This week’s leader in The Economist has me almost jumping up and down with joy, such is my enthusiastic approval. I am heartily sick of the childish name-calling that the political Left and Right indulge in, never more so than in the 2008 and present US Presidential campaigns. The divide (perhaps it is mutual incomprehension? or is it just rhetorical opportunism?) goes deeper than that, of course, but the current campaign and surrounding political climate throw it into stark relief.
“At the core, there is a failure of ideas. The right is still not convinced that inequality matters. The left’s default position is to raise income-tax rates for the wealthy and to increase spending still further—unwise when sluggish economies need to attract entrepreneurs and when governments, already far bigger than Roosevelt or Lloyd George could have imagined, are overburdened with promises of future largesse. A far more dramatic rethink is needed: call it True Progressivism.”
When I first became a regular reader of The Economist, some seven years ago, it was because I picked up a copy on a whim and was instantly bowled over by the pragmatic, decent, intelligent tone of the positions taken and how they were expressed. Since then, The Economist has certainly fallen short of that high mark for me several times. This week’s leader, though, is a hell of a return to form, the newspaper at its best.
And, of course, I’m not just admiring the rhetorical style, but heartily endorsing the position taken. As a species, we need political philosophies that rationally understand and take the best of both the social and selfish (competitive) sides of our human nature. We can do much better than to be one-sided extremists, and to portray opponents in the same light. So, if anyone feels like forming a “True Progressive Party”, then please count me in!