Is American Democratic Republicanism A True Balance?

The two-party political system in America posits itself as helping to create a balance between two extremes of political thought. The centric political philosophy that most Americans embrace maintains it's position on the fence between the left and right, believing itself to be in a more rational and balanced position than those closer to the extremities. My question is, how balanced is centrism really? In mapping the political spectrum according to a simple left/right structure, are we allowing the up/down, diagonal or z-axis that may exist to slip past the radar? Clearly, all other facets of life are not so black and white. Many of the sciences long ago adopted multi-model approaches to looking at the world around us, so it seems to me as though the current model of looking at political issues is terribly naive.

Of course, the idea too of a cubical map of political extremes is a little bit ridiculous. So, then, is the problem with political thought a result of that most typical of failures: confusing the maps we have made of reality with reality itself?

To provide an example, one of the major problems I have with the alleged balance between the two perceived American extremes, is that the sides that are considered within the larger American political structure - Libertarianism and Conservatism, Democraticism and Republicanism, both member of the left and right, respectively - are both entirely capitalist; no attempt is made by either to stifle the excessive power of corporate entities, though both do in fact debate constantly over how important our individual liberties are. This has led me to assume that the American value system as we know it today is quite far flung from the American value system of previous centuries, which seemed a great deal more balanced, at least perhaps because there were more political parties that were acknowledged and each stood a chance in elections.

I think that in order to achieve a greater sense of balance, America will have to begin to understand, listen to and acknowledge the values of all alternative ideologists and allow them a platform on which to stand. That is, if America isn't already dead-drunk on it's unwarranted power and influence.

Befriend your ideological opposite. It’s fun.

Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
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  • "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
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