Monday, May 23, 2011

The extremism of ideology

Newt Gingrich, until recently a highly praised conservative Republican who then shot his character and campaign in the face by voicing a personal opinion that was not in line with the party, made a good point recently about keeping one ideology from completely overwhelming the political landscape. His comments were in reference to Paul Ryan's fiscal plan, and went along the lines of saying that a far-right conservative totality of political influence is just as undesirable as a far-left liberal totality of political influence.

That's a great point to make, and one that has been missing in recent months as everyone has been so focused on attacking the President and the Left for their policies. No one stopped to question the validity of the arguments and plans coming from the Right. Until Newt. And he got shellacked by his own supporters for being so "anti-ideologue" with his opinions.

So here's a great example of extremes in the form of an Onion article by Larry Boudrias.It relates, in a humorous way but with a serious point, the consequences of absolute extremes to either the Right or Left. On the one hand, you have the glorification of minorities, the humanization of plants and animals, and freedom to do anything you want. On the other hand you have privatization of everything from schools to currency, you have a pure free market where everyone is an unwilling participant, and you have a militaristic state to keep order. It's meant to be a joke, but it makes a good point.

One of the things that the GOP, and the Tea Party in particular, have got wrong is the belief that they don't have to compromise on their positions and that everyone will simply agree with them. They don't feel that they should have to make any concessions, which results in nothing getting done. Those on the Left tend to compromise too much, and don't stand on their issues as strongly, but at least they're willing to compromise. 

Newt had it right when he said that extremism is the road to ruin, politically as well as financially. He knew, and still does, that compromise and a central position is the best only real option. But the absolute conservative ideologues won't stand for such heresy in their party. 

Here's a look at how paranoid the conservative groups are about compromising on their ideals. The democrats have realized that all they have to do is praise a Republican for supporting something they do and that Republican will be dropped by their party before their done reading the press release. It's an amazing example of how extreme the GOP has become and how high their standards have become for their candidates. This continued movement to the Right will likely result in their have trouble getting any candidate elected since they'll have to become more and more crazy just to be considered.

I feel bad that this continued polarization is leading to a political climate that actively fights against compromise and a group of representatives and political pundits that are more concerned about pandering to their base than serving the American People as a whole. Where is the servitude in public service?

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