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Idealism Without Illusions




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"Mark Satin's . . . concise commentary, mixed with several parts idealism, a good dose of realism, a touch of spirituality, and always heaps of common sense, is a welcome tonic in today's polarized political climate"
 -- Carter Phipps, What Is Enlightenment? magazine, June-August 2005

Radical Middle Archive:
Tracking the Creative Center

This Archive consists of articles from Radical Middle Newsletter since January, 2005 -- in other words, since we became an exclusively online newsletter & free to all.

Articles from the printed newsletter (January 1999 - December 2004) are now freely available HERE.

An overview of our book Radical Middle: The Politics We Need Now (Basic Books, 2004) is HERE.

Articles from New Options Newsletter (1984 - 1992), which took a more long-term (aka "idealistic") approach to the same fundamental issues dealt with in Radical Middle Newsletter, can be found HERE.

And an introduction to the New World Alliance (1979 - 1983), arguably the first national  radical-centrist / transformational political organization in the U.S., can be found HERE.


Your Editor Says Goodbye
June 2009
. . . after 10 years and 120 issues, oh my.

Zakaria’s Humanistic Pragmatism Meets Hartzok’s Visionary Idealism
May 2009
For many people, Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria’s The Post-American World goes as far as a “responsible” commentator can go in imagining a better world.  But for economist and grassroots global activist Alanna Hartzok, writing from her eco-homestead in south-central Pennsylvania, Zakaria doesn’t go nearly far enough; and in her book The Earth Belongs to Everyone, she outlines the positive, “highest values of right and left” agenda that the global justice movement has long needed.

Kleiner’s Good Corporate Guys Meet Yamada’s Good Corporate Laws
April 2009
According to former Whole Earth Review editor Art Kleiner’s celebratory manifesto The Age of Heretics, “heretical” corporate managers and consultants have done more than anyone or anything to make businesses more humane.  Whatever, says labor law prof. David Yamada in an important new law review article.  Workers need “dignitarian” employment laws to retain their humanity, and to keep their employers focused on everyone’s long-term interests.

AmericaSpeaks’s Wise Democracy Meets Chickering & Turner’s Transpartisan Movement
March 2009
A report from AmericaSpeaks and other activist groups recently urged the White House to educate and then empower a million or more citizens to work with government in formulating public policies.  A pipe dream?  Not at all, suggest conservative Lawry Chickering and liberal Jim Turner in their important new manifesto, Voice of the People: The Transpartisan Imperative in American Life.  It’s one of many ways in which our democracy might become less “mechanistic” and more “organic.”  But we’ll need a transpartisan movement first. .
 . .
Rothkopf’s Institutional Power Meets Shirky’s Internet Power
February 2009
David Rothkopf, a member in good standing of the global elite, concludes that poor and ordinary people need global institutions of their own (in Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making).  But Internet maven Clay Shirky makes the case that our new forms of “social communication” are increasingly enabling us to challenge and improve all institutions (in Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations).  Is there common ground here?

Revesz’s Numbers-Crunching Meets Hamilton’s Meta-Frameworking
January 2009
In their new book Retaking Rationality, regulatory law prof. Richard Revesz and environmentalist Michael Livermore excoriate activists for failing to master the skills of cost-benefit analysis.  It’s how laws and regulations get made!, they say.  Meanwhile, in her new book Integral City, activist and “integral thinker” Marilyn Hamilton argues that you can’t understand (let alone constructively change) any system without mastering the skills of “meta-frameworking.”  Could both texts be right?


Reinventing the Law?: A Multilogue
December 2008
Our article about reinventing the U.S. legal system via Therapeutic Jurisprudence (immediately below) generated so many emails that I ended up arranging some of them into this follow-up “multilogue.”  A number of  lawyers and law professors were critical of our approach, so I added a little response at the end.  

