Thursday, September 11, 2014


I have sometimes been accused of being a political centrist. I have some problems with this label, but before today it was the most accurate approximation of my views that I have come across. Today I read this piece by Elizabeth Bruenig with introduced me to the term “magenta” for people who cannot place themselves comfortably on either the Left or the Right.
This is to say, there are two ways to make magenta: you can arrange blue and red on a spectrum and ping the middle, or you can have a pot of red and a pot of blue and scoop out what you want from each and mix them. This will give you really different political results.
Of course I like the sound of the second option better. However, as someone who doesn’t go in much for political theory (I’m sure “magenta” has been a thing for much longer than a day!) I don’t really love the red / blue matrix at all. My interest in politics is really a side project to my interest in Christian ethics. So any label or position I might take in reference to contemporary political realities is a profoundly contingent, provisional declaration.
(I tend to get sucked into the whole thing when self-described Christians espouse political views that seem to me to directly contradict Christian ethics. For me this happens mostly on the Right, because it is closer to home. Also I tend to just disregard theological liberals, which perhaps limits the number of people I would describe as genuine Christians who lean too far Left.)
But provisional as it is, magenta feels a bit more comfortable to me than centrist. Perhaps it will be a useful term.

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