We live in an age of extremes. All around the globe, the forces of the center-right and center-left are losing ground to the seductive but false certainties of ideology and populism. The Niskanen Center believes that the best way to counter the tendency toward extremism is to create a new model of principled moderation.
That’s easier said than done at a time when the political process has become polarized and tribal, rendering government dysfunctional. The market economy no longer seems to generate mass prosperity. Society has become increasingly divided along lines of class, education, and geography. The outdated political nostrums of both left and right seem unable to cope with new problems of widening income inequality, crumbling communities, climate change, mass migration, unaddressed long-term threats to public welfare, and a growing loss of faith in social democracy and the American dream of rising living standards for each successive generation.
Can a reimagined politics of pragmatism and moderation provide a new way forward? We believe that it can and must. But this new politics must avoid the tepid mush of difference-splitting centrism and compromise for compromise’s sake. We are in search of a moderation that can be dynamic and innovative, politically compelling, and even radical. The essays and papers on moderation that we have assembled here are our invitation to you to join us in this exciting new exploration.
- Framing Essay: Jerry Taylor, “The Alternative to Ideology,” October 29, 2018.
- Will Wilkinson, “On Saying That Extremism in Defense of Liberty Is No Vice,” January 5, 2016.
- Will Wilkinson, “On Saying That Moderation in Pursuit of Justice Is No Virtue,” January 18, 2016.
- Aurelian Craiutu, “Moderation as an Antidote to Hyper-Partisan Politics,” October 11, 2017.
- Aurelian Craiutu, “Moderation II: Rules for Moderates,” October 18, 2017.
- Aurelian Craiutu, “The Radicalization of Moderation,” January 7, 2019.
- Robert Litan, “How Do We Get There from Here?” January 23, 2019.
- Brink Lindsey, “The Niskanen Center’s Double Move,” February 4, 2019.
- Jacob Levy, “Why I Am Not a Moderate,” Februrary 22, 2019.
- Emil Frankel, “The Fall and Possible Rise of Moderate Republicanism,” September 27, 2019.
- Brink Lindsey, Steven Teles, Sam Hammond, and Will Wilkinson, “The Center Can Hold: Public Policy for an Age of Extremes,” December 18, 2018.
- Steven Teles and Robert Saldin, “The Future Is Faction,” November 25, 2019.
- “Congressional Primaries: How the Parties Fight Insurgents,” January 31, 2018.
- “Who’s More Afraid of Democracy: The Center or the Right?” June 20, 2018.
- “How the Democrat and Republican Parties Are Changing,” October 10, 2018.
- “If Moderates Are Electable, Why Are Ideologues Winning?” June 5, 2019.
Conferences (With Transcripts of Panels)
Beyond Left and Right: Moderation in an Age of Extremism, a Niskanen Center Conference held on February 25, 2019.