Please Comment: Principles of Reflective Centrism

JimBowie1958

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By Reflective Centrism I do not mean mere fence sitting. Those who simply whirl about like a weathervane achieve nothing of long term value, except perhaps to enrich themselves.

I am trying to put together a set of principles to guide the centrist in making decisions that are intended to result in the best outcome for us as a people and as a nation, and not to focus on the needs of a few or the dictates of ideology. In fact this is a kind of un-ideology in that its first principle is the recognition of the limits of all ideology and of the human mind itself to truly grasp the nature of reality around us, both natural and contrived by man.

So, here they are, and please comment constructively. I am interested in any facet of this perspective I may have missed. Not really looking for editing services from anyone, lol.


1. No human mind or ideology can fully encompass the complexity of the reality we live in.
...a. So ALL voices are needed to help define what that reality is and how to address issues that arise within it as we all work together toward a better future.
...b.We must respect the benevolent rational thoughts of our fellow citizens by extending to them courtesy and ostracizing those who are irrational, seditious and dishonest and to provide our own rational thinking supported by facts as far as we are able.

2. All things must change as needed, must evolve with the surrounding environment or they die.
...a. However, it is wise to respect the accumulated wisdom of our ancestors, and change the things that require change through the framework of social and political institutions we have inherited by modifying/evolving what already functions rather than sweeping aside all that exists to build things from nothing but abstract models that are bereft of practical experience and wisdom.
...b. That being said, we have a duty to improve the reality we live in as much as possible and leave a better world for each new generation.

3. Human life is of eternal and infinite moral value.
...a. Human life cannot be sacrificed without due moral consideration and a clear and reviewable legal process that produces justice and not merely an undirected process.
...b. The innocent life of the unborn, children, and elderly must be protected for all our sakes as they are the seed and guides for our future.
...c. We are defined by how we think, act, and live our lives, and not by race, gender or sect and so the government should be blind to those elements not directly related to the specific individuals involved in whatever process is ongoing within the government if that government is to be fair, just and win the love of its people.

4. All human beings have the right to pursue Truth as they best understand it, and to freely conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent within their own moral values system.
...a. In connection to this we all also have the right to pursue happiness, to own property and to defend ourselves from threat as individuals.
...b. We all have the right to think and speak freely and to live a life of liberty so long as we are incompliance with just laws derived from the common will of our people and cause no direct harm to our fellow man.
...c. We have innate human rights not though the permission of the government but through the very nature of who we are as human beings utilizing the gifts given to us by our Creator in what way we think best serves our values, interests and goals.
...d. Government censorship or economic extortion should never be used to silence those minority groups who engage in benevolent, rational discourse.

5. The role of government is to protect the people from threat, internal and external, and to provide the necessary measures so that as many as possible may be as happy as possible.
...a. In our quickly changing and complex modern world, the government must provide a social safety net that can fill in for antiquated institutions that once provided for social stability and confidence in the security of each of us in our infirmity.
...b. The principle of subsidiarity should be a guide for government policy making as often expressed in the phrase, 'the government that governs best governs LEAST'. Let the lowest levels of government address problems first, then escalate up the chain as necessary till the problem is addressed.
...c. When government solves problems, it isn't because of how much money is thrown at the problem. Solutions require PEOPLE to use their best talents, what funding is necessary and creative/innovative thought. The government should lead and guide, not dictate, suppress and restrict needlessly as the private secotr addresses theneeds of the people.

6. Government should be certain, careful and slow to act in peace time, and determined, focused and relentless in emergency periods.
...a. While martial law is sometimes needed in war or emergency, in peace time the security of individual liberty outweighs the needs of efficiency on our government. A balanced division of powers within the government is preferable to a unicameral government that has no checks to its power because it moves more carefully and with greater caution to protect and respect the rights of its citizens.
...b. Oppressive large governments have proven to be more destructive than the worst brigandry and natural disasters combined. To remain truly free, a citizenry must remain vigilant and protect their rights and interests internally as much as externally.
...c. The private sector provides more motivation, creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness than the government. Where governments find shortages they ration; where businesses find shortages they expand to fill that market. The role of government is to harness that power through over-sight and regulation that does not strangle that creativity and productivity.
...d. Government social programs can encourage dependency on itself, and so those who can work should work so that those who cannot or can no longer work are provided for.

