Moderation: A Radical Virtue
Aurelian Craiutu and Sheldon Gellar offer closing arguments, reflecting on the question ‘why moderation?’ By examining the American political tradition, they claim that moderation is neither a panacea nor a substitute for pragmatic partisanship. Moderation does have significant advantages: it can promote a form of civic pragmatism capable of dealing with inequalities and justice; it enables us to balance and redress the imbalances in society; and it spans across religions and moral traditions. As such, it fosters dialogue, respect for others, toleration and solidarity. They conclude that moderation is a virtue which is simultaneously necessary (in light of the overwhelming historical experience and the fact that we have lived until recently in a world of extremes), limited and difficult to practice (because moderation requires judgement and lacks a precise algorithm or manual that could teach it to those willing to learn it). Moderation is, as Joseph Hall put it four centuries ago, ‘the silken string running through the pearl-chain of all virtues’.