Radical Centrism

December 18, 2007

You are trying to decide what policy best helps the environment, or how to improve the lot of the poor, or maybe you just need to know how to vote in the primaries.

Let’s have a look at the field: the right is too religious, war-mongering, corporatist and at times overly naive. The left is too socialist, bleeding heart, protectionist, and at times overly pessimistic. Libertarians are too crazy, sociopathic, self-centered, and at all times overly utopian. And those are just three of the biggest ones.

Of course,these are generalization, and don’t apply to large swathes of the demographics represented by these labels. But there are fundamental problems with all these world-views, as well as any others that choose a way to view the world and their favourite method to tackle its problems before doing anything else.

Introducing Radical Centrism. My conception of the idea is a little bit similar to the radical center movement, but differs in what makes it radical. The movement’s name is derived from “radical” indicating “extreme”. My Radical Centrism takes its name from the non-political meaning of the term which arose from the latin “radix” meaning “root”. Thus, Radical Centrism views the problems of political ideologies to be buried deep with their very roots–their base assumptions and methodologies.

Radical Centrism holds these positive values:

  1. Reason
  2. This is the method by which any ideas must be described and deliberated.
  3. Patience
  4. Rushing into decisions usually has more dire consequences than being too late.
  5. Compassion
  6. It is better to do something that helps someone than something that doesn't hurt anyone.

And peldges these negative ones:

  1. No Assumptions
  2. A problem cannot have any axioms. Priors must be dealt with according to positive considerations above.
  3. No Axis
  4. Locating oneself on any ideological axis when solving a problem introduces invisible assumptions that will prevent arriving at a preferable solution.
  5. No Conclusions
  6. Never make final decisions. Always be ready to update your priors and your solutions.

An appropriate alternative name for Radical Centrism is Political Bayesianism.

Radical Centrism - December 18, 2007 - Michael Katsevman