There Is No Political Center, There Are No Centrists
By George Lakoff, AlterNet. Posted August 20, 2007.
And so on."Centrism" is the creation of an inaccurate self-serving metaphor which marginalizes the progressive cause, and it is time to bury it."There is no left to right linear spectrum in the American political life. There are two systems of values and modes of thought -- call them progressive and conservative (or nurturant and strict, as I have). There are total progressives, who use a progressive mode of thought on all issues. And total conservatives. And there are lots of folks who are what I've called "biconceptuals": progressive on certain issue areas and conservative on others. But they don't form a linear scale. They are all over the place: progressive on domestic policy, conservative on foreign policy; conservative on economic policy, progressive on foreign policy and social issues; conservative on religion, but progressive on social issues and foreign policy; and on and on. No linear scale. No single set of values defining a "center." Indeed many of such folks are not moderate in their views; they can be quite passionate about both their progressive and conservative views.
Barack Obama has it right: Get rid of the very idea of the right and the left and the center. American ideas are fundamentally progressive ideas -- the ideas this country was founded on and that carry forth that spirit. Progressives care about people and the earth, and act with responsibility and strength on that care.
The progressive view of government is simple. Progressive government has two aspects: protection and empowerment. Protection is far more than the military, police, and fire departments. It includes consumer protection, worker protection, environmental protection, public health, food and drug safety; social security, and other safety nets. It also includes protection from the government itself, and hence a balance of powers, openness, fundamental rights, and so on.
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