Truth Vs. Moderation
I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue! - Barry Goldwater
If the past few months have shown us anything, it is that the US is home to a wide spectrum of political opinions. Within the system, there is a tendency to refer to those in the middle as “moderates” with a positive connotation. Meanwhile, those on either wing of the spectrum are derided as “radicals” or “extremists.” But the truth does not always lie in the middle position.
A moderate opinion can be right, but it is not necessarily right. If I say the sky is red and you say the sky is blue, a compromise of the sky being purple does not lead to the truth. In this example, truth and moderation are different. Our fundamental values that shape our political beliefs should be based on objective truth. As such, when we search for our fundamental values, we should focus on finding the truth. We should not be concerned with society’s norms and practices at this stage. When seeking the truth, society’s definition of what would be “moderate” is of no help.
That is not to say that moderation has no place in politics. The US is such a diverse nation that people will not agree on fundamental values and, by extension, policy. Moderation and compromise are necessary as a practical matter even if they do not lead to the best possible solution. For laws to pass in a diverse society, compromises must be made. The question in each particular case is what to give up to the other side and what to prioritize from your wish list.