When it comes to politics, self-described Moderates consider it big insult to call someone an “extremist.” Unfortunately, the folks using this expression often do not know what they are saying.
Supposedly, we should have moderate political views. Moderates see themselves as mainstream or a member of the statistical norm. That is, Moderates pride themselves on having political views similar to those of our neighbors, but is that really desirable? Didn’t most people once consider slavery okay? What if we had been in Nazi Germany or living under a communist regime engaged in the systematic murder of tens of millions? In such a situation, what is the moderate view? Is it okay to be moderately approving of genocide?
Senator Barry Goldwater expressed this opinion about moderation.
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! (from here)
Moderation is a virtue, but it is only a virtue when temperance appropriate. When we express moderation as a virtue, we usually use the term temperance. Temperance is the counterpart of the sin of gluttony (see here).
We usually associate gluttony with eating to excess; however, gluttony “is the over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste” (from here). When we practice temperance, as opposed to gluttony, we practice good stewardship over what our Maker has given us. When we passionately love our Lord God and our neighbors, we attempt to make best use of our talents and our belongings. To successfully serve both God and man, we must exercise the self-control and discipline we associate with a great athlete.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (Today’s New International Version)
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
True temperance demands the unrestrained passion that some call extreme, the unrestrained love of both God and man.