Thursday, March 25, 2010

The "Radical Center"

Thomas Friedman bemoans the political divisiveness that arose during the debate over health care "reform". He fears that Democrats will lose seats in November, resulting in more gridlock in Washington. His solution:
That is why I want my own Tea Party. I want a Tea Party of the radical center.
Unsurprisingly, the "radical center" is an alleged hybrid of ideas from Leftists and conservatives. Friedman gives us a few examples:
It advocates: raising taxes to close our budgetary shortfalls, but doing so with a spirit of equity and social justice; guaranteeing that every American is covered by health insurance, but with market reforms to really bring down costs; legally expanding immigration to attract more job-creators to America's shores; increasing corporate tax credits for research and lowering corporate taxes if companies will move more manufacturing jobs back onshore...
On the surface, this might appear to be the mix of ideas that Friedman claims. But if we look a little deeper, we see that these proposals--along with other examples--involve government intervention in one form or another. Each takes as an unquestioned premise the belief that government can and should be controlling, regulating, manipulating, and dictating how individuals live and work. Each is founded on the belief that government should compel individuals to put aside their own judgment and values for some alleged "common good".

There is nothing "centrist" about this. It is a complete capitulation to the Left.

Of course, Friedman cannot see this. He thinks that he is taking the "best" ideas from both sides and finding a workable compromise, a "compromise" that mixes government controls with individual freedom. But any freedom that Friedman allows to sneak into his proposals is tenuous at best, for if the government doesn't like the results, that freedom will quickly disappear. If, for example, the "free market" (which ignores the fact that the market hasn't been free for decades) doesn't bring down health care costs the government will step in.

As Ayn Rand noted:
There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.
The centrist wants us to believe otherwise--that there is no right or wrong, that both sides have valid points, and we all just need to find some happy meeting point. So, if a robber has broken into your home and wants to steal your possessions, the two of your should "compromise". Rather than take everything, the thief should agree to just take your computer and jewelry, and rather than insist on retaining what is rightfully yours, you should agree to let him. Most would find such a "compromise" absurd, but this is what Friedman and all "moderates" urge.

It is often said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The truth is, the road to hell is paved with compromise.

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