Welcome to the NeoProgBlog.com
We're not "liberal" (a good word that's been turned into an expletive -- and who wants to nationalize the steel industry anymore anyway?) or "conservative" (another good word stolen by people who are not conservative at all). Nor are we necessarily "centrist" or "moderate" (which implies centrism or compromise on every issue; most issues require moderation and compromise but some demand unbending commitment to the moral position, and a wise person understands which are which).
Or, more accurately, we're all of those things, and more: liberal on human rights, the march of progress, the rule of law, the soundness of science, and the preservation of representative democracy; conservative about the public fisc, resource conservation, and the dangers of foreign military adventurism and the extension of imperial power; libertarian in our personal affairs, but committed to community and convinced that government can and should act (and act competently) in the community's interest whenever it can do so effectively; tolerant of others, appreciative of balance, centrist when centrism is wise, but unstinting and even extreme in the defense of basic democratic and human values when those values are under attack; idealistic without being naive.
A hundred years ago, we would have been called "progressives." But that word's been bastardized beyond recognition, used as a synonym for "liberal" (which is a fine word and should be able to stand on its own). Only political historians would really understand what we meant if we called ourselves simply "progressives."
So today I'm taking ownership, if not inventing, a new term: NeoProgressive. NeoProg.
Yes, neoprog already is a kind of music. It's also been used to describe a school of education theory in the 1960s and 1970s, and occasionally pops up as a derogatory on some neoconservative websites. But what I'm staking claim to, under this name, is a specific vision of postmodern political thought rooted ideologically and intellectually in the progressivism of the early 1900s, informed by humanity's subsequent experience and knowledge, expressly bipartisan (though it may realistically use party alliances to advance its nonpartisan agenda), and committed to resisting any efforts either to define it down as merely a kind of liberalism or to co-opt it for partisan purposes by partisan hacks. The word "neoprogressive" has been used before, just as the words "democrat" and "republican" were used long before those parties existed. But NeoProgressivism, so far as I can tell, is a new thing, as much as any new thing can be. What I hope we start building here isn't just neoprogressivism, but NeoProgressivism, an American NeoProgressive Movement, its platform and ideology.
The NeoProgressive Movement. Remember, you heard it here first.
As the blog unfolds, I hope to accomplish three things:
1. Develop a "neoprogressive manifesto" that explains systematically what neoprogressives believe;
2. Apply those principles to current events by linking to relevant news stories and discussing them from a neoprogressive perspective; and
3. Hopefully, ignite a new progressive movement in America that helps regular citizens recapture both parties from the wingnuts, Macchiavels, demagogues and cowards who currently lead them.
Let me amplify that last point. America doesn't need a third political party. Third parties never succeed; in fact, last century's progressive movement died precisely because Teddy Roosevelt sidetracked it into the Bull Moose party, which was soundly trounced at the polls and left the field open to one-sided liberals and conservatives who turned discourse into duality, with disastrous results.
Instead, we need to reestablish a progressive movement that includes both parties and leads them back into a constructive dialectic. If it works, we'll have two, ideologically distinct, political parties, in constructive tension with each other, in constant dialogue and even contentious dispute, but both respectful of the other, committed to fundamental American values, and focused on addressing the problems of the American people instead of simply winning against the other.
I'll grab my hammer and pound nails as often as I can to erect the framework of this site and this movement and give you things to chew on. The rest will be up to you, the readers who comment, challenge, amplify, brainstorm, etc. I'm hoping that, collaboratively, we can build a movement that redefines political discourse in America. And you're in at the beginning. Fun, huh?
Let's roll up our sleeves.
Nov. 10, 2005