centre

Imagine two people, each stood on the opposite banks of a river. Where then is the "average" of their positions? It's midstream - the deep water.

"Centrist" politics, as we know it today, treads water in such currents. So-called centrist governments are nothing of the sort. They are actually a remarkable co-existence of radically opposed positions, giving the illusory feeling of something that averages out as middling and moderate. In fact, social policy is far to the Left and economic policy is far to the Right, in most of the Western world.

Much social policy is an iteration - distant but traceable - of the theories of early 20th century "cultural Marxists" such as Gramsci and the Frankfurt School. The goal remains a far-Left egalitarianism, founded on a radically idealised view of humanity as essentially "good" but conditioned by the "false consciousness" of capitalism into oppressive/oppressed norms, these eliminable by mass engineering of society and language.

Whereas economic policy is an iteration - basically unchanged - of Right-wing neo-liberal theories of capital by Smith, Hayek, Friedman, etcetera, now radically deployed into the realm of globalised financial feeding-frenzy and unbridled migrations of capital and labour - all this based on the ideology that everything magically turns out for the best if greed is granted a totally unregulated freedom.

So... scary sh*t at both ends. But run these simultaneously, and - presto - you're a "centrist" government. Even if the positions are philosophically poles apart. Radical equality and radical freedom are opposite extremes, as well as extreme fantasies in their radical forms. In the UK, New Labour and the Conservatives are barely-distinguishable mayonnaises of these oil-and-water ingredients. (Occasionally the extremes do fuse, but that is not necessarily a good thing. US sub-prime mortgages were an example, where a Left social imperative that every person can own property colluded with a Right economic imperative that every loan can be marketed as a profitable commodity.)

Such a "centre" is false notion. There's nothing there, only deep water.

(BTW: J M Barroso - President of the European Commission - calls himself a "centrist" reformer. Even if his re-election yesterday isn't automatically a step on the road to serfdom, it's a tad ominous when a former Maoist - such as he is - stands in an election where there are no other candidates... no?)