Sunday, July 10, 2005

A Progressive’s Manifesto

Every world view is built upon a set of shared beliefs, a common ground among a community. This manifesto is my attempt to begin to forge a new “common ground”, a new consensus in America. The liberal ideas that inspired my parents’ generation have now run their course, and today the Democratic party’s politics is, properly understood, reactionary and conservative–they only wish to preserve the advances they have made. The conservative movement that also began in the sixties, but culminated in the Reagan, Gingrich, and Bush revolutions much later, was created in opposition to the liberal ideas that dominated in the sixties. These ideas are fundamentally flawed as they never attempted to reconcile the justness and truth of their liberal antitheses. What is needed is a Third Way, one that unfortunately, Bill Clinton was never able to fully articulate during his presidency. This third way is appropriately labeled, “progressive”.

This is an attempt on my part to combine the best points of the American conservative and liberal movements into a single coherent vision.

I believe...

THAT each individual has a God-given right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, free from the hackles of unnecessary governmental or societal restraints.

THAT each individual has an equal right to satisfy their basic physical needs: to have food, to have shelter, to live in relative safety, and to have access to competent health care.

THAT moreover, each individual has a right to attain those skills that are needed to thrive in a modern economy; and further that providing quality education not only benefits each individual, but also is necessary for any contemporary society to compete.

THAT the free market is the best means of organizing an economy;
THAT global free trade is essential to worldwide progress;
THAT there must be minimal government interference in the markets; but that the government must enforce the “rules of capitalism” and police the market.

THAT the free market is the only economic model compatible with democracy and personal liberty.

THAT America’s relations with other nations must be both moral and pragmatic; but most of all, that America must be humble.
THAT we must never forsake our founding ideals: of democracy, liberty, and equality.

THAT America’s unprecedented power in the world presents a moral quandary, as a government accountable merely to five percent of the global population has direct or indirect control over the lives of every human being;
THAT because of this quandary, America has a responsibility to use its power and vast resources to benefit the rest of the world as well as its own citizens.

THAT there is a collective wisdom to the actions of a healthy society;
THAT a healthy society can only exist where:
high quality education is universally available,
all individuals are equal before the law,
industry only uses sustainable environmental and other practices,
nothing impedes the free flow of information,
poverty has been eliminated,
and where each individual can rise as far as their talents can take them.

THAT the best government is as local as possible, as little as possible.
BUT THAT government can be a powerful force for good in society; and more, that it is our duty to push the government to be a force for the good.

THAT it is morally imperative that we try to end such pernicious evils as poverty and terrorism, even as these problems defy any easy solution.

THAT our politics need not be pure, that our ideas need not be perfect, that our politicians need not be saints, but that always, as we strive to do good and avoid evil, we are honest and humble, pragmatic yet idealistic.



(this is just a rough draft; it lacks poetry, proofreading, and unity, but otherwise, it seems ok--i'll update it periodically...)

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