Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Centrism

In several of its articles, British newspaper The Telegraph claims that centrism is dead (eg, 2019, 2021, 2022, 2023). That view makes sense because most Anglo-Saxon countries have bipartisan political systems (eg, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK, USA).

The (extreme) political turbulence in most of those bipartisan Anglo-Saxon countries makes you wonder if there’s something seriously wrong there. For several months, I’ve been digesting on that thought. I’m still waiting for my Eureka moment.

In mainland Europe, many countries have a Rhineland political model, in which several (eg, 2-4) political parties must cooperate to create a majority government. This European model is far from dead. Nevertheless, centrism seems to be out of favour in the recent Dutch general election.

In my view, the centrifugal force, which operates like a centrifuge, is driving the pace of Change, and is (probably) accountable and/or responsible for more extreme human views. Slow change equals more centrism. Fast changes will cause more extreme human opinions.

Since 1990, several fast changes occurred: public internet (1991), web browsers (1994), social media (c.2004), smartphones (c.2007), and more recently the Covid-19 (2020-2023). Most of those changes relate to technology. Since 1800, pandemics occur about every 100 years (eg, NIH-2020).

The German-born American political scientist, Yascha Mounk (b.1982), has recently added an interesting element to those elements of Change. In his view, the woke environment is responsible for more polarisation rather than coherence and progress (eg, Parool).

In my view, woke equals the extreme arrogance of the Left and/but woke also has elements of extreme ignorance (eg, facts). Latter is usually found at the Right; see my 2017 blog Arrogance of Left and Ignorance of Right. The combination of arrogance and ignorance is (indeed) infuriating.

Military conflicts may cause a change in our priorities, like less polarised ideological beliefs, and more basic needs (eg, ammunition, healthcare, food, fuel). Initially, the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine indeed caused less polarisation. The 2023 Gaza conflict seems to have increased global polarisation.

The quote and the song below argue that our daily struggle for survival is related to decreasing centrism and increasing polarisation. In my view, human stupidity is often the ultimate explanation.

“The majority of people are not fully committed to either the right or the left. Nor either to censorship or to absolute freedom of speech. People are too caught up in the daily struggle for survival to pour a lot of energy into ideology.”

A quote by Canadian writer Wendy McElroy (b.1951)

Beat the Centrist (2019) by Lee Walter Redding
artist, lyrics, video, no Wikipedia

Lord, please forgive me, I know you understand
I’m just as vicious as any other man
Life beat the centrist out of me
I never meant to be so effortlessly, contentious, but life beat the centrist out of me

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

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