science and neo-progressivism

Those who enjoyed mine and Taylor’s piece on neo-progressives may remember that we claimed both the original progressive and the neo-progressive movements were founded on the pursuit of a few core values:

The rise of industrial capitalism during the 19th century led to a series of tense societal changes. These included the emergence of an urban working class, increasing inequality and the new possibility of total war. In response, three generations of pragmatically driven “progressives” emerged. Opposing both the socialist left and the laissez-faire right, they championed values such as equality of opportunity, meritocracy, government transparency and empirical inquiry.

Andrew Sullivan seems to agree with science/evidence based approaches as being one of them – although the post’s title suggests he doesn’t want to credit earlier progressives with adopting science as well. Andrew’s comments spring from the fact that the science magazine Seed has endorsed Obama:

Science is a way of governing, not just something to be governed. Science offers a methodology and philosophy rooted in evidence, kept in check by persistent inquiry, and bounded by the constraints of a self-critical and rigorous method. Science is a lens through which we can and should visualize and solve complex problems, organize government and multilateral bodies, establish international alliances, inspire national pride, restore positive feelings about America around the globe, embolden democracy, and ultimately, lead the world. More than anything, what this lens offers the next administration is a limitless capacity to handle all that comes its way, no matter how complex or unanticipated.

Sen. Obama’s embrace of transparency and evidence-based decision-making, his intelligence and curiosity echo this new way of looking at the world

This is a battle the original progressives won – it is a sad statement that we are fighting it again. But we will win, again. It does help that we’ve got people like Hitchens on our side and that they are willing to remind us that the GOP really is waging a war on science. The republicans really have which left not only the neo-progressives behind, but also conservative minded progressives (yes, they exist). It’s going to be a tough, ugly, conservative rump that is left.

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