7. The use of compromise is a beneficial device that enables government to function more smoothly and utilizes the knowledge, experience and concerns of the vast majority of our fellow citizens to secure our future, more ably govern and provide justice, opportunity and stability for each of us.
...a. No ideology is so certain that all the concerns and objections of that ideologies opponents may be dismissed without consideration and being voiced as policies are developed.

8. In order to best serve the will and expression of the people, the freedom to form various assemblies to address the interests of each person needs to remain unfettered and given full access to the democratic processes of our Republic.

9. Nations are the expression of the existence of a people. Defined by their culture and language, each people has the right to defend their culture, their economic interests and their ability to pursue their own idea of happiness together.
...a. The United States is unique among nations to define itself not by a single culture so much as by a coalition of energetic people of good will who's primary purpose is to live alongside each other in freedom.
...b. This great experiment must not fail, for it is an example to all mankind of the value of peaceful cooperation and peaceful coexistence under a common government defined by a written foundational Constitution.

10. Peace is best served by building bridges of economic cooperation, exchange of ideas, and the fraternal networking of all people of good will in every nation. Though national interests are of great importance, we all need to respect the common bonds that bind all people of good will together and allow us to work for peace and a better future for all mankind.
 

Kevin_Kennedy

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A so-called "anti-ideology" is still an ideology. There is no way to to be free of ideology because we all see facts through our own worldview. It's unavoidable. So to say that you reject ideology is to say that your ideology is one that rejects all ideology. It's nonsense. Everybody thinks they're a centrist, but in reality there is no such thing.
 

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I've heard of reflective centrics but I'll have to admit that 'reflective centrism' is a new one on me.

But there is an old maxim: those who believe in nothing will fall for anything which is probably a paraphrase of G.K. Chesterson's: "When a man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing; he believes anything."

The list provided in the OP is mostly a list of platitudes with so many possible interpretations or applications that most statements are essentially meaningless without clarification. But all could provide a foundation for an interesting discussion.

Take No. 1:
1. No human mind or ideology can fully encompass the complexity of the reality we live in.
...a. So ALL voices are needed to help define what that reality is and how to address issues that arise within it as we all work together toward a better future.
...b.We must respect the benevolent rational thoughts of our fellow citizens by extending to them courtesy and ostracizing those who are irrational, seditious and dishonest and to provide our own rational thinking supported by facts as far as we are able.​

Here one of the conundrums on my tolerance thread is essentially repeated; i.e. all opinions should be allowed but those who give 'irrational, seditious, and dishonest' opinions must be ostracized. But who then determines what is irrational, seditious, and dishonest and what is not? And who judges whether our own thinking is rational and supported by facts?

It is not a matter of what opinions shall be allowed, but by what principles we shall govern ourselves. It is the principles that take us off the fence and provide reasonable parameters for our shared lives together.
 
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The key is outcome and not ideological positions that are meant to serve an outcome but don't.
 

Foxfyre

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The key is outcome and not ideological positions that are meant to serve an outcome but don't.
Even there we run into a conundrum in the national conversation when we talk about outcome unless we are basing it on a specific principle.

The conservative will most usually admit that some people fall between the cracks and some people are not benefitted, but national policy should always serve the greater good--that which benefits most and can benefit call--while not violating the individual's rights.

The liberal will most often dismiss the overall track record or even individual rights in favor of pointing to some success stories or some failures and will use that to declare a policy success or failure.

So how do we get around that to evaluate outcome?
 
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JimBowie1958

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A so-called "anti-ideology" is still an ideology. There is no way to to be free of ideology because we all see facts through our own worldview. It's unavoidable. So to say that you reject ideology is to say that your ideology is one that rejects all ideology. It's nonsense. Everybody thinks they're a centrist, but in reality there is no such thing.
But in contrast to all the ideologies I know of, this system of thought acknowledges it is not plausible to devise a system that embraces every situation from every possible point of view. The intention is to have a system of thought that embraces *humility* as an operating principle and says we should entertain all reasonable benevolent points of view, even if they are in complete disagreement on specific policies or vary on different issues.

Right now both conservatives and liberals seem inclined to denigrate any opposition thought, and if you don't fit into established pigeonholes God help you. You will catch hell from both sides.

That is why I am saying this is not an ideology; it does not get into the details; they are all negotiable and vary from time to time and situation to situation. there are only a few bare basic principles of tolerance of dissent, respect for traditional forms of existing institutions, while at the same timing challenging us all to try and improve our society for the sake of our progeny.

Thanks for the reasonable comment.
 
