My Mission - Peace and Practical Progress

My mission is ultimately to bring about peace. To do this, we must first heal our society. Early 21st century Western society is divisive, tribal, irrational and lacking in love and compassion. This means peace is impossible, both within the West itself, and by flow-on effects, in the rest of the world. I want to change all this, first and foremost. 

Firstly, I think we need to bring back progressivism, in the original sense. We may call this 'practical progressivism', in contrast to the theory-based so-called progressivism promoted by some in the 'New Left'. To practice a truly 'practical progressivism', I think the key is to engage with all sorts of interesting ideas, without theory-based preconception. If we consider the word 'progressive' in a purely practical sense, then I guess any reform that improve people's lives can and should be considered progressive. I think if 'progressive' is consistently defined this way, then most people would be able to get behind it. There would be far fewer people who consider themselves anti-progressive. This is why I often say that it is the hijacking of the word 'progressive' by theoretical progressives that has turned people towards being anti-progressive. This problem can be fixed simply by abandoning theoretical progressivism and fully embracing practical progressivism.

Next, we need to bring back the values that have long enabled the West to be peaceful, balanced and stable despite its diversity of thought and culture. These values have led to the West being pluralistic and open to new ideas, and we must not lose them. My Moral Libertarian ideas are an attempt to reformulate the moral foundation of the Enlightenment into a principle that can be systematically applied. Note that, while I believe in restoring Enlightenment liberal values in the West, because they are what suits us, I don't support 'exporting' these values to other cultures. The disasters of Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars should be adequate reminders of why this is always a bad idea. Instead, we simply need to respect that things are different elsewhere. But in the West, where we have an individualistic, non-consensus-based way of thinking about what's right and wrong, I believe we must revive and defend Enlightenment liberalism against all other worldviews that threaten to weaken or supplant it. We also need to emphasize the fact that the classical liberal consensus is not inherently incompatible with most points across the economic (capitalist-socialist) or cultural (progressive-conservative) spectrum, which makes it an ideal point of unity on which to base a social contract for Western society.

Contrary to popular (mis)understandings of liberalism and conservatism being inherently opposed, there is no conflict between conservatism and classical liberalism, in the context of the 21st century English-speaking West. Even going back to Burke's time, English-speaking conservatism clearly had a liberal character. After several more centuries of the classical liberal consensus, a conservative in our society would definitely have to be a classical liberal, trying hard to conserve this important part of our political tradition for future generations, against assaults from both the left and the right.

A revival of liberal values will also promote non-aggressive means to resolve conflict. Historically, liberalism grew out of a desire to end the religious conflicts of Europe. In Western history, it is the only politically successful philosophy that has a strong link to non-aggression. This is why I believe a liberal revival is the only way to make the West truly non-aggressive.

Finally, cultural politics and philosophy do not exist in a vacuum. They are inevitably shaped by the wider culture we share. Therefore, we must heal the culture too. Let me be blunt, but Western popular culture has been quite empty and meaningless for more than half a century. This, too, must change. I believe our culture, including our popular culture, needs to embrace meaningful discussions, for example about how we can strengthen the social fabric, make our families healthier and stronger, and increase the level of love and compassion across society.

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