Healing First!: Time for the U.S. Justice System to Get Less Mechanistic and More Compassionate
October / November 2008 (double issue)
The U.S. legal system is often described as Noble and Indispensable -- especially by lawyers.  But many good people beg to differ, lawyers among them.  An exciting new radical-middle movement called Therapeutic Jurisprudence could transform the legal system at its core, if only its leaders – law professor David Wexler first among them – had the courage of their convictions.

Is “Democracy” What the World Needs Now?
September 2008
Stanford professor Larry Diamond’s The Spirit of Democracy may be the most important book on international relations published this year.  In impressive detail, Diamond tells us how to spread democracy abroad in the least coercive and most cost-effective manner.  His strategy is the exact opposite of our strategy in Iraq, and it might work.  But how benign is it, really?  And is U.S.-style democracy what the world needs now, or is it something deeper and wiser that’s struggling to be born?

Listen, Centrist!  The Bible Is Contested Meta-Political Ground
August 2008
Over 70 of you sent fiery and thoughtful emails to this newsletter in response to my article “The Bible Is Our One Essential Political Book” (immediately below), and I wove some of them into a follow-up article here.  It is an article, not a mere collection of responses.  It is an attempt to capture & shape our many-sided, “radical middle,” collective wisdom on this issue.  And our wisdom turns out to be anguished, raw, and deep.

The Bible (?!?!) Is Our One Essential Political Book
June / July 2008 (double issue)
Many Americans have been eagerly turning to the Bible for the last two decades – and no, it’s not a right-wing plot.  When read in a depthful and holistic way, the Bible is our one essential political book.  This article introduces you to many of those who are pioneering depthful and holistic readings of the Bible, and who are using the Bible to inspire dialogue about our values and to transcend debilitating left-right divides.

What the Poor Need Now . . . Is Barefoot Coaching?
May 2008
In response to our article calling for “barefoot coaches” for America’s poor (immediately below), we received a deluge of emails and letters. And what responses! Some are just, well, altogether too nice. But some explore and deepen our proposal profoundly. And others take issue with it from perspectives ranging from compassionate-conservative to liberal to radical. We share them here for your edification and enjoyment.

What the Poor Need Now
March / April 2008 (double issue)
The capabilities of the poor are not as great as we imagine. If we want to truly help the poor, then we’re going to have to coach them one on one, as an act of love, via a national service program.

Could Common Ground on Capitalism (and Globalization) Be at Hand?
February 2008
When the 21st century began, analysts couldn’t have been further apart in their assessments of capitalism (and globalization). Righteous rhetoric still abounds -- but beneath the rhetoric, there’s an increasing amount of common ground. Just look at six key texts from 2007, by authors as diverse as global-justice crusader Naomi Klein and business school professor William Baumol. 

Participants Agonize Over (and Draw Lessons From) the Death and Life of the First Transpartisan Political Organization
January 2008
Before Reuniting America, before Unity08, before the New America Foundation and the Breakthrough Institute, was the New World Alliance (1979-83, RIP). We're not going to get it right in our own time if we can't figure out why the Alliance -- full of great people and healing, cutting-edge ideas -- fell flat.


There Is a Radical Middle in Congress, and Its Stars Are Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ)
December 2007
This month we polled 21 leading radical centrist thinkers and activists to determine the “Best Radical Middle or Post-Partisan Members of Congress.” They not only pinpointed Sen. Snowe and Rep. Holt, they threw the spotlight on 19 other members of Congress who are trying to promote creative and post-partisan new ideas. What will it take to make the Congressional radical-middle more visible and effective?

State of Our Vision, 2008
November 2007
Four major books about U.S. political vision have recently hit the stands. Matt Bai shows that liberal Democrats have no vision (The Argument); Todd Gitlin offers a concrete but far too timid vision (The Bulldozer and the Big Tent); Paul Hawken portrays a “bold” but fuzzy and cloying vision (Blessed Unrest); and Ted Nordhaus & Michael Shellenberger offer a bold and concrete vision (Break Through), one that would drag activists from the “politics of limits” to the “politics of possibility.”

