The basic progressive vision

The basic progressive vision is of community—of society as family, a caring, responsible family. We envision a world where people care about each other and themselves, and act responsibly with strength and effectiveness for each other.

Ideas that make us progressives                       

Values, principles, and policy directions are the things that unite progressives, crafted properly. The reason that they can unite us is that they stand conceptually above all the things that divide us.

What follows is a detailed explication of each of those unifying ideas.

  1. Values coming out of a basic progressive vision
  2. Principles that realize progressive values
  3. Policy directions that fit the values and principles
  4. A brief ten-word philosophy that encapsulates all the above

The logic of progressive values

The progressive core values are family values—those of the responsible, caring family.

Caring and responsibility, carried out with strength: These core values imply the full range of progressive values. Here are those progressive values, together with the logic that links them to the core values.

  • Protection, fulfillment in life, fairness. When you care about someone, you want them to be protected from harm, you want their dreams to come true, and you want them to be treated fairly.
  • Freedom, opportunity, prosperity. There is no fulfillment without freedom, no freedom without opportunity, and no opportunity without prosperity.
  • Community, service, cooperation. Children are shaped by their communities. Responsibility requires serving and helping to shape your community. That requires cooperation.
  • Trust, honesty, open communication. There is no cooperation without trust, no trust without honesty, and no cooperation without open communication.

Just as these values follow from caring and responsibility, so every other progressive value follows from these. Equality follows from fairness, empathy is part of caring, diversity is from empathy and equality.

Progressive principles

Progressives not only share these values, but also share political principles that arise from these values.

  • Equity. What citizens and the nation owe each other. If you work hard, play by the rules, and serve your family, community, and nation, then the nation should provide a decent standard of living, as well as freedom, security, and opportunity.
  • Equality. Do everything possible to guarantee political equality and avoid imbalances of political power.
  • Democracy. Maximize citizen participation; minimize concentrations of political, corporate, and media power. Maximize journalistic standards. Establish publicly financed elections. Invest in public education. Bring corporations under stakeholder control, not just stockholder control.
  • Government for a better future. Government does what our common future requires and what the private sector cannot do—or is not doing—effectively, ethically, or at all. It is the job of government promote and, if possible, provide sufficient protection, greater democracy, more freedom, a better environment, broader prosperity, better health, greater fulfillment in life, less violence, and the building and maintaining of public infrastructure.
  • Ethical business. Our values apply to business. In the course of making money by providing products and services, businesses should not adversely affect the public good, as defined by the above values.
  • Values- based foreign policy. The same values governing domestic policy should apply to foreign policy whenever possible.

Policy Directions                       

Given progressive values and principles, progressives can agree on basic policy directions. Policy directions are at a higher level than specific policies. Progressives divide on specific policy details while agreeing on directions. Here are some of the many policy directions they agree on.

The Economy. An economy centered on innovation that creates millions of good-paying jobs and provides every person a fair opportunity to prosper.

Security. Through military strength, strong diplomatic alliances, and wise foreign and domestic policy, every person will be safeguarded at home, and each nation’s role in the world will be strengthened by helping people around the world live better lives.

Health. Every person should have access to a state-of-the-art, affordable health care system.

Education. A vibrant, well-funded, and expanding public education system, with the highest standards for every child and school, where teachers nurture childrenʼs minds and often the children themselves, and where children are taught the truth about their nation—its wonders and its blemishes.

Early childhood. Every childʼs brain is shaped crucially by early experiences. We support high-quality early childhood education.

Environment. A clean, healthy, and safe environment for ourselves and our children: water you can drink and air you can breathe. Polluters pay for the damage they cause.

Nature. The natural wonders of our country are to be preserved for future generations.

Energy. We need to make a major investment in renewable energy, for the sake of millions of good-paying jobs, independence from oil monopolies, improvements in public health, preservation of our environment, and the effort to halt global warming.

Openness. An open, efficient, and fair government that tells the truth to our citizens and earns the trust of every person.

Equal rights. We support equal rights in every area involving race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.

Protections. We support keeping and extending protections for consumers, workers, retirees, and investors.

These and many other policy directions follow from our values and our principles.

Ten Word Philosophies

  • Stronger World
  • Broad Prosperity
  • Better Future
  • Effective Government
  • Mutual Responsibility

A Stronger World is not just about defense, but about every dimension of strength: our effectiveness in the world, our economy, our educational system, our health care system, our families, our communities, our environment, and so forth.

Broad Prosperity is the effect that markets are supposed to bring about. But all markets are constructed for someoneʼs benefit; no markets are completely free. Markets should be constructed for the broadest possible prosperity, and they havenʼt been.

People want and deserve a Better Future—economically, educationally, environmentally, and in all other areas of life—for themselves and their children. Lowering taxes, primarily for the super-rich elite, has had the effect of defunding programs that would make a better future possible in all these areas. The proper goal is a better future for all people.

Smaller government is, in conservative propaganda, supposed to eliminate waste. It is really about eliminating social programs. Effective Government (Develop) is what we need our government to accomplish to create a better future.

Progressives live by the best values of both families and communities: Mutual Responsibility, which is authoritative, equal, two-way, and based around caring, responsibility (both individual and social), and strength.

The remarkable thing is just how much progressives do agree on. These are just the things that voters tend to care about most: our values, our principles, and the direction in which we want to take the world.

I believe that progressive values are traditional human values, that progressive principles are fundamental human principles, and that progressive policy directions point the way to where most people really want our world to go. The job of unifying progressives is really the job of bringing our world together around its finest traditional values.

What divides progressives

Here are some of the common parameters that divide progressives from one another:

  • Local interests
  • Idealism versus pragmatism
  • Radical change versus moderate change
  • Militant versus moderate advocacy
  • Types of thought processes: socioeconomic, identity politics, environmentalist, civil libertarian, spiritual, and antiauthoritarian.

Programs are a major problem for attempts at unity. As soon as a program is made specific, the differences must be addressed. Progressives tend to talk about programs. But programs are not what most people want to know about. Most people want to know what you stand for, whether your values are their values, what your principles are, what direction you want to take the world in. In public discourse, values trump programs, principles trump programs, policy directions trump programs.

  • Articles (by members or linked from the web)
  • Ask the Community
  • Weekly Workgroup
  • In the News, Worthy of Note
  • Discussions
  • Feedback (from developing and promoting)
    • What can we learn from this effort?
    • Does this change the progressive worldview?
    • How can we express this better?
  • Real world explained
  • Partisan zone
    • I think we should endorse… because…
  • Suggestions, what should we learn
  • Video clips (check how Udacity works)
  • Video playlists
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  • Values
  • Frames
  • Discourse
  • How to contact media


Issues and Processes

The way we handle society, how we relate to reality and how the political process works is just as important as the values and issues we deal with.

Realizing the Progressive Vision