The Centrist False Equivalence Myth

This rotting corpse of a myth about centrists has been making its way around blind zealot circles for a long time, but has gotten significantly worse of late – especially among the worst, ethically bankrupt elements on the left. It’s made up of two core premises, neither of which more than a small sliver of centrists believe:

  1. There are only two factions /sides in American politics today
  2. Those two are equally to blame for our nation’s political problems

Neither of these premises make any sense. There are far more than two factions – even inside of each of the two major party tents there are far more than two. Then, even if you somehow figured out some bizarre form of political calculus that would accurately and objectively quantify precisely how much blame is to be assigned to whom (not possible), then the likelihood of it being exactly the same is beyond remote, and certainly not something more than a small sliver of centrists believe.

Pointing out that both major parties are contributors to the disastrous political landscape we now live in is objectively true, regardless of opinion or whether one is a centrist, on the left, right or elsewhere on the political spectrum. Pointing out this fact doesn’t say anything about which you think is worse, nor are you required to point that out when you share it.

While some – mostly center-right / moderate conservatives – in the big centrist tent believe that Democrats, or the left more generally, are more to blame, most centrists (and virtually all on the center-left) agree that the current state of the GOP, and the right more generally, is worse than the left and contributes more to why the political landscape of today has sunk as low as it has. It’s quite rare that someone actually believes that both of these two groups are bad to the same level, and given that the concept of better/worse itself is inherently subjective, there is no way to objectively measure this – it mostly comes down to where you stand in relation to these different factions.


Centrist False Equivalence Requires an Actual Equivalence

Beyond the reality that it’s a sliver of a minority among centrists that genuinely think that there are only two sides and/or that they’re equally to blame, this myth doesn’t even pass the most simple of logical tests. Namely, for something to be a ‘false equivalence’, there first needs to be an equivalence to begin with.

Pointing out that two groups do a thing is, in no way, an equivalence. For it to be such, you would have to say that those two groups are doing said thing at the same level, to the same degree, etc. In the case at hand, it would mean that you’d have to say that the Dems & GOP or left & right were to blame equally – that they’ve done the same amount and level of damage to the country.

It’s a classic example of a logical fallacy – often grasping at straws, building straw men and using red herrings to distract from the fact that the tribe they blindly identify with is recognized by most as being corrupt and harmful to the country.


Stooping to Lying About Centrists vs Honest Debate

They could contribute to the marketplace of ideas and have an honest debate about ideas, but instead of recognizing this truth, and working to clean their own house, many would rather stoop to lying about what others say and attack them with manufactured talking points to distract from that fact that they’re a part of a group where corruption is endemic and tribalism is tearing away at the nation’s fabric.