I think we need to the banish the word “ideology’ from our political lexicon. This nasty word has been the root cause for all conflicts of the modern age.
Let us talk only about ideas, principles, values and so on. The “isms” have become outdated. Technology is transforming our lives at a pace nobody anticipated. Technology doesn’t care about ideologies or ‘isms’.
Karl Marx was a product of his times.He was influenced by the dark side of the Industrial Revolution. He could not anticipate that technological changes would render many of his theories irrelevant. But his followers have the benefit of hindsight. They are witnesses to the Technological Revolution. But they are not ready to revise their pet theories in the light of shifting social, economic and cultural paradigms.
Similarly, the Right has a phobia against anything perceived as socialist. Total equality is not possible. But the level of inequality can be reduced. The Right believes that inequality is biological or inevitable. Even Science cannot convince them.
The centrists have been denied political space that they deserve. I don’t know why the author feels shy of pragmatism.The centrist looks at what is doable, achievable and which benefits the most and harms the least. Sometimes trade offs may be necessary for long term success. Short term pain must be endured for long term benefits. The centrist looks at the larger picture. They don’t miss the woods for the trees.
But the problem is how to articulate well meaning policies to the people, to convince them that seeking the best option in the prevailing circumstances and context as well expected future changes and not the ideologically attractive or populist one should be the goal.
People can easily be swayed by propaganda. Sections of the media are ideologically committed. The media is hostile to the centrists because it wants clarity. It wants the policy maker to left or right. The media wants to sell stories. The centrist will not oblige because they want to explore options, weigh the pros and cons before endorsing a particular course of action. The media cannot sensationalize centrism which chases ideas and not ideologies.
We have many closet centrists who pretend to be either left or right for fearing of being ridiculed as fence sitters. There is nothing shameful being a centrist or a moderate.
Centrism is a way of life, an attitude that is most suitable to tackle the challenges of the problem-ridden and conflict prone modern age.