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JimBowie1958

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I've heard of reflective centrics but I'll have to admit that 'reflective centrism' is a new one on me.
Yeah, I just made it up, lol.

But there is an old maxim: those who believe in nothing will fall for anything which is probably a paraphrase of G.K. Chesterson's: "When a man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing; he believes anything."
This isnt exactly 'nothing', it is asset of guiding principles that do not support an ideological 'answer for everything' approach to policies and political endeavors.

For example, while most of us can agree that taxes are too high, it also acknowledges that many good and decent people rely on government spending and deservedly so, like veterans, retirees, those with disabilities, etc.

The principles here point out that the situation is more complex than what a bumper sticker would accommodate.


The list provided in the OP is mostly a list of platitudes with so many possible interpretations or applications that most statements are essentially meaningless without clarification.
Lol, well, none of the comments seemed trite to me. Which of them are trite to you?

But all could provide a foundation for an interesting discussion.

Take No. 1:
1. No human mind or ideology can fully encompass the complexity of the reality we live in.
...a. So ALL voices are needed to help define what that reality is and how to address issues that arise within it as we all work together toward a better future.
...b.We must respect the benevolent rational thoughts of our fellow citizens by extending to them courtesy and ostracizing those who are irrational, seditious and dishonest and to provide our own rational thinking supported by facts as far as we are able.​
This is funny, I thought this one an easy call. lol

Here one of the conundrums on my tolerance thread is essentially repeated; i.e. all opinions should be allowed but those who give 'irrational, seditious, and dishonest' opinions must be ostracized. But who then determines what is irrational, seditious, and dishonest and what is not? And who judges whether our own thinking is rational and supported by facts?
This really seems simple to me, maybe that is the problem.

If I say we must respect opinions that have the characteristics of A and B, then that implies from the first blush of thought that those things Not A or are NOT B are not to be tolerated. For 'A' substitute the word 'rational' and for B substitute the word 'benevolent'.

Have these words lost their meaning? Where is the ambiguity?

And the acting agent here is the individual who decides that Bill is recreational and benevolent and therefore respects that person, and holds no respect for Steve who is advocates violence against people with purple hair and has no respect for the opinion of Sally who routinely uses tautologies in her assertions and frequently engages in slander and lies.

Is that confusing? trite?

It is not a matter of what opinions shall be allowed, but by what principles we shall govern ourselves. It is the principles that take us off the fence and provide reasonable parameters for our shared lives together.
We cannot be tolerant of those who are violently intolerant, or who engage in criminal acts against their opponents, or we will eventually lose to the organized criminals.

All that is required for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing, someone said once.

Thanks for the reasonable response.
 

Foxfyre

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I've heard of reflective centrics but I'll have to admit that 'reflective centrism' is a new one on me.
Yeah, I just made it up, lol.

But there is an old maxim: those who believe in nothing will fall for anything which is probably a paraphrase of G.K. Chesterson's: "When a man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing; he believes anything."
This isnt exactly 'nothing', it is asset of guiding principles that do not support an ideological 'answer for everything' approach to policies and political endeavors.

For example, while most of us can agree that taxes are too high, it also acknowledges that many good and decent people rely on government spending and deservedly so, like veterans, retirees, those with disabilities, etc.

The principles here point out that the situation is more complex than what a bumper sticker would accommodate.




Lol, well, none of the comments seemed trite to me. Which of them are trite to you?



This is funny, I thought this one an easy call. lol

Here one of the conundrums on my tolerance thread is essentially repeated; i.e. all opinions should be allowed but those who give 'irrational, seditious, and dishonest' opinions must be ostracized. But who then determines what is irrational, seditious, and dishonest and what is not? And who judges whether our own thinking is rational and supported by facts?
This really seems simple to me, maybe that is the problem.

If I say we must respect opinions that have the characteristics of A and B, then that implies from the first blush of thought that those things Not A or are NOT B are not to be tolerated. For 'A' substitute the word 'rational' and for B substitute the word 'benevolent'.

Have these words lost their meaning? Where is the ambiguity?

And the acting agent here is the individual who decides that Bill is recreational and benevolent and therefore respects that person, and holds no respect for Steve who is advocates violence against people with purple hair and has no respect for the opinion of Sally who routinely uses tautologies in her assertions and frequently engages in slander and lies.

Is that confusing? trite?

It is not a matter of what opinions shall be allowed, but by what principles we shall govern ourselves. It is the principles that take us off the fence and provide reasonable parameters for our shared lives together.
We cannot be tolerant of those who are violently intolerant, or who engage in criminal acts against their opponents, or we will eventually lose to the organized criminals.

