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Friday, October 26, 2012

David Brooks, "What Moderation Means": Tolerance, Flexibility and Introspection, All Vanishing in an Age of Narcissism

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "What Moderation Means" (, David Brooks describes for us the meaning of "moderation":

"The moderate tries to preserve the tradition of conflict, keeping the opposing sides balanced. She understands that most public issues involve trade-offs. In most great arguments, there are two partially true points of view, which sit in tension. The moderate tries to maintain a rough proportion between them, to keep her country along its historic trajectory.

. . . .

The moderate does not believe that there are policies that are permanently right. Situations matter most. Tax cuts might be right one decade but wrong the next. Tighter regulations might be right one decade, but if sclerosis sets in then deregulation might be in order.

. . . .

Moderation is also a distinct ethical disposition. Just as the moderate suspects imbalance in the country, so she suspects it in herself. She distrusts passionate intensity and bold simplicity and admires self-restraint, intellectual openness and equipoise."

Or in other words, "moderation" involves tolerance, flexibility, a willingness to make concessions, and considerable introspection.

Perhaps this also explains why, in our current age of narcissism, moderation is going the way of the dodo bird and headed for extinction.

1 comment:

  1. We are rendered immobile via our polarization, which is based upon our narcissistic affiliations.

    What is the antidote to our burgeoning narcissism?