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The Radical Center: The Future of American Politics

Halstead, Michael; Lind, Michael

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ISBN 10: 0385500459 / ISBN 13: 9780385500456
Verlag: Doubleday, 2001
Gebraucht Zustand: Fine Hardcover
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0385500459 Near fine in near fine dust jacket. First edition Quality, Value, Experience. Media Shipped in New Boxes. Buchnummer des Verkäufers BING7925195

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Bibliografische Details

Titel: The Radical Center: The Future of American ...

Verlag: Doubleday

Erscheinungsdatum: 2001

Einband: Hardcover

Zustand: Fine

Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Dust Jacket Included

Auflage: 1st Edition

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The Radical Center represents new thinking, combining lessons learned from the past with an optimistic view of the future. This book deserves to be read by thoughtful Americans of all generations.” -- John C. Whitehead, former Chairman, Goldman Sachs

“The curse of modern politics is what the technology world calls “legacy code”_inherited taboos, biases, and blinders that prevent most public figures from expressing, or even thinking, original thoughts. The Radical Center shows us how we could deal with a number of intractable public issues, if we were willing actually to think about them rather than just operating by reflex and rote.” -- James Fallows, Chairman, New America Foundation

The hair-breadth closeness of the 2000 elections and the growing number of voters who identify themselves as independents make it clear that most Americans no longer think in terms of the conventional agendas of Left and Right. In The Radical Center, Ted Halstead and Michael Lind boldly announce the death of sixties liberalism and eighties conservatism and the birth of the new philosophy of Radical Centrism. Taking on experts and partisans on both sides of the political divide and explaining why current ideologies and frameworks are ill-suited to the Information Age, they offer a groundbreaking blueprint for updating and remodeling all sectors of American society.

The Radical Center presents irrefutable evidence that many institutions that promoted progress in the twentieth century now retard progress in the twenty-first. Our archaic electoral system fuels increasing disenchantment with politics; our social contract provides neither the flexibility nor the security that American workers require in the new economy; and our schools and communities fail to impart the skills and values that our citizens need. Arguing that the Information Age has produced a more sophisticated citizenry capable of handling greater choices and responsibilities, Halstead and Lind propose far-reaching, pragmatic reforms for the way we organize elections, provide health and retirement security, collect taxes, structure employment, enforce civil rights, and educate our children.

Twice before America has dramatically reconfigured itself–It shifted from an agrarian to an industrial society after the Civil War and then successfully adapted to the massive technological and demographic changes of the early twentieth century during the New Deal era. Uniting a sweeping historical vision with bold policy proposals, The Radical Center shows us how to reinvent our nation once again so that all Americans, rich and poor, can reap the benefits of the Information Age.


This bold book proposes to take American politics in a totally new direction--away from "our rigid two-party cartel" of Republicans and Democrats, and toward a centrism that currently doesn't exist in an electoral sense. "Our nation's politics are dominated by two feuding dinosaurs that have outlived the world in which they evolved," write Ted Halstead and Michael Lind. Both men are affiliated with the New America Foundation, and Lind is the provocative author of The Next American Nation and Vietnam: The Necessary War. They believe the ongoing technological revolution will transform American politics in fundamental ways, and most of The Radical Center advocates specific shifts across a range of issues. The result is a mishmash that isn't so much a set of new ideas as a blend of existing ones. Halstead and Lind want to enact private-school choice for students and parents (a conservative idea), for instance, and also to equalize funding by essentially abolishing the states' role in education (something that might appeal to liberals). Their goal, they say, is to increase personal choices where possible and minimize class inequalities where feasible.

Much of The Radical Center reads like a wonk's fantasy; Halstead and Lind identify policy problems everywhere they look--from voting rights to health care--and suggest solutions with the confidence of technocrats who believe they can remake the world. What they produce is a grab bag that will simultaneously fascinate and frustrate readers who start off ensconced on either the right or left of the political spectrum. How many people will favor both their idea of abolishing all corporate income taxes as well as their notion of implementing a new nationwide tax on consumption? But that's the point: Halstead and Lind try to forge a new politics that takes the best parts of today's left and right and abandons the rest as so much dead weight. The Radical Center is at once jarring and invigorating; readers willing to engage with it will wrestle with hard questions. Many may come away persuaded by large parts of Halstead and Lind's argument. And if the whole project sounds a tad ambitious, there's a reason: "Major political change in the United States, in short, tends to be revolutionary, not evolutionary." If that's true, then consider The Radical Center a manifesto for a new age that's right around the corner. --John Miller

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