Is There an Invisible and Exceptionally Life-Loving Political Movement in Our Midst?
October 2007
Well, no. But Paul Hawken’s claim that there is -- in Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming (2007) -- is important and worth exploring. And refuting.

We Can Respond Effectively to Terrorism -- But Only if All Our Insights Are Made to Count
September 2007
Politicians, policy analysts, and pundits remain deeply divided over how to respond to the looming terrorist threat, and no wonder. Each of us -- from Republicans to Greens, from evangelicals to New Agers -- is expressing part of the truth about terrorism. If we honored everyone’s views, we could come up with a holistic and effective strategy. Can we learn to be humble (= inclusive) before it’s too late?

Post-Partisan!: The First Uniquely American Political Ideology Is Being Born
August 2007
This summer's "Ceasefire!: Bridging the Political Divide” conference in Los Angeles (starring Michael Bloomberg & Arnold Schwarzenegger) ratified what some of us have known for quite some time: a uniquely American political ideology is arising. Its champions listen to all -- learn from all -- and strive to combine creativity with practicality. Its agenda is under construction just in time to affect the 2008 Presidential election.

Liberal vs. Conservative vs. Holistic Immigration Reform
July 2007
Once again, the Senate failed to produce a competent immigration reform bill. The problem was that Senators had been hammering out “compromises” with each other and with over 300 groups ranging from far left to far right. What we need isn’t compromise on positions, but respect for everyone’s deepest interests in the immigration debate -- and options that would allow for mutual gain. They’re easy to find once you look!

Re-inventing American History: When Narratives Collide, Compromise Is Not the Answer
June 2007
The political left loves Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the U.S.; the political right loves Larry Schweikart’s Patriot’s History.  But the books could be about different countries!  What is a whole human being to do?  Fortunately, new approaches to U.S. history are gaining traction.  Narratives are being built around ecology (Ted Steinberg), citizenship (Michael Schudson), freedom (Eric Foner), our connection to the world (Thomas Bender), and even our guiding visions (Zachary Karabell).

Safety and Love First: The Politics of Children’s Literature
May 2007
U.S. children’s books have spent the last 20 years celebrating “diversity," and that's fine so far as it goes.  But if we want to produce good citizens and activists, then something may be more important: addressing young people's needs for safety, love, and belonging.  The great children’s book author Barbara McClintock does this, which is why she’s one of the most significant political authors of our time.

The One-State Solution for Israel-Palestine Is the Most Visionary AND the Most Sensible
April 2007
Under the radar, increasing numbers of Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans are saying that the two-state solution for Israel-Palestine is unworkable, and that a sensibly designed “one-state” solution could induce all parties to the conflict to finally grow up, accept each other’s rights and needs, and create a 21st century civilization together.

Politicians, Pundits, and Activists Are Having a Culture War. The Rest of Us Are Nuanced or Ambivalent and Looking for New Directions
March 2007
Read the newspapers and the political Web sites and you’ll be convinced we’re in the middle of a culture war. But talk with ordinary people and you’ll soon realize that the vast majority of us are nuanced or ambivalent and open to healing new directions. So says political scientist Morris Fiorina in a greatly expanded new edition of his book Culture War?, and so says sociologist Wayne Baker in his brilliant paper “Purple America.”

Are the Best Conservative Thinkers Becoming Radical Middle?
February 2007
Most radical-middle thinkers and activists are refugees from the left. But with the collapse of “small-government” conservatism and the incoherence of the Bush agenda, some innovative conservative thinkers and activists (many of them Gen-X or -Y) are beginning to sound more radical-middle than Republican. One giant step for the integral radical-middle project!

