Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Name Game

Tom Strong, who deserves more attention than he gets (and who lives in one of my favorite strange places to visit, Atlanta) laid down an important distinction in this thread:

Moderate: Gentle in tone, open to compromises (particularly “third way” compromises), tempered.

Centrist: Possessing views that represent “the middle majority."

They’re related, but they’re not the same.

Right. To which I appended two other "related but not the same" positions:

Balanced: holding with conviction individual positions that are held by both left and right in current politics, in more or less equal number.

Might be “liberal” on abortion, “conservative” on gun control, “liberal” on environment, “conservative” on defense, etc. No need to be moderate. I suspect this is closer to Lieberman and McCain and possibly Dean.

Independent: considering each political question without reference to what anyone else thinks, but merely consulting one’s own inner moral or ethical compass.

This probably will end up looking like balanced, but it is not necessarily the same thing. Balanced can be a deliberately calculated political tactic.

Might be some redundancy there, but it's a place to start. You can't debate till you can agree on terminology.