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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Reprise: A NeoProgressive Philosophy, Collated

(Photo: Republican President and Progressive, Teddy Roosevelt.)

The central goal of this blog is not to eliminate partisanship from American government. Quite the opposite: I believe that the "center" is best arrived at isometrically, with both sides pulling hard in separate directions. But even tug-of-war has rules, and that's what this blog seeks to do: to help identify the ground rules of American political society; to sketch out a deeply American way of viewing the world that's neither liberal nor conservative but outside those two categories. NeoProgressivism includes some basic, good-government "rules of war" within which the liberal and conservative camps -- and others who straddle those two, like Libertarians and Greens -- can do honorable, honest, and (most of all) constructive rather than destructive, battle. Picture it like this: the current debate between the parties is summarized by Hannity and Colmes; a truly NeoProgressive nation would debate like William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal did before the neocons took over Buckley's party.

That's straightforward enough as a concept -- but then I was forced to actually deliver something more when, on my other, proudly partisan, explicitly liberal blog, VichyDems, a reader asked a seemingly simple question: Can you point me to a site that outlines what a progressive agenda would look like? One that is left of where the dem party is now, but right of the Green party?

Putting all the pieces of a NeoProgressive philosophy together in one place wouldn't fit into a single post or essay -- it would be a book (which, someday soon, I intend to turn this blog into). But I was able to offer my reader two things, which I'm repeating here for you:

First, I was able to refer my reader to three books that lay out what I would consider to be a progressive-left agenda. These won't satisfy conservative neoprogs -- yes, I firmly believe that true conservatives can be Progressives -- but they still fall within the parameters of the broader Neoprogressive ideal rather than being extremist or radical. They are: James Carville's "We're Right, They're Wrong" (I know, Carville's fallen to the Dark Side lately, but this earlier book is a good, fairly short summary of basic liberal/progressive political philosophy, peppered with some good Cajun recipes); Jimmy Carter's "Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis"; and the late Sen. Paul Wellstone's "The Conscience of a Liberal: Reclaiming the Compassionate Agenda."

I also was able to compile a list of links to individual posts on this blog that, taken together, lay out what I consider to be a fairly good start on stating a workable NeoProgressive philosophy:

Welcome to the NeoProgBlog

On the Proper Role of Government in a Democratic Society

A Neoprogressive Approach to the Abortion Debate

The War on Christmas

Alito and the Slippery Slope to Totalitarianism

Can't Have DemocracyWithout Knowing the Facts

Watching the Watchers: A Good Journalist Keeps Digging...

Fans of Good Government: A Good Day

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now? (Iraq)

Mine Safety

But It's Just a SMALL Hole in the Dike, Right? (Economics and Foreign Trade)

Mind-Numbing Stuff About the Fed, Money Supply, M3, and the Possible End of the World As We Know It

Gozar's Coming Ho-ome! (A soldier comes home.)

Trustbusting in the Modern Era: Not?

Alito Clearly Opposes Roe v. Wade. Why Can't He Say So, And Let the Chips Fall Where They May?

A Tale of Two Nations

Tom Delay and the Ungrateful Gerrymander

Profiles in Cowardice

How To Fail in Government Without Really Trying

Science in the Vatican

How to Fail in Government, Mental Health Edition

Yet Another "Texas Model" Federal Education Program. Yikes.

In 2002, the White House Said It Didn't Need FISA Standards Lowered -- That Existing Law Was Just Fine, Thank You.

Things Change, But the Constitution Abides

"Checks and Balances. How Quaint!"

Now HERE'S What I'm Talkin' 'Bout: Pete McCloskey

Former Reagan Official on What's Conservative...

Links Resources: The Mishandling of Iraq

That's a lot, but it covers the waterfront, from journalism to fiscal responsibility to national security and supporting the troops to religion to economics to abortion. At least it gives an overview of how one Progressive thinks about these issues, and tries to put them into the context of basic American values. More to come, especially after the Democratic Presidential primary race is resolved and I can turn my attention from VichyDems back to here.

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