parenti2 - RADICAL CENTRISM: The Lonely Search for Common...

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RADICAL CENTRISM: The Lonely Search for Common Ground The greatest threat to America and its ideals comes from within. The emerging trend in American politics is a polarization of its two parties, and a populace that forsakes objectivity for partisanship. Instead of empathy, centrism, and compromise, we would rather deeply entrench ourselves in a particular ideology and throw stones at the opposition. We refuse to go beyond our previously held beliefs or suspend our biases long enough to make fully informed decisions. We try to inflict the maximum damage upon those who disagree with us, ignorant to the fact that the whole of society suffers from such militant ignorance in our political system. We become so mired in subjective debates over What's Right or What's Wrong , inevitably we look sight of What Works . In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar , Brutus, a good-intentioned but easily manipulated young man, is advised by the old and wise Cassius that "the fault, dear Brutus, lies not in the stars, but in ourselves." We would benefit from taking Cassius' advice. Liberals insist that they are the victims of a vast right-wing conspiracy. Conservatives maintain that they are constantly attacked by the liberal media and some consortium of leftist academics. Rarely does either side stop to consider that our failures don't result from some invisible boogeyman, but from the simple fact that our opponents support a cause is more worthy and more logically than ours. Contrary to what many politicians and ideologues would have us believe, there is always room for middle ground. The truth inevitably lies somewhere between two extremes. We must stop the ad hominem attacks which unfairly label every conservative as a greedy, money-grubbing imperialist, and every liberal as a bleeding heart hippie. The two parties have monopolized political power in the country, forcing us all to choose between the lesser of two evils: the welfare state and the warfare state. If the parties continue moving towards the radical corners of their respective ideologies, I fear that the words of W.B. Yeats must
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prove all too prophetic: Things fall apart. The center cannot hold. The Gospel of Marx Parenti and I agree on many things. The system is cracked. Corporations have aligned with politicians. The criminal justice system perpetuates racial inequality. Our foreign policy has been overly militant and imperialistic in recent years. Environmental damage needs to be addressed. But we disagree on the method with which to resolve these problems. Simply because a car needs repair is not grounds for buying a new car. I don't move to a new home if the toilet won't flush and the air conditioning is broken. Our political, economic, and social systems have problems. We should fix them-- we should not replace
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course POLS 120 taught by Professor Dr.brent during the Winter '08 term at San Jose State University .

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parenti2 - RADICAL CENTRISM: The Lonely Search for Common...

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