Who is a moderate now? Who’s a centrist?
Until recently, the answer to such questions was primarily ideological. Centrists were middle-of-the-roaders who rejected the purity of the ideological left and right. I will confess: I used to have considerable scorn for such people. They often acted as if being in the middle was a sign of intellectual superiority.
After all, on some issues the pure ideological position is often smarter than the split-the-difference compromise. If one side wants to build a bridge over a canyon and the other side doesn’t, the smartest course isn’t to build half a bridge that stops in thin air.
In recent years, though, the definition of centrism has been changing before our eyes as the culture has become more partisan. For instance, I haven’t changed my conservative views on most issues, but because I am a staunch critic of…