The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
Instagram

Embracing moderation

Why do we laugh at moderation? When I look back on a university theater’s production of Enemy of the People I once saw, I remember laughing hysterically at the character that touted moderation. Every time another character would come up with some brilliantly severe idea, he would inevitably chime in, “Moderation, moderation,” and the audience would burst into laughter. Why?

I think the reason was this character was so easily taken advantage of. In many cases, moderation makes one a tool that others can utilize to their own advantage. Besides that, at least in Enemy of the People, the moderate was hopelessly alone. In the end, none of the other characters really cared what he thought, said or did. No one was willing to compromise. This is very sad because moderation is the most rational political stance. Not the most heroic or gallant, but definitely the most rational, and arguably the most noble.

Imagine a completely liberal world. Nothing is illegal (except for wanting to make something illegal), and everyone does their own thing regardless of how it affects anyone else. If I want to drive two hundred miles an hour down the highway, I do it. If I want to drive the wrong way down the highway, I do it. Everyone is a liberal. Everyone is free to do what he or she wants and make their own choices. (Except for the people driving in front of me.)

On the other hand, imagine a completely conservative world. We still cast votes with pottery shards because that is the way the Greeks did it. Everyone and their dog has held political office because that is the way the Greeks did it. We all go to the same church (which long ago lost any real spirituality). We all know our place in society, and only some of us are actually citizens. When we go to other countries we should learn as much as we can from them (as long as our conclusion is that our way is better). You get the point.

Luckily, we live in a fairly moderate world. Sure, you can count the number of individual moderates you know on one hand, but collectively, America is a moderate place. Ever since 1860 there has been a constant back and forth sway of conservative/liberal, Republican/Democrat rule. Sometimes one party is in power longer than the other, and sometimes one party rules the executive while the other rules the legislative. They even themselves out in the long run. Basically, the moment we make a move in one direction, the other party comes into power and limits the effect of the move.

This is why I love our two-party system. Sure, I hate all the annoying campaigning, candidate-bashing and angry scowls around Election Day. (I even hate the stupid Facebook line that asks what your political views are.) Maybe I hate the system, but I love the effect of it. Because ultimately, it seems to me that the two-party system slows the liberals down and prods the conservatives along. It moderates us.

In the end, it may not matter too much how far left or how far right you are. I still find it odd that so few of us actually embrace moderation before all of the twisting of arms and underhanded political deals finally force compromise, but at least compromise is made.

However, even if the end result is the same, it sure seems like we could save a lot of time and money by making all the compromises in our own hearts and minds, voting and acting moderately from the get-go.

Matt Brumit is a junior Humanities major. He can be reached for comment at [email protected].

More to Discover