moderate

Moderate is a word people use to describe political opinions that borrow a little from each of two other, conflicting opinions — or a person who holds such “moderate” opinions. If one person thinks all abortions should be legal and another person thinks no abortions should be legal, a “moderate” position might be that some abortions should be legal.

“Moderate” implies a careful consideration of the facts, a person who doesn’t want to do any more or less than necessary to solve a problem. People who hold different opinions — like people who want all or no abortions to be legal — are, to the “moderate,” being unnecessarily partisan.

This line of reasoning falls apart quickly.

The fact that two opposing opinions exist tells you nothing about the reasonableness of either one. Sometimes both “partisan” opinions are crazy (imagine if one political party wanted to burn down every church in the United States and the other wanted to burn down only Presbyterian churches), and sometimes one or the other is clearly, irredeemably wrong (like the people who thought slavery was okay).

Remember: There are more than two ways to think about almost everything. “Moderate” does not necessarily mean reasonable.