Extremism In Defense of Moderation Is No Virtue

House Ways and Means Committee hearing on March 10, 2023 in Washington, DC (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Imagine a high school with poor graduation rates, weak test scores, and a chaotic atmosphere as a result of having pushovers as teachers and administrators. 

You’d likely find poor ratings for the institution, even as individual faculty members remained popular with most students. Conversely, a school with strict, demanding instructors might win awards and see impressive college admissions for its graduates, even as students bemoan the taskmasters in the classrooms.

Now, what would happen if every teacher had to stand for reelection among their students after each school year? Grade inflation, little coursework, and light discipline would probably become the norms. The institution would decline in correlation to the fervor with which its members sought to keep their individual positions. 

And that’s the story of how America ended up with a Congress that hasn’t had a job approval rating above 40 percent in almost 20 years, but in the most recent elections saw 95 percent of House members and 100 percent of senators who sought reelection returned to office. 

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