The Human Qualities We Need Now
January 2007
Prominent social scientists like Alan Wolfe and Ronald Dworkin are blaming the decline of our democracy on the ignorance and self-centeredness of the American people. But their proposed solutions (better schooling, etc.) lack depth. So we turned to the recently chosen “best novels” of the last 25 years -- Toni Morrison’s Beloved and J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace -- to see if they could give us a sense of the human qualities we need now . . . and we found that they do.


Dear Congressman Rangel: Yes, Let’s Bring Back the Draft -- But a Better One than Yours!
December 15, 2006
When Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) proposed re-introducing his restore-the-draft bill last month, Democrats tripped over themselves running away from it. Our political "leaders" should have tried improving Rangel's bill instead -- giving it a better rationale, giving draftees a choice over HOW they’d serve, and eliminating all loopholes to make the draft truly universal. Even this Vietnam-era war resister would support that kind of draft.

Coming to Grips with Our Badness
December 1, 2006
Too often, those of us who reject the hard left end up downplaying or excusing America’s bad deeds in the world. In his new book Overthrow, journalist Stephen Kinzer urges us to look clearly at our misbehavior. He also shows we can change it more readily than hard leftists like Noam Chomsky are willing to admit.

Building the Commons: How to Improve Capitalism Without Changing the Profit Motive or Human Nature
November 15, 2006
Hard-core socialists and extreme economic decentralists may still be peddling their wares. But there’s an emerging new way to improve capitalism that would do more for future generations, the environment, and individual Americans than extreme solutions ever could. Businessman and former Newsweek correspondent Peter Barnes has just written its first manifesto -- Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons.

Barack Obama: First Radical Middle Presidential Candidate?
November 1, 2006
During the run-up to yet another shrill and intellectually shallow national election (November 7), Illinois Senator Barack Obama’s new book The Audacity of Hope stood out like a sore thumb. Here’s why.

Toward a Foreign Policy That Preserves the (Best of the) American Way of Life!
October 15, 2006
The Iraq War has inspired a renaissance in foreign policy thinking. Lieven and Hulsman have proposed an approach at once pragmatic and moral (see October 1 below); by contrast, Radical Center co-author Michael Lind is proposing an unabashedly self-interested approach designed “to defend the American way of life by means that do not endanger the American way of life.” Psst: it would defend much else as well.

“Ethical Realism”: The Foreign Policy We Need Now
October 1, 2006
We don’t have to choose between interventionism and neo-isolationism. At last, two young foreign policy analysts (one from the left, one from the right) have produced the first truly radical-centrist foreign policy manifesto -- Anatol Lieven & John Hulsman, Ethical Realism. Passionately written and admirably systemic, it tells how the U.S. could contribute mightily to a world that works for everyone.

Coming to Your Television Screens Soon (well, December 29)
October 2006
This month I am prepping and being taped -- in two distant cities -- for a History Channel show about different people’s responses to the Vietnam-era draft. (I emigrated to Canada & helped start the Toronto Anti-Draft Programme; see my reminiscence HERE.)  The show will be one part of History Channel's 13-part series "Our Generation," which premieres this month with a show on the Kent State shootings.  The show on the draft will be aired December 29 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.  Thanks to HC's wonderful producers John Mounier and Emily Yacus, the idea behind the series couldn't be more radical middle -- bringing people from many points of view together to talk (not scream) about their differences, commonalities, and learnings.

Let’s Worry Less About Getting God Out of Our Institutions, and More About Getting Values Into Them
September 15, 2006
In his recent book Divided by God, law prof. Noah Feldman urges secularists and evangelicals to try for a Grand Compromise on church-state issues. It’s a great book but the solution's too mushy-middle and top-down. Why not engage in a Grand Endeavor instead: BREAK DOWN THE DIFFERENCES between secularists and evangelicals by identifying shared values rooted in religion and spirit and love of life.

