There is the center. The point that is truly equidistant from the edges. Then there is the middle. It appears good to many people to be of the middle. And there are many good people who inhabit that grayish area. But there is also a ridiculous middle. This is an area of false equivalencies, rights to every opinion, and looking for good when there is none. It is the place of alternative facts and “how do we really know?” The ridiculous middle grants a “fair hearing” to nonsense that never exhausts itself. It is the place where judgement is judged as judgment. This is a hazy ludicrous place where people are mistaken for centrists. It is time to expose it.
The Middle Ground
Dante’s Inferno has a level where people lacking self-control are tossed about by the contradictory winds. People lacking logic find themselves tossed around by too many potentially true thoughts. They are taken in by sales pitches, rhetoric, and sophistries. The ridiculous middle seeks such people. They are allowed to pretend to intelligence and knowledge they do not possess. It gives one a feeling of generally knowing all there is to know.
The true middle ground is somewhere people can place their feet. They understand what is being said because they inhabit the same plane as at least one party in the discussion. Taking a side is possible for this person. Condemning an erroneous position is also possible from this place.
Media Manufactured Haziness
The best way to win an argument is to have the facts and logic along with enough rhetoric to be persuasive. The best way not to lose an argument is to create a haziness about the discussion. Accuse your opponent of not being clear. Ask irrelevant questions. Claim the opponent is condescending. You may even try to besmirch the person’s character. Not losing the argument has been always been the goal of polluters, authoritarians, and religious hucksters.
Discussions centering on environmental issues are the best examples. One scientist portrays himself as the lonely voice against “the establishment” claiming more carbon in the atmosphere is good. This person appeals to a certain mindset that feels persecuted and identifies with the lone truth-teller. People having such a mindset then find themselves identifying with the person and adopting that person’s point of view. It is the essence of drama.
Recent history presents a false narrative concerning politics. The present belief offered is any thing deemed extreme is bad because it is not in the middle. Honestly, is there any real comparison when one side threatens violence and tries to menace another with weapons? Is a liberal voter the morally the same as the gun-wielding authoritarian standing by the ballot box? Could it be that practical fascism is the same as attempting to bring quality education and healthcare to all people? Neither of these are comparable. But the ridiculous middle pretends they are.
The Ideology of the Ridiculous Middle
The term radical is used by many who try to either denigrate or support a position. Fundamentalists often refer to all feminists as “radical feminists.” Other people might claim a new method of working is “radical” simply because of the changes required. I call myself a radical because the root of my being is involved in my commitments. The ridiculous middle has neither roots nor center.
Theologically speaking, if we view the Church as a circle, Christ is the center point of it. If we view the Church as a tree, Christ is the root of it. No one says Jesus is “the middle.”
People of the ridiculous middle believe they are wise, sophisticated, and rational. They prove this is farcical when they claim we should all go along to get along. They present being willfully ignorant as acceptance. The ideological position is a form of laissez-faire. Leave us alone and do not make us think too hard. This is morally dangerous territory. Evil triumphs when good people do nothing, we hear. But how can the people be considered good if they do nothing?
The New Testament writers made calls for people to be sober. This is not about substance use. It is about maintaining clarity. Clear thinking is required to be truly discerning. If a person claims spiritual knowledge that contradicts reality, sober thinking does not readily accept it. Yet, there are many who get concerned about such clarity. To their minds, it is judgmentalism. I am against judgmentalism too. I do not always see as clearly as I think I do. Neither do I always think as clearly as I think I do. I freely admit this. But when the emperor is naked, we should say so if he complains about being cold. Far too many people are complaining while pretending they do not know the reason why. If they are not pretending, we have to show why they are uncomfortable.