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Moderate approaches during times of extremism

Updated: Aug 31, 2022

While some states in America have far more conservatives or liberals, the durability of large percentages of moderates in every state persists.

In episode 16, we discussed how even though extremists in America are amplified by the media and social media who profit from getting people's attention, most people still see themselves as being in the middle. No matter how hard politicians, Hollywood, media/social media, and political extremists try, they have a difficult time creating permanent divisions in society.

One of the three treasures of Daoism is moderation. From observing nature, Daoists understand that when things go to extreme, they revert to their opposite. When the coldest days of winter have arrived, soon after Spring will return. If a mountain of earth has been pushed very high, it will be leveled off and earth will return to the valley. If an animal is making too much noise, it will attract the attention of predators and be eaten. If a predator gets too greedy and won't give up some of it's kill, it might get injured in a fight and be unable to catch it's next meal.

When you stretch something to its limit, it will break. It's unnatural for society to be in chaos. When forces push people to extreme views, the people will soon abandon those views and revert to the mean. Right now, the media, social media, Hollywood, academia, and politicians are pushing people to extremes. While this might work in the short-term, we see that people still largely stay centered and moderate. No wonder the media is always trying to make a story out of things that don't merit attention.

The articles that follow take different perspectives of the American people and how they identify politically. While some regions of the country are more conservative or more liberal, the moderates are ever-present. The Daoist can take comfort that people are naturally not extremist, and that it requires a lot of effort to make people so agitated.

The U.S. Remained Center-Right, Ideologically, in 2019

Even during a period of time when people at the fringes of each party have become more extremist, moderates have remained a large percentage of the population. There has been a small shift toward liberal views, but a little more than 1/3rd of Americans identify as moderates and were the largest portion of populace during the 1990's and mid-2000's.

Hidden Tribes

This study has examined the views of Americans and identified that political extremists make up the smallest share of Americans even though the media fixates on amplifying their voices. The vast majority of people are in the center and have the following in common:

  • They are fed up with the polarization plaguing American government and society

  • They are often forgotten in the public discourse, overlooked because their voices are seldom heard

  • They are flexible in their views, willing to endorse different policies according to the precise situation rather than sticking ideologically to a single set of beliefs

  • They believe we can find common ground

Political Ideology by State

Looking at each state, even though some states might have many, or very few conservatives, there's a solid group of moderates in every state within ranges between 30-40% of the population.

Daoists, take heart, stay centered, and don't go to extremes.

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