Repairing American Democracy: Changing the Rules Is Not Enough!
September 1, 2006
Activist Steven Hill’s new book 10 Steps to Repair American Democracy is thoughtful and passionate.  He'd change the rules to support universal voter registration, instant runoff voting, direct election of the President, etc. But changing the rules is not enough. We also need savvier citizens (“Socratic citizenship”) and more engaged citizens (“deliberative democracy”).

Reuniting America: An Exchange Among Transpartisans
Summer 2006
Our cautionary article about the Reuniting America organization (August 15, 2006 below) provoked a lengthy response from the leadership of Reuniting America, and a reply from our editor. If you’re thinking about launching or otherwise participating in a “transpartisan” political group, this exchange is for you.

First “Transpartisan” Political Organization Prepares for Liftoff
August 15, 2006
When we covered the first “Democracy in America” conference back in 2004, we dreamed its participants might someday set up an innovative national political organization. But Joseph McCormick did more than dream: he made the “Reuniting America” organization happen. Now he has 10 humongous  issues to confront. [For Reuniting America's reply to this article, click HERE.]

What Can We Learn from the Antiglobalists?
August 1, 2006
The hottest radical political book these days is The Great Turning, by one of our most prominent so-called “antiglobalists,” David Korten.  It is bold, provocative, and eloquent. What does it have to teach those of us at the radical middle?  Not what it thinks it does.  [See also "Credo of a Chastened Idealist," AmbivaBlog's thoughtful & enthusiastic endorsement of this article.]

Rx for Black America: Stop “Therapeutic Alienation” Now!
July 15, 2006
Despite what Americans may say in public, fewer and fewer of us believe that “white racism” explains most of the problems in black America today. In his new book Winning the Race, John McWhorter offers a plausible new primary explanation -- the appeal of “therapeutic alienation” as lifestyle and worldview. He even offers some solutions.

International Crisis Group: Get Your Solutions Here!
July 1, 2006
Today’s most memorable organizations are turning out to be pragmatic and visionary and SOLUTIONS-ORIENTED, and International Crisis Group -- which recently celebrated its 10th birthday -- may be Exhibit #A in that regard.  It sends bright young people into hotspots around the world to help it come up with “practical and imaginative” solutions, then promotes those solutions to policymakers and opinion-shapers -- some of whom appear to be listening.

Downsize the Pollster-Consultant Industrial Complex!
June 15, 2006
Pollsters and political consultants are emptying the democratic, dialogic political process of much of its content, says Joe Klein (author of Newsweek’s 1995 cover story “Stalking the Radical Middle”). And politicians are happily going along for the ride. In Politics Lost, Klein passionately calls for politicians who would rely less on hired help and more on their own capacities for truth-telling, vision, and courage.

Unity08: The Most Promising Political Initiative of Our Time!
June 1, 2006
If all goes well, "up to 20 million Americans" will take part in an online political convention in mid-2008 (after both major parties have pretty much decided on their nominees). The goal: to come up with a Presidential ticket of one Democrat and one Republican, then win the election by seriously addressing the real issues of our time. The secret weapon: the key people behind Unity08.  They are experienced, well-connected, hyper-motivated, and decent.

An American Camus Is Alive and Well, and Living in Brooklyn
May 15, 2006
At midcentury, Albert Camus helped France come to grips with its deepest moral, philosophical, and political issues. Where is the American Camus, now that we desperately need one? He is alive and well and living in a walk-up apartment in Brooklyn. His name is Paul Berman, and his latest text -- Power and the Idealists -- puts us all on the hook. Just as Camus might have done.

Mediator-Leaders: The Leadership We Need Now?
May 1, 2006
As this country slowly comes apart at the seams, many of us long for the days of “strong” contentious leaders like LBJ and Jack Welch. Wrong move!, says a new generation of conflict resolution specialists and management consultants. In a grand manifesto published last month by Harvard Business School Press, mediator Mark Gerzon says what we really need now are Mediator-leaders, in politics, business, everywhere.

