A student at Chapman University in Orange, California, argues that holding moderate political beliefs is a form of privilege akin to “white privilege.”
“Liberals and progressives can be quick to call attention to many privileges, but one that often goes unrecognized is centrist privilege,” a sophomore at Chapman University wrote this week for the school’s student newspaper.
In the column, Chapman University student Matthew Q. Joy argues that moderate political beliefs are often as vile as “right-wing conservatism.” The Republican Party, Joy argues, has become too radical to reach compromises with their political opponents.
In a political environment that receives criticism for polarization, it has become almost honorable to self-describe as a “moderate” or a “centrist.” While there is value in recognizing opposing viewpoints and reaching compromises, the Republican Party has become too conservative for this to be possible. This has created a situation in which liberals who follow the moderate, compromising path – as opposed to holding steadfast progressive values – quietly benefit from the struggles of countless Americans.
Joy argues that “centrist privilege” is akin to “white privilege” in that it allows Americans to escape without social consequences despite holding “views that leave fellow Americans at a disadvantage.” Joy argues that Barack Obama was a shining example of “centrist privilege” because he faced no consequences for failing to successfully implement “universal health care coverage” for all.
Centrism is as vile as right-wing conservatism, but it contains the additional atrocity of having no social consequences for holding views that leave fellow Americans at a disadvantage. This creates a type of privilege. Centrist ideas must only garner electoral support when they are the final option standing between the public and a conservative disaster, and even then must be met with reluctance. Just as progressives denounce white privilege, it is time to denounce centrist privilege.