All that is required for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing, someone said once.

Thanks for the reasonable response.
Ah but there is that devil in the details. Tolerance for the opinions of others--ie. not punishing people for what they believe and think--is a whole different ballgame from tolerance for the ACTIONS of others. Tolerance does not mean agreeing or respecting the opinions of others, but is strictly allowing the other person to have them without trying to punish him/her. That is different from tolerating bad ACTS that actually physically and/or materially harm others.

That is what I found ambiguous in No. 1. You didn't make the distinction between those two things.
 

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"Centrists" are politicians who deliberately park their core beliefs and go along with the prevailing climate in order to create laws that they really don't believe in in order to get re-elected. What good are they?
 

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It is funny, the far left thinks they are centrists.

While the extremists should have a voice they shouldn't be the one and only voice.
 
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JimBowie1958

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Ah but there is that devil in the details. Tolerance for the opinions of others--ie. not punishing people for what they believe and think--is a whole different ballgame from tolerance for the ACTIONS of others. Tolerance does not mean agreeing or respecting the opinions of others, but is strictly allowing the other person to have them without trying to punish him/her. That is different from tolerating bad ACTS that actually physically and/or materially harm others.

That is what I found ambiguous in No. 1. You didn't make the distinction between those two things.
OK, I am no wordsmith, so how would you restate these things?

Also, I think to tolerate someone elses opinions that you disagree with requires a certain minimum of respect. I have had beliefs that I thought 100% accurate when I was 18 that I now feel embarrassed to say I believe now, like some forms of religion and philosophy. That humbles me to respect the other guy because one day I might share his opinion, and then have to eat a lot of my hasty words! lol

I am tossing this out there for discussion so it can grow into something better.

Your view and expression of these things would be of great interest to me personally.
 
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JimBowie1958

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It is funny, the far left thinks they are centrists.

While the extremists should have a voice they shouldn't be the one and only voice.
What do you mean by the far left?

When I think of the far left, I am thinking of people like Kucinich who is a reasonable person though he is a borderline Fabian socialist from what I recall. But he is reasonable therefore should be tolerated IMO. People who advocate the arrest and/or execution of the Koch brothers are not tolerable, again IMO, because they advocate the silencing of their rational and benevolent opposition.

The same applies to the right. The Tea Party people are mostly very rational and tolerable, but neo-Nazis are not, and there is a huge difference there that should be respected whether you are TPM or not.
 
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JimBowie1958

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"Centrists" are politicians who deliberately park their core beliefs and go along with the prevailing climate in order to create laws that they really don't believe in in order to get re-elected. What good are they?
Yes, many are, if not most, but it doesn't have to be like that.

There are good principles that lead one to moderation in politics, like humility and respect for those reasonable people of good will who simply disagree with you.
 

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It is funny, the far left thinks they are centrists.

While the extremists should have a voice they shouldn't be the one and only voice.
What do you mean by the far left?

When I think of the far left, I am thinking of people like Kucinich who is a reasonable person though he is a borderline Fabian socialist from what I recall. But he is reasonable therefore should be tolerated IMO. People who advocate the arrest and/or execution of the Koch brothers are not tolerable, again IMO, because they advocate the silencing of their rational and benevolent opposition.

The same applies to the right. The Tea Party people are mostly very rational and tolerable, but neo-Nazis are not, and there is a huge difference there that should be respected whether you are TPM or not.
Far left equals Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the current DNC. This hijack openly took place in the late 70's. Specifically during the Carter years after Carter vetoed the Kennedy Health care plan which was not unlike the Obamacare we have now.

And it is funny how the neo-nazi's are considered to be right wing when they sponsor parties like the National Socialist Party.
 
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JimBowie1958

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It is funny, the far left thinks they are centrists.

While the extremists should have a voice they shouldn't be the one and only voice.
What do you mean by the far left?

When I think of the far left, I am thinking of people like Kucinich who is a reasonable person though he is a borderline Fabian socialist from what I recall. But he is reasonable therefore should be tolerated IMO. People who advocate the arrest and/or execution of the Koch brothers are not tolerable, again IMO, because they advocate the silencing of their rational and benevolent opposition.

The same applies to the right. The Tea Party people are mostly very rational and tolerable, but neo-Nazis are not, and there is a huge difference there that should be respected whether you are TPM or not.
Far left equals Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the current DNC. This hijack openly took place in the late 70's. Specifically during the Carter years after Carter vetoed the Kennedy Health care plan which was not unlike the Obamacare we have now.