Just Give Them the Money!: How to End Poverty while Reaching Out to Left and Right
April 15, 2006
Everyone is appalled that we still have tens of millions of poor & struggling people in this country; no one seems to have a viable solution (that wouldn’t bust the bank). Enter Charles Murray with a Plan intended to “extend a hand across the political divide between libertarians and social democrats.” It would give up to $10,000 a year to each of us, provide for our health care & retirement, and save money in the not-so-long run. Quick, where are the activists? Where are the politicians?

Zadie Smith’s On Beauty: First Great Radical Middle Political Novel
April 1, 2006
Thirty-year-old Zadie Smith’s cultural-political novel On Beauty garnered rave reviews from literary critics and made the New York Times’s “10 Best Books of 2005” list. But it’s been largely ignored by critics on the far left and far right, and no wonder -- it’s our first great “radical middle” political novel.

From Material Want to Happiness-, Purpose-, and Meaning-Want: Time for a New Political Discourse!
March 15, 2006
Politicians of all stripes are crying that we're hurting, and George Lakoff wants the Democrats to whine even louder than the Republicans (see Jan. 15 article below). What bunk, says Gregg Easterbrook in his book The Progress Paradox. It’s time we acknowledged that most of us have met our genuine material needs, and that social change today means addressing our needs for happiness, purpose, and meaning.

Neo-Conservatism, Neo-Isolationism -- or Global Community?
March 1, 2006
Last month a prominent neo-conservative, Francis Fukuyama, renounced neo-conservatism and called for some big “new ideas” in foreign policy. Amidst all the commotion, few people noted that versions of those ideas have been bandied about by activists since the 1970s, and were recently beautifully developed by Amitai Etzioni in his book From Empire to Community.

“Rankism” (the Abuse of Rank) -- Last Big Barrier to a Just and Decent Society?
February 15, 2006
We’re doing away with racism and sexism. But according to former Oberlin College president Robert Fuller, the biggest barrier of all, rank abuse -- “rankism” -- still lies ahead, poisoning our minds and increasingly corrupting our interpersonal and political behaviors. If the right emphasizes liberty and the left equality, should the radical middle emphasize dignity?

Moving Through Here
February 1, 2006
There was no article from me February 1, as I was in the process of moving from Washington DC to the San Francisco Bay Area.  Primarily I moved  to be near my now 85-year-old father (star of our article "The Politics of Literature 101: Did Father Know Best?").  But I also think it's wise to limit one's stays in Washington DC to under 10 years.

The Democrats’ “New Bible” Will Raise Us-Against-Them to an Art Form
January 15, 2006
George Lakoff’s book Don’t Think of an Elephant! has been hailed by left-leaning Democratic politicians and activists as their “New Bible.” It is about as different from my book Radical Middle as could be imagined. While I argue that activists should listen to and learn from everyone, and create a fresh new political force thereby, Lakoff argues that progressives need to find a language that will win others over to their “side.”

The Radical Middle Take on Iraq
January 1, 2006
Radical middle activists are global citizens, and global citizens are obliged to help other peoples get rid of tyrants and establish self-rule. Could we have done that in Iraq? According to George Packer’s magnificent book The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq, we couldha’, shouldha’, wouldha’; but we made too many mistakes along the way.


December 15, 2005
No articles are posted June 15 or December 15.

To Balance the Federal Budget, Build a Better Society!
December 1, 2005
When it comes to our soaring budget deficits -- now $400 billion a year and rising -- most of us just bury our heads in the sand (and pray that our grandchildren will forgive us). But radical middle policy analysts have discovered something: To balance the federal budget, all we really need to do is build a fair and sustainable society.

These Are Our Enemies?
November 15, 2005
Al Qaeda may be our most visible enemy. But to hear many politicians and journalists tell it, the three great rising nations -- China, India, and Brazil -- are our biggest long-term threats. What nonsense! Through judicious use of “soft power,” we can turn all three into genuine partners.

