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Moderates, Extremists, and Liberty


As I have observed the mainstream media (MSM, to the cognoscenti) over the past few decades, I have noted a growing infatuation with the words moderate and extremist. Those words, paired together in a particular way, have become far more common.

In California, where I live, every time the legislature has trouble passing a budget, pundits blame it on a decline in the number of moderate members, whose seats are now held by extremists. Of course, what is really involved is that Democrats, who have long dominated the legislature, have found it harder to buy off enough Republican votes to impose their budget priorities, which invariably involve increasing the burden on some to give more to others. When opposition-party members who are only moderately attached to the principle of self-ownership (moderates) are replaced with those more firmly attached to it (extremists), at least with regard to taxes, the price of buying the necessary swing votes can rise dramatically. Democrats cannot impose their agenda as easily and gridlock becomes more common.

The MSM treatment of the tea party during the debt-ceiling impasse followed much the same line. In the wake of a historic expansion of federal power and spending, where 40 percent of every dollar had to be borrowed, pundits called for moderates, because they would compromise toward President Obama's demand for higher taxes, rather than the current extremists, who wanted to undo some of the new and improved profligacy in government outlays.

In both of these examples, and many others (such as the MSM treatment of Rep. Ron Paul throughout his political career), the moderation called for is always moderation in defense of some aspect of liberty (self-ownership), so that further inroads can be imposed, with those firmest in their defense tarred as unreasonable extremists.


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