Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Moderation and Rationality
If you spend any time around Democratic and/or left of center blogs, you will soon encounter posts and comments disparaging the DLC and their ilk of moderate Democrats. To many liberals being a member of the DLC or ascribing to its views can result only from a lack of heart, soul or some sort of fawning love for corporatism. But what many of my left of center colleagues fail to grasp is that for many of us, our moderation is based on a belief in rationality and social science.
Ideologues of the left and the right alike disregard any evidence that challenges their view of the world. People on both sides of the spectrum would like to ignore the whole science of economics, as it tends to invalidate some of their pet causes. Those on the cultural right chose to ignore medical/scientific evidence about combating AIDS; liberals are blinded to the notion that rent control often results in a declining housing stock and shortages in apartments.
The knock on moderates is that we do not actually believe in anything. The stereotype is that we blindly adhere to a value-less pragmatism. But nothing could be further from the truth. Moderates recognize the same social problems as our liberal colleagues, but we may be more inclined to use a market mechanism to address the problem, rather than government fiat. However, we are not unwilling to utilize government resources when that is the most effective way to accomplish a goal. But we do not necessarily default to either government or market on certain policy issues. Instead, we look to the social sciences for evidence of what will work or what has worked in the past. We chose to make a rational policy choice, devoid of blinding ideologies.
Rational, effective and effecient government is what Reinventing Government was all about. Thinking outside of a liberal or conservative box to find innovative solutions to society's problems is the aim of the DLC/PPI. Despite what many liberals may think, there is nothing progressive about old stye big government programs. If we continue to support policies and programs simply because they comport with some ideological agenda rather than because they solve problems, then we are doing a disservice to the people. Attachment to Great Society and New Deal programs is conservative, not liberal. The country has changed since FDR and LBJ, and our policies should evolve, too.


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