Remembering the Questions
November 1, 2005
Rosa Parks, dead at 92. This one's for you, Rosa.
Neither left nor right nor center is offering the bold political answers we need now.  Maybe it’s time to stand back, take a deep breath, and remember the questions we were asking in the 10 years after the Montgomery Bus Boycott, when the social change movement was still young.

What the U.S. Needs Now: Futuring!!! (But Not Top-Down Planning)
October 15, 2005
This century, our two biggest blunders -- Iraq and Katrina -- have been failures of planning. But many Democrats are still wedded to command-and-control (ugh), and many Republicans are still averse to the very idea of planning. Enter the World Future Society’s Edward Cornish with his new book Futuring, arguably the most important practical political book of our time.

The Katrina Dialogues
October 1, 2005
Incessantly, politicians, thinkers and activists have been talking AT each other about Katrina; as a result, we're deeply divided.  In this article I bring some of our leading thinkers & doers to an imaginary roundtable and make them listen to and learn from one another (using their actually expressed views). Moral: With a little bit of give and take and a lot of vision, WE CAN SOLVE the problems Katrina revealed.

Conference Offers Fresh and Compelling New Views on Terrorism
September 15, 2005
What do you do, where do you go, if you think terrorism is a clear and present danger but can't buy into the Bush Administration's way of dealing with it?  I tried the big terrorism conference September 6-7 in Washington DC, and -- to my surprise and delight -- managed to glean from it a 12-Point Plan for Combating Terrorism and Becoming More Understanding, More Humane, and More Effective in the Process.

Mushy Middle? No Way! A Twelve-Point Creative-Centrist Agenda
September 1, 2005
The knock on centrists is that we're mushy and unprincipled.  But with all the wonderful radical middle writings & conferences out there now, it's easy to come up with an agenda that's every bit as compelling and principled as, say, the old Black Panther 10-Point Plan.

Katrina's Two-Part Message
August 15, 2005
A 100-word editorial

Beach Reading Special: Ten Best American Political Novels, 1945 - 2000
August 1, 2005
Although many Americans are going to the beach this summer with trendy political novels like I Am Charlotte Simmons, social change agents might prefer drawing from this list of the 10 best political novels of our time.

Open-Minded and Open-Ended: A Real Policy Conference Comes to Washington DC
July 15, 2005
Don't be put off by the ponderous title.  The "National Policy Forum on America's Economic Future" was the real deal: An open-minded and open-ended policy conference that brought the entire political spectrum together to eke out practical, "radical centrist" solutions to our most pressing problems.  Too bad the most visionary radical centrist proposals were kept under the rug.

"Take Back America" -- or All Together Now, America?
July 1, 2005
The "Take Back America" conference, a Very Important National Gathering of mainstream lefties in Washington DC in early June, was so self-righteous and superficial that I found myself asking: How could I have been sold on the left for so long?  What did I ever find useful there and what's lastingly useful there that radical middle thinkers need to integrate into their emerging new approach to social change?

June 15, 2005
No articles are posted June 15 or December 15.

Don Beck's Spiral Dynamics Confab: Political Evolution Now!
June 1, 2005
While my Washington DC friends were concerning themselves with the political flotsam of the day, I flew out to the Spiral Dynamics Confab near Dallas TX, where educators, consultants, business people, and activists from around the world were busily constructing an innovative evolutionary / developmental approach to politics.

Robert Wright’s Gloom-Defying Book Nonzero: Are We Ambling Toward a Win-Win World?
May 15, 2005
Between the war on terrorism, the near-death of New Orleans, and our soaring budget deficits, this isn’t the happiest Holiday season on record. But according to philosopher Robert Wright, our crises are forcing us to evolve -- more rapidly than we otherwise might -- toward greater interdependence and heightened consciousness.

