Monday, January 09, 2012

Tebow, Goldwater, and moderation

You’ve heard the expression “all things in moderation...”

And someone saying  “That was ‘over the top’” when they are critical of another’s emotion?

“All things in moderation” is a familiar and right sounding truism for life, right?  Bull pucky!  It’s really rather stupid when you think about what it really is saying.  “All things” presumes that everything is equally good and fulfilling.  And that nothing is worth actions or emotion beyond moderation.  That sounds rather lukewarm and milk-toastish to me.

In reality some things are absolutely worth avoiding at all cost.  Death and murder are good to avoid.  We aren’t encouraged to murder in moderation.  So, obviously, "all things in moderation" cannot be taken literally.  And “moderation.”  There are many things that are worth doing well beyond “in moderation.”    Can you imagine a great musician practicing in moderation?  Or a football coach urging his team to “go out there, but whatever you do, go out in moderation!”  And he better say that without sounding “over the top.”

A more valuable motto would be "moderation in things worth doing; and energy and great enthusiasm in doing things that are most worthwhile." 

Tim Tebow is mocked for being “over the top” with his prayer of thanks after games.  Really, too much prayer?  At the wrong place and time?  I don’t know how that is really possible. 

I can think of a number of things I would be “over the top” about:  defending my family, defending my neighbors and my country, and blogging.

“Over the top” is used in the same manner as racist, homophobe, and bigot.  These expressions are thoughtlessly used against anyone with whom you disagree.

Barry Goldwater was a victim of the cult of moderation when he was condemned for saying: 

“I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

I really liked Barry Goldwater.  And Tim Tebow is right there with him.

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