And it is funny how the neo-nazi's are considered to be right wing when they sponsor parties like the National Socialist Party.
Carter was a moderate Democrat like the Clintons are supposed to be. But these are relative terms, the key is what actions a person advocates against their opposition or dissent among their own. Some are very militant and violent.

Mussolini was a communist before he split off due to nationalistic pride after WW1 to form a nationalistic brand of communism, and so began that hateful rivalry. Mussolini and Hitler were not conservatives, i.e. they would not have endorse the Axis monarchs of that war and they were the conservative element in that war, conservative by the European standards of that era. The USA's founding fathers were considered leftists by those monarchical men, and the fascists wanted nothing at all to do with them.
 

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Even there we run into a conundrum in the national conversation when we talk about outcome unless we are basing it on a specific principle.

The conservative will most usually admit that some people fall between the cracks and some people are not benefitted, but national policy should always serve the greater good--that which benefits most and can benefit call--while not violating the individual's rights.

The liberal will most often dismiss the overall track record or even individual rights in favor of pointing to some success stories or some failures and will use that to declare a policy success or failure.

So how do we get around that to evaluate outcome?
A good starting point to to lose the "good guy"--"bad guy" attitude, acknowledge your biases, and let issues and values frame the debate instead of ideology.

In my experience (35 years in Mississippi) 95% of white conservatives are overt racists whose daddys were in the Klan. It's a rather harsh judgement, but it also appears to be true. Similarly most white liberals in Mississippi are either rebelling against their daddy and older brother in the Klan, or are northerners bent on "saving" the benighted southerners. Again, a bit harsh but true.

I love your generalizations. You cut off any prospect of real discussion by the way you pigeonhole everyone into your ideological classifications.

So pick a topic and state a position. Don't whine about what other people in your segmented universe do. State your values and propose a plan of action. Defend it on the basis of logic, facts, and how the world actually works.

So, if "The conservative will most usually admit that some people fall between the cracks", what do you propose to do about it? Or since you stated "The liberal will most often dismiss the overall track record or even individual rights in favor of pointing to some success stories or some failures and will use that to declare a policy success or failure." do we live in the best of possible worlds where the disadvantaged should just stop whining and accept their proper place, because you think no plan will improve their lot?
 
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JimBowie1958

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Even there we run into a conundrum in the national conversation when we talk about outcome unless we are basing it on a specific principle.

The conservative will most usually admit that some people fall between the cracks and some people are not benefitted, but national policy should always serve the greater good--that which benefits most and can benefit call--while not violating the individual's rights.

The liberal will most often dismiss the overall track record or even individual rights in favor of pointing to some success stories or some failures and will use that to declare a policy success or failure.

So how do we get around that to evaluate outcome?
A good starting point to to lose the "good guy"--"bad guy" attitude, acknowledge your biases, and let issues and values frame the debate instead of ideology.

In my experience (35 years in Mississippi) 95% of white conservatives are overt racists whose daddys were in the Klan. It's a rather harsh judgement, but it also appears to be true. Similarly most white liberals in Mississippi are either rebelling against their daddy and older brother in the Klan, or are northerners bent on "saving" the benighted southerners. Again, a bit harsh but true.

I love your generalizations. You cut off any prospect of real discussion by the way you pigeonhole everyone into your ideological classifications.

So pick a topic and state a position. Don't whine about what other people in your segmented universe do. State your values and propose a plan of action. Defend it on the basis of logic, facts, and how the world actually works.

So, if "The conservative will most usually admit that some people fall between the cracks", what do you propose to do about it? Or since you stated "The liberal will most often dismiss the overall track record or even individual rights in favor of pointing to some success stories or some failures and will use that to declare a policy success or failure." do we live in the best of possible worlds where the disadvantaged should just stop whining and accept their proper place, because you think no plan will improve their lot?
Nothing constructive in any of that rant, just you stating things as if you were the source of Truth itself; no reason, and no facts; a waste of my time.

Welcome to my ignore list.
 
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What centre parties end up doing is to try to appeal both to those to the right and left of them by carefully tailoring what they say according to the audience. The two I am familiar with - the Liberal Democrats in the UK and Center Partiet in Sweden I hold in contempt. No wise consideration of each issue on its merits, just grubby and dishonest scrabbling around for votes.
 

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