The Funny Thing About Being a Centrist…

The funny thing about being a centrist is that whenever you get in a discussion with a conservative, you end up looking like a liberal, and when you get in a discussion with a liberal, you end up looking like a conservative. And you always look more extreme the more extreme that person is regarding their views.

A few days ago I found an interesting article over at The article, a 4th of July post, was basically a list of what makes America un-beautiful. The writer, WarAxe (who, dispite this thread, is actually one of my favorite bloggers), put forth some views which were heavily in contrast to mine. The resulting discussion pitted me against a few people, and while I stand by my views, I was pretty much the only one in disagreement with what WarAxe wrote.

Frankly, this is a discussion you should see for yourself and, if so inclined, one where your input would be appreciated, regardless of whether you agree with me…

…or whether you’re wrong :-D.

6 thoughts on “The Funny Thing About Being a Centrist…

  1. I’d hardly call your single comment post a discussion that “pits” you against several others. I don’t think anyone should be surprised that some of Steve’s friends read his blog, and even more shockingly, they share similar views. What were the odds of that?

    Honestly, I didn’t think the level of disagreement was even THAT high. I don’t even think we disagree on what the problems are, but merely how to relieve them. And if those were easy answers, we’d have already fixed them.

    I will say, you made a lovely point about how you come out looking like an exteremist when you’re a centrist talking to someone on either side of you. That happens to me with religion. I associate with a lot of entirely a-religious folks and a few anti-religious folks. And spend entirely too much time saying, “Christmas trees by the town hall aren’t hurting anyone.”

  2. A lot of that read like garbage.

    Its funny how most of the people who like to complain about America…


    Now i don’t know if its true for that guy, but I tend to be very pro America.

    I do agree with grades being absolute bs (thus making my entire education negated, oh well 🙂 )

    Interesting how people with government provided health care wish they had the speed and degree of care available here. Whats the point in waiting three months for an eye exam only to be put on a waiting list for eye surgery to occur 8 months later when they eye will become useless in only 6?

  3. John: *heh* You’ll have to pardon my expression here. At one point I worked double-duty as both editor and marketting for a writing company and I guess the whole “write something that’ll make them READ!” attitude still rears its head once in a while. (It’s all about advertising, baby! Given that it’s now the most popular link on the site, as of 8am on Tuesday July 11, I think it worked.)

    Honestly, I didn’t think the level of disagreement was even THAT high.You’re absolutely right, much of this didn’t “pit me against” anybody, since we were in agreement with about 80% of the items. And yeah, if these were easy issues they would’ve been fixed by now.

    “Actually, some of them ARE easy issues, but if people would just do things MY way…” I’ve heard that too many times, but let’s face it, though most of us won’t say that out loud, it’s kind of why we hold the beliefs we do. People never purposely want strife, nor do they want evil. In fact, most people want to follow Kant’s universal maxim of acting only in that way in which they can see the whole world acting, but instead fall short and follow Sartre’s advice, in that people never willingly commit evil for the sake of evil, but are willing to do evil for the sake of good.

    Anyway, it was a fun discussion, and I’m certainly glad to have been able to engage you folks. I’m always looking for intelligent people to learn from, regardless of whether I agree with them or don’t. (Actually, if I always agreed with them, I probably wouldn’t spend much time with them, since it means that I won’t be learning anything new. When everyone always agrees things get real borring, real quickly.)

    Junior: Ouch! Strong statements! In defense of WarAxe, he’s done his share for the US. I think– no, I know I’d describe him as Pro-America. Heck, if he ever made his way down to Miami I’d gladly invite him over to dinner. And what you point out is exactly where I *don’t* like universal health care. The problem is that most people assume that if you have universal health care, then you must absolutely have attrocious wait times. Frankly, I believe that government and private industry can work together to bring the best quality health care to Americans, with at least basic health insurance for the poorest.

    Finally, I recommend checking out this article from the Wharton Journal on America’s health care system. Americans tout having “the best in the world”, but according to the WHO we’re 37th, just slightly ahead of Cuba.

    From the article:

    According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) last World Health Report though, the U.S. system ranks only 37th in the world, far behind other OECD countries and just slightly ahead of Cuba. While the WHO’s study has some flaws, it does offer a balanced evaluation of healthcare systems’ overall output (life expectancy, infant mortality, etc…) and costs ($ spent per person, % of GDP dedicated to healthcare) … To start, U.S. healthcare coverage is one of the most incomplete and unequal in the developed world. Forty-five million people, (i.e., one in six Americans) are not covered by any health insurance. The richest 5% of the population account for 55% of total healthcare spending while the bottom 50% of the population account for only 3% of total spending. Furthermore, standard health insurance plans typically cover a lot less services than the most basic European health insurance schemes. Falling sick can quickly turn into a horrendous financial nightmare for most Americans and their families. For some people, taking care of one’s health is simply not in the cards.

    Having been there myself (not being able to afford insurance), I can tell you that it’s a horrible position to be in. Heck, even when you do you end up spending half your time convincing your insurer that yes, they SHOULD cover you, instead of making you foot the bill (going through that now).

  4. Bringing together the private sector along with government care is two organizations that radically differ at the core. Thehy just place different values on different areas. Someone is always going to be on top and thier values will always matter most.

    Margret Thatcher is the one that says when you have government face off against businessmen, the businessmen will kill them.

    I dunno, i know quite a few people who have done some medical work here and abroad and i know which system they much prefer. Though it is only a small, small fractoin of what the truth may be, its all i know at the moment.

    I will look at the article a little later however. It looks like some serious reading and im not currently in that mindset if you know what i mean.

  5. OK, I’m guilty of heinous self-promotion, myself.

    Actually, you bring up a good point. Generalization in three, two, one… everyone thinks they know the right answer. In any smaller problem, we’d just try different things to find out what works. But with the big ones, we wind up grinding our gears trying to think of the perfect solution before we do anything. Granted, there are some very good reasons to not just jump on something that affects medical care for 300,000,000 people. But sometimes I wonder if doing nothing is really better.

  6. But sometimes I wonder if doing nothing is really better. You bring up a seriously good point there. The problem is that it seems like somethings keep getting worse and worse. In those cases it’s had to imagine a problem taking care of itself, short of a total collapse in whatever is causing the problem (in this case the medical establishment). Overall, I like the whole “let it sort itself out” theory, which I suppose is why I like the free market and capitalism as opposed to planned economies. (As you can tell, however, I’m not exactly a Libertarian. Also, I’m sure you can guess what my strategies were when playing Civ II and Alpha Centaury (I never got to Civ III).)

    But with the big ones, we wind up grinding our gears trying to think of the perfect solution before we do anything. Yeah, and that’s exactly what sucks about this issue. Unlike architecture, the dynamics keep changing, but like architecture, unless you make a detailed plan you’re likely to have a massive catastrophe on your hands.

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