Kofi Annan's U.N. Reform Proposal: First Great Radical Middle Political Document?
May 1, 2005
Kofi Annan's U.N. reform package may be too visionary for conservatives, too pragmatic for antiglobalists, and too positive for the scandal-obsessed media.  In fact, the Annan Report may be the first great radical middle political document.  But is anybody listening?

The Radical Middle Is More than a Politics -- It Is Also a Psychology Whose Texts Leave Most of Today's Self-Help Books In the Dust
April 15. 2005
Conservative self-help books encourage us to manipulate people, or to become more "spiritual."  Liberal self-help books encourage us to see ourselves as innocent victims.  Robert Karen and Terrence Real have written self-help books that celebrate honesty and connection, ambivalence and complexity.  Their work lays the psychological foundation for a radical middle politics.

Three Great Activist Role Models
April 1, 2005
Civil rights leader John Lewis, feminist movement co-founder Betty Friedan, and communitarian movement founder Amitai Etzioni -- all Bad Guys to many on the left and right -- have written memoirs that are "radical middle" to the core.  Here are 10 things these imperfect but thoroughly wonderful humans have in common . . . and that we all might want to imitate or learn from.

Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat: Where's the Depth?
March 15, 2005
The New York Times correspondent's bestselling book may convince you that the world is becoming more transparent and interconnected by the minute.  But do we really want to live there?  Only if we build in key ideas from Amy Chua (World on Fire), Michael Hardt (Multitude), and Walter Truett Anderson (The Next Enlightenment).

Christie Whitman's It's My Party Too: Reveille for "Radical Moderates"
March 1, 2005
Governor Whitman's new book has been viciously attacked by the far left and far right, and no wonder: It lays a firm, just, and thoroughly admirable foundation that all of us can build on in the years ahead.  And, psst, the term "radical moderates" is hers.  (And she's a feminist, too.)

Coherent "Radical Middle" Agenda Emerges at New America Foundation Conference
February 15, 2005

The radical middle is becoming increasingly bold and coherent and compelling in its message.  That's a conclusion you'd have surely reached if you'd have attended -- as I did -- the spectacular "Real State of the Union" conference sponsored by The Atlantic and the New America Foundation.

The Politics of Literature 101: Did Father Know Best?
February 1, 2005

Mark Satin was unimpressed when his father edited a painfully un-hip college literature anthology four decades ago.  But after examining  today's super-hip best-selling college lit anthology, he's singing a different tune: Where is '50s depth now that we need it?

John English's Novel The Shift: Centrist ("Centrust") Party Rising
January 15, 2005
It has shamans.  It has characters based on John McCain and Christie Whitman.  It has heroes based on folks like you and me.  It is the first novel about the rise of a radical middle political party, and I welcome it with more or less open arms.

Critique of Pure Blogging
January 1, 2005

Just how helpful are political blogs, anyway?




WHY "Radical Middle"?


50 Thinkers and Activists DESCRIBE the Radical Middle 

50 Best Radical Middle BOOKS of the '00s


100 Great Radical Centrist GROUPS and  Organizations

25 Great Radical Centrist BLOGS


Generational Equity and Communitarian platforms 1990s

First U.S. Green Party gatherings, 1987 - 1990

Green Party's "Ten Key Values" statement, 1984

New World Alliance, 1979 - 1983

PDF of  the Alliance's "Transformation Platform," 1981


What the Draft Resistance Movement Taught Me

What the Civil Rights Movement Taught Me


New Options Newsletter, 1984-1992 (includes back issue PDFs!)

New Age Politics: Healing Self and Society, 1976,  1978 (includes 1976 text PDF!)


50 Best "Third Way" Books of the 1990s

25 Best "Transformational" Books of the 1980s

25 Best "New Age Politics" Books of the 1970s


10 Best U.S. Political NOVELS

50 Current Political IDEOLOGIES

50 Current Political  MANIFESTOS