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Progressive republicans, conservative democrats

Whatever your generalized views are on the overarching ideological struggles between the U.S. political left and right in the 20th century, the so-called "American Century", it is now pretty obvious that as far as the 21st century is concerned, the republican party is the party of progressive ideology in the sense that they want change, and the democrats don't. Consider any issues, from the most nuts-and-bolts policy questions to big-picture philosophicals, such as these:

Education - democrats continue to want money to pay teachers and build inner city schools; republicans favor privatizing education as much as possible, and would like to scrap the system. NCLB is a revolutionary program designed to gradually accomplish this by declaring a majority [eventually, all] schools as failures.

Energy - democrats are comfortable with the current time-frame of oil reserves running out, and believe science and the marketplace can adjust, though it will be painful; republicans violently repudiate this laid-back attitude, and consistently target ANWAR & the Mideast

Foreign policy - democrats have no discernable ideological vision for America's place in the world, apart from continuing to play the conflicting inherited roles of arms broker and peace broker; republicans seek to spread [as they claim] democracy through force of arms.

etc. Even issues such as gay marriage are recast as progressive: a pre-emptive strike must be made via amendment, a new and christian affirmation of what marriage means, rather than simply claiming that only those who currently enjoy marriage rights should continue to - which would be a literally conservative attitude. And on and on: taxes - we tax the rich too much and must change that; environment - we hamper business too much and must change that; military - the armed forces must create ever more complex technological systems such as missile defense and tactical micro-nukes...

In the 20th century, democrats had utopian visions of political world unification [e.g. U.N.], sweeping reforms of man's relationship with his ecosystems, revolutionary labor movements and government safety nets giving power and dignity to the common man, and most basic of all universal educational and legal enfranchisement which has gradually come under attack again. What did republicans have? Protecting the old boy's club from invasion. But now it is time to admit that our party is on the defensive, and I believe part of the problem is lack of grand vision, even on such a seemingly symbolically hollow issue as space travel.

It's not inconceivable that the democratic party could try to revitalize itself through the promulgation of new grand visions, which could vie with the energetic aims of republicans'. Far easier, probably, to re-envision the party as the new conservative voice of American wisdom.

This is a continuation of my previous post on christian democracy... the democratic party must reposition itself as the party of conservative values. For solid demographic reasons, it must stop pretending it is the party of the young, and be the party of the old. After all, youth culture is presumably increasingly anomic and valueless, uninterested in long-term planning, and easily seduced by flash and responsive to advertizing pitches, or so I'm led to understand. And there are solid demographic reasons why democrats should focus on the old, of course. The main issues of the next 20 years are health care & social security.
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