Philosophy Magazine

Resolution of Moderation in 2012

By Realizingresonance @RealizResonance


Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.

Happy New Year!!

In 2011 I accomplished many things, including resolution of the New Year’s Resolutions that I made last year. I managed to stay in the habit of wishing my Facebook Friends their happy birthdays in 2011, and I attended the World Future Conference in Vancouver in July, where I learned a lot about futuring and futurists. Unfortunately I did not attend as many wine tastings with my wife as I had hoped, unless you count Sunday morning at the bargain grocery outlet, a few walks down to our local wine bar Vino, or the Malbecs and Carménères that we sampled in the luxury of our own home. I published 69 blog articles in 2011, on a wide range of philosophical themes, Time, Love, Music, Economics, Mind, The Future, History, Food & Drink, Ethics & Law, The Paranormal, Knowledge, and Art & Aesthetics. Also, I attempted to read a new book related to my monthly theme every month in my Resolution to Read. The blog readership has grown significantly over the year, and this encourages me to keep writing.

As we enter the 2012, the Realizing Resonance Philosophy Blog is going to change slightly in its format. I will be keeping the monthly philosophical themes, but rather than being a hodgepodge of different philosophy topics, the themes in 2012 will be focused on politics, ethics, economics, history, and the future, centered around my attempt to evolve a philosophy of political moderation. While I will not be able to resist the occasional article on metaphysical issues, such as philosophy of time or freewill, the spotlight will be on practical issues related to the current challenges of American life, with an eye towards meeting somewhere in the middle when this is called for, or otherwise splitting the difference issue by issue as objectively as possible.

In January the theme will be Moderation, in February it will be Liberty, and in March it will be Equality. And for the rest of the year I will continue to explore the conundrums of political moderation, centrism, and partisan independence. As my fellow Americans are surely aware there is a Presidential election coming up next year, between Barack Obama, an as yet unknown GOP challenger, and maybe some third party contestants of note. Who knows? I do know that my country is deeply divided, in polity, in media, and in government. The election year of 2012 will likely demonstrate this quite vividly, no doubt degrading and demoralizing the public in the process. We stopped talking about hope and change a long time ago, unfortunately.

My general philosophical thesis for 2012 is that the average US citizen is getting increasingly tired and frightened by the partisan bickering, gaming, brinksmanship, and general failure to compromise on the most pressing national concerns. It often seems that the only things that our two opposing political parties actually agree on are the corrupt bargains that they engage in behind closed doors. Even the good politicians are guilty by association to their party. I believe that partisanship derives from our commitment to issues and principles, the promise that one side will champion these preferred outcomes on our behalf, and a fear the other side will disregard our desired outcomes. This is a hard nut to crack, but I want to promote different political commitments which focus on structure before strife. Commitments to the principles of temperance, prudence, pragmatism, ethics, and cooperation. My goal is to look for a third way, which seeks to mediate the disputes that we never seem to resolve, or at least find unbiased methods for locating the correct answers regardless of which party or person promotes the idea.

Political moderation is harder than it sounds, and it is not only absent in our politicians, but our polity as well. If we want our leaders to compromise, and to work for the general welfare, then we must be willing to temper our own partisan motivations, and spend some more time examining our own biased thinking. My goal this year is to develop a personal method of approaching political issues that seeks the mean, without falling into the trap of false balance. I will look for guidance in some old philosophies, such as Aristotle’s Golden Mean, American Pragmatism ala William James, the maxims of Roman Stoics like Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and Hegel’s Dialectic. I will be diving deeper into the views of liberals and conservatives, socialists and libertarians, looking for insights and common ground, weighing the pros and cons, seeking out the best of both worlds, hoping to find a synthesis, while maintaining a commitment to the truth as I search.

My education is in philosophy, economics, and politics. The interdisciplinary nature of my degree provides me with the tools to approach the world from multiple viewpoints, helping me to appreciate the need for moderation. The efficiency of economics, the efficacy of politics, and the ethical teachings of philosophy do not always point in the same direction. Understanding the complex labyrinth of the ever changing modern situation will require an ability to deal with these competing ideas prudentially, a state of affairs that feels hopelessly absent in today’s America, which in my mind requires us, the democratic voting public, to consider political life outside of the typical two dimensions that we are used to. F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “The sign of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” I believe that for America to remain a first-rate country in the years ahead, we will need to find a way to hold multiple opposing ideas in our polity at the same and still retain the ability to function.

If you want to help promote moderation in 2012, please read the Realizing Resonance Philosophy Blog on Paperblog in 2012, “Like” the articles, leave comments, share with your friends, and engage in some deep thinking with me.

Jared Roy Endicott

Resolution of Moderation in 2012
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