Or so they like to think. And it’s not hard to see why: It’s a flattering and noble story to tell about oneself. Identity centrists are, nonetheless, human beings, and as such they are as subject to human foibles as the rest of us. Centrists can be as clubby and tribal as anyone. And they are just as prone to motivated reasoning. If you approach every question as a binary to be transcended, you can always find two “sides” to serve the purpose. This frequently manifests in unintentionally hilarious ways around climate change: One side says the Earth is flat, the other side occasionally exaggerates or insufficiently hedges, and the internet is choked with people claiming to be in the “reasonable middle” of that debate, despite sharing 95 percent of the substantive commitments of the latter side. They bend themselves into pretzels to avoid the obvious conclusion that all the reasonable debate is within one side — and they’re in it. Not above. In.
Follow the brilliant career of Jonathan Bradley, noted iconoclast, libertine, and man of letters. When he's not blogging here, he blogs at The United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, Australia. Jonathan is the editor of American Review magazine's daily Blog Book section and a daily editor at the Singles Jukebox.
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