|||||||| centered lines

false binary choices are a favorite tool of tyrants.


I was reminded of Brian Eno’s letter to Europe on Brexit day where he among many things mentions:

“a social media ecosystem which drives polarisation rather than compromise”

… and an old tv-interview with film director Ingmar Bergman talking about “grey compromises” as the great, impressive achievement of the politics in Sweden.

Compromises are really interesting. Two sides losing, or two sides winning?


So I have question where centrists find compromise and center between „gay people should have same rights as everybody” and the political right stance that they don’t deserve them or even far right stance that they should be criminalised for who they are?


oh, I see, this gets tricky fast. Depending on the country you’re in centrist/left/right can imply very different positions. I was only referring to compromise and how we view them as an interesting concept. However, I definitely wouldn’t be willing to compromise on human rights etc.

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I read somewhere “a good compromise is when both parties are dissatisfied.”

where centrists find compromise and center between „gay people should have same rights as everybody” and the political right stance

I read somewhere this is also a far-right strategy; to be so extreme in one direction that the “center” is skewed in their direction.

I think we presume the “center” to be between two opinions that assume sensibility and human decency…which is perhaps, unfortunately, not always true…


hard to speak of compromise in general terms since there is usually a power dynamic involved which means one party is going to compromise more than the other, as in my mind, compromise implies a spectrum of outcomes or choices. Or, as is often the case, power imbalances make one feel as if there is no choice but to compromise.

The brief quote in the first post seems to be speaking about instances where the option to compromise is eliminated, though, no? And this is the trick of tyranny, to present you with several undesirable choices and make you believe you are being responsible and compromising when in fact you are being subjugated (sorry if this sounds overly dramatic, I don’t mean it to be so).


That new Ezra Klein book sounds interesting. Anyone check out Why We’re Polarized?

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I suspect the following:

  1. This generation views compromise as weakness, not wisdom.
  2. Short attention spans and busy lives lend themselves toward a principle of efficiency in judgment and decision making.

The result/
a cultural momentum toward believing agreement = truth, and frustration toward those who will not “choose sides”
I get it, but i am just not interested in joining a cult today.


Not adding anything useful to this conversation but this was too good to pass up:


I suppose there might be generational differences, though I don’t know. It seems to me that few people enjoy having their views questioned, we’d rather look for confirmation among our peers to feel good about ourselves. And so, we find it hard to “agree to disagree”.

At 60, I have come to believe that sanity requires the deep understanding that it is impossible for anyone or any group to know everything.

Therefore it is impossible to be certain that “we” are always right.

From there, all decisions must be made on the basis of best available information, which may come from perspectives which we might find challenging or worse.

This should be the basis for being willing to consider that “we” might actually be wrong.

Remaining open to that possibility keeps us humble and human. It also allows us to identify those who hold an opposing view, not regarding the specific decision point under consideration but regarding the need to remain open in the first place.

Such opposition to openness is the real enemy.


Yea it seems like culture and identity issues are much more difficult to compromise on, by their very nature. With economic issues it was fairly straightforward to have one party propose the ideal, and other party push back on the fiscal realities, and land somewhere in the middle.

The current realignment in US politics will make these sorts of compromises almost impossible, unless we can push a new alignment that unites working class folks across different races, education levels, and geographic boundaries.


“Meet me half way,” said the unreasonable man, so I took a step towards him.
Then he took a step backwards and said, “Meet me half way.”


When you consider how many extreme, ideologically-driven shifts have occurred under the guise of centrism, pragmatism and compromise, it because impossible to take the concept at face value.


i don’t have anything brilliant to add. just wanted to say I really appreciate the discussion

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I really like this quote, cause I’ve often considered myself a centrist bordering on center-left, but even though I’ve self-identified that way for a long time while I was living in the US, I had the feeling that the “center” was always moving (unfortunately to the right), such that even though I viewed myself as a centrist, my views wound up being further to the left than even some “left wing” American views.

I tend to think extreme/extremist results are often not in the best interests of the most people, but I do acknowledge that in some cases, extremist tactics are the only appropriate response, and in fact sometimes the only effective response to bring the results into the middle. Especially in the context of ideas like this:

Where on one side of this ultimatum, you have IMO a centrist idea (all people should have equal rights independent of their sexual orientation) and on the other, you have a far extreme counter-argument. My centrist answer to this is not to be in the middle of the two options, but rather, to expose a third extreme option that illustrates that the “left” option is in fact centered already: actually gay people should have more rights than straight people and we should criminalize heteronormativity

What if… there are more than three perspectives?

I prefer discussion to argument, because it allows for a diversity of perspectives. We aren’t trying to win, we’re trying to learn with an open mind.

Of course, it’s hard to square this attitude with two-party politics.


There’s four sides to every story
if these walls could talk, they’d prob’ly still ignore me

There’s so much complexity to just about everything… finding balance requires exploration, discussion, learning… it seems relevant though to recognize that not everyone has an open mind about everything, and not everyone wants to learn or find balance. The video interview of the woman in Iowa wanting to revoke support for Buttigieg after discovering his sexual orientation was eye-opening for me. These people exist, and in many cases are pretty firm in their convictions, even if those convictions are extreme.

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Also noteworthy is that video clip has (and hopefully always will) have an equal number of likes and dislikes. Currently at 475K.


Perhaps you could offer a few examples of extreme ideologies that grew out of moderation.