Brooks on (Im)Moderation

David Brooks is the only political columnist I follow regularly. Unlike most of the others I’ve encountered, he does a good job of leaving the shrillness behind for more nuanced argument, usually balanced with a good measure of praise where praise is due. So when he writes a column like the one published yesterday, it certainly catches my attention.

Brooks is a good example of a passionate moderate. His latest column provides an excellent example. In it, he excoriates Republicans for their abandonment of moderation. (Now would be a good time to read it, then come back here.) Note some of the elements of moderation he highlights:

  • A focus on governance rather than protest
  • The logic of compromise
  • The legitimacy of scholarship
  • Promises made should be kept
  • Recognition of the complexity of government and society (as opposed to clinging to a belief in a single panacea)

You may or may not agree with Brooks about whether the Republican Party has abandoned these core tenets of political moderation. As I suggested in my last post, I wasn’t entirely ready to believe that they had. But Brooks certainly makes me lean further that direction.

Regardless of your take on the current GOP, I think Brooks has done a good job of highlighting fundamental principles that can (and should) transcend our usual left-right political spectrum. One could easily be either a dedicated conservative or a dedicated liberal and still embrace each of these principles of moderation. As Brooks makes clear, doing so would probably result in slightly more centrist outcomes. But that doesn’t have to mean abandoning your other political views or making impressive (perhaps even unprecedented) gains for your ideological position.

Here’s to hoping there are still enough Republican leaders to lead their party (back) along the path of moderation.

One Response to Brooks on (Im)Moderation
  1. kaahl
    August 3, 2011 | 6:49 am

    Jason, you need to have this list from McSweenys in a permanent side-bar, if not a link:

    – – – –

    Live free or give me a reasonable alternative!

    Peace through pragmatism.

    Let’s all keep our opinions to ourselves for a while!

    It’s noontime in America.

    Some taxation, some representation.

    What do we want? Rational discussion? When do we want it? … What works for you?

    Hooray for prudence!

    We request change in a reasonable amount of time after comprehensive discussion of the options!

    Who wants peanuts?