, you might want to check it out below and see if it maintains your attention.

In this stirring speech she concludes that antisemitism alone does not explain current events. It is dichotomania – a word she does not use but a concept she employs – colonialism is bad, the oppressed are good, Israel is colonialism, Palestinians are oppressed, QED. As I wrote in my book Mind Magic, and in my other blog, binary thinking is one of the signatures of Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP), which has all too many of our children wandering around in a daze.

Bari zooms back to the Big Picture. Ideologues sloganeering and taking covert actions are threatening the whole point of America. We are close to losing all that we have built for posterity. Hundreds of millions of heroes bravely demonstrated freedom and democracy despite the obvious risks. Carrying this out against huge challenges for two and half centuries. About to go up in a puff of smoke unless idealists and patriots do something about it. This is what Bari asks for. Each of us is the last line of defense. Each of us must rise up and take responsibility for making things better for our children and their children.

The first thing she wants us to do is LOOK. Open your own eyes and look at what is going on through your own eyes, not through the media. That does not mean stop looking at the media, just become aware of where your new ideas and feelings are coming from.

There is more that she asked for in her closing remarks. Now, the speech is over, some of us are ready to rise up and do the right thing. What is it that we’re supposed to do other than LOOK?

“Fight” is a word I remember, and then the question is who Bari might want us to fight? I infer that she wants us to fight authoritarians who would roll back all of the accomplishments that the Founders assigned us to complete.

Bari said not a word against Republicans, she writes for the Wall Street Journal, and was addressing an audience of conservatives. Yet she stood up as a patriot and a moderate and pointed her finger at authoritarianism. Not at either political party. Just against candidates who might turn out to be authoritarians.

We need to elect leadership from the middle not from the extremes.

We have to vote moderates into office, who show their seriousness and respect for the role, and for the Constitution and the laws.

This is what we can do as a starting point toward retracing our steps back to absorbing the lessons of all of the great teachers in hisandherstory.

Posted at MediaVillage through the Thought Leadership self-publishing platform.

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