The Banal Evil of Centrism

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Memo to centrism and its backers: GO AND FUCK YOURSELVES IN THE CENTER.

Centrism! The belief that anyone to the left of me is crazy and wrong, and that anyone to the right of me is crazy and wrong, and that Real Truth exists only in the Magic Center, which coincidentally is exactly where I am and expounds exactly what I believe in.

The "I" in the above paragraph isn't me, of course, It's generally a very comfortable white person who hangs around the Washington political scene, never worries about going hungry, and is convinced that their personal wisdom stems from the great, honest, hard-working masses of America's middle parts.

Centrism holds that whatever positions the two sides hold, the truth must lie between them, because left and right are EXTREMES. This leads to some fascinating results when applied to certain moral or ethical quandaries.

For example, in the current climate, "The Left" thinks that torture is wrong and bad. "The Right" thinks that torture is necessary and useful. So, how does a centrist thread the needle between those two? ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"We tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values. I understand why it happened. I think it’s important when we look back to recall how afraid people were after the Twin Towers fell and the Pentagon had been hit and the plane in Pennsylvania had fallen, and people did not know whether more attacks were imminent, and there was enormous pressure on our law enforcement and our national security teams to try to deal with this. And it’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had. And a lot of those folks were working hard under enormous pressure and are real patriots." - Noted centrist (despite what you may hear on the Internet) Barack Obama.

That's the banal evil of centrism. Torture is, of course, wrong and bad. But when we torture, while the act may be wrong and bad, we are still right and good, because the people who tortured weren't sociopathic CIA agents in foreign countries without regard for law, ethics, or basic human decency. No, they were scared "real patriots" under a lot of pressure. MISTAKES WERE MADE.

But you know what the worst part is? The secret ninja trick of centrism that will allow this kind of banal evil to grow in perpetuity? My criticism will be discounted because it comes from The Left. Meanwhile, The Right is criticising Obama for having the gall to say we tortured people just because a report came out that said we brutally tortured people. A decade after we tortured people and a few years after we allegedly stopped.

And when a centrist is criticized by the left and the right, that is the single greatest positive reinforcement they can get. It's like winning the blowjob lottery for them. One of the most corrosive ideas in Washington these days is "Both sides are unhappy - we must be doing something right!" - Or, you know, maybe you're doing something so horribly wrong that nobody agrees with it. Or splitting the difference so finely that what you've essentially done is nothing at all. Canceling yourself out.

How sanctimonious, exactly, is too sanctimonious when criticizing torture? Apparently, to the centrist, holding the people responsible accountable, punishing them, or even making them feel bad about BEING TORTURERS is "too sanctimonious". Might as well give 'em all a pat on the back, a participation medal, and a nice pension. They are real patriots, after all.