Is there a “golden mean” between extremes in politics?


magna carta

Magna Carta: King John  recognized the rights or noblemen and ordinary Englishmen. It established the principle that no one, including the king or a lawmaker, is above the law. 

One might … conjecture that there is a limiting situation of some sort, a “boundary” with all convergent series on one side, all divergent series on the other side–at least as far as series with monotonic coefficients are concerned. This notion of “boundary” is of course quite vague. The point … is this: No matter how we make this notion precise, the conjecture is false.–“Principles of Mathematical Analysis,” Walter Rudin, 1964


The unfortunate government shutdown is further proof that the extremes on both sides of the aisle continue to focus on their own self interests and not the needs of the American people. I am deeply disappointed these extremists, who are refusing to compromise, have prevailed.–Rep. Tom Reed, Jan 20, 2018, facebook

Is there a “golden mean” between extremes in politics?

Is there a point between extremes that somehow defines what is right and reasonable in political discourse. Tom Reed seems to believe there is, and that his political views and the compromise position of the “problem solvers” defines it. However:

  • There is no continuum of political belief.
  • Left and right, conservative and liberal, are not well defined.
  • Compromise between contrary interests doesn’t necessarily reflect wisdom nor result in justice.

Was the Magna Carta, by which King John ceded power to the barons liberal or conservative? I think liberal–it started a progressive trend away from absolute monarchy. On the other hand, at least initially, it recognized the existing balance of power between the monarch and the barons–the ruling class. Was it liberal in that it recognized change or conservative in that it presumed to codify the status quo?

What about the Constitution? Overall it seems liberal: it established a republic rather than a monarchy, which some favored. It was much more conservative in its original form than it is today. The amendment process, which facilitates change without revolution,  is a very liberal notion. Are the First, Fourth, Fifth and Ninth Amendments liberal and the Second and Tenth conservative? Perhaps that depends on how they are interpreted by the courts.

Consider the recent tax bill; is it liberal or conservative?

  • Is it liberal to favor tax cuts for workers regardless of how distributed or funded?
  • Is it conservative to increase deficit spending?
  • Is it conservative to support change in favor of the rich?
  • Is it conservative to predict cutting tax rates will increase revenue?

In my opinion, this “reform” is neither liberal or conservative but reckless and opportunistic.

No matter how we try to make the notion precise, there is no halfway between right and wrong.



About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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2 Responses to Is there a “golden mean” between extremes in politics?

  1. pystew says:

    We have seen our representative bounced between being “Tea Party Tom” to “No Labels Reed” to “Trump is a disruptive force and I support that.” (7/22/16) Tommy” to now “Problem Solver Chair”. He must sense that the disruptive force he once supported is not as popular as it was during his last campaign.

    He really hasn’t changed. Look at his corporate donors. The top 3 Industries that support him have been Securities & Investment, Insurance, and Oil & Gas. Now look at your insurance benefits and costs and prescription costs. Oil & Gas has seen safety and enviornmental regulations disappear. Wall Street billionaires are broadly smiling. He has received THEIR money. Now he trying to OUR votes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. whungerford says:

    Tom’s multiple personas serve him well–Mr. Niceguy, from here, not an extremist, working hard for us, bipartisan hero, etc.–there is something for almost everyone to like. It is hard to criticize bipartisan even though Tom is bipartisan only when the GOP lacks votes. Then too, bipartisan legislation isn’t necessarily good–it may be much like Solomon’s proposal to cut the baby in half.


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