The new book I’ve been working on since 2016 is titled: Developmental Politics—How America Can Grow Into a Better Version of Itself. It’s scheduled to be published by Paragon House on March 1, 2020. The Table of Contents and some endorsements are below.
Here’s a brief description: Growing hyper-partisan polarization threatens the foundations of American democracy. In response to this “wicked problem,” Steve McIntosh shows how America can grow into a better version of itself. He outlines an innovative method of “values integration” through which citizens from across the political spectrum can reach new levels of consensus and cooperation. This groundbreaking book presents a fresh approach to our national dilemma—a “politics of culture”—that can effectively reconcile the conflicting worldviews that are fiercely competing to define America’s bedrock values.
In addition to offering a pragmatic prescription for overcoming hyperpolarization, Developmental Politics also describes a new “political philosophy of purpose and progress.” This philosophy reveals how what we call “value” or “the good” has energy-like properties that can be harnessed to build political will and reclaim a secular-friendly notion of “cultural transcendence.” McIntosh argues that “improving our definition of improvement itself” can lead to a more inclusive version of the American Dream, which can quell the culture war and strengthen our collective civic virtue. By advancing an expanded vision of social progress, Developmental Politics can restore our hope for the future.
For the book cover we licensed the rights to the famous 1958 painting, Three Flags, by Jasper Johns, which is listed as #4 among the 50 greatest American paintings. This image symbolizes America’s three major worldviews, so it subtly illustrates the book’s thesis.
Chapter 1. America’s Existential Dilemma
“Hyperpolarization is a cultural problem that requires a cultural solution”
Chapter 2. The Momentous Emergence of the Modernist Worldview
“The rise of modernity has created more cultural evolution than any worldview before or since”
Chapter 3. Tracing the Development of the Progressive Postmodern Worldview
“Progressive postmodern culture is both a blessing and a curse for Western civilization”
Chapter 4. Reaching Political Agreement Through Values Integration
“Quelling our cultural conflict entails expanding the scope of what Americans can value”
Chapter 5. Evolving Our Understanding of the Good
“We need an improved definition of improvement itself”
Chapter 6. Harnessing the Energy of Value
“Revivifying our collective vision of transcendence can lead to our political renewal”
Chapter 7. Cultivating Cultural Evolution Through a New American Dream
“Our transcendent purpose is to evolve culture and consciousness”
Chapter 8. A Renaissance of Virtue
“The practice of virtues can become a politically unifying force in American culture”
Chapter 9. A Transcendent Vision of Progress
“Developmental politics seeks to rehabilitate America’s collective belief in progress”
Appendix A: On the Ontological Status of Worldviews
Appendix B: An Exercise for Practicing Virtues: Creating a Personal Portrait of the Good
“Developmental Politics is essential reading for those who are concerned about the dysfunctional condition of America’s democracy. McIntosh’s application of integral philosophy to the daunting problem of hyperpolarization shows how we can effectively grow out of our gridlocked politics. I highly recommend this groundbreaking and important book.”
—John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Markets, and Co-Author of Conscious Capitalism
“Is there a world beyond polarization! Indeed there is. In this inspired and brilliant work Steve McIntosh presents a richly conceived integral agenda and evolutionary strategy for the development of culture and consciousness, one that gives substance and reality to the unread vision of the higher dream for this Earth and time.”
— Jean Houston, Ph.D, Chancellor of Meridian University and author of many books on human development
“If I could prescribe one book for every Democrat or Progressive candidate and campaign to read (ASAP!), along with every environmental and climate activist and every advocate for racial justice, LGBTQ and gender equality, education reform, and economic equity, it would be Steve McIntosh’s Developmental Politics. It’s brilliant, well-written, and, I believe, just what the doctor ordered for our ailing body politic.”
—Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration, and A New Kind of Christianity
“Steve McIntosh is an incredibly deep and clear thinker who shows how people with very different worldviews can find a way to communicate, cooperate, and connect. Developmental Politics lays out a step-by-step approach to overcoming the wicked problem of hyper-polarization. This book is just what we need at this troubled time in history.”
—Tony Schwartz, bestselling author of The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working and The Power of Full Engagement, and CEO of The Energy Project
“This is the right book for what’s next in our politics, both nationally and personally. I found McIntosh’s description of the practice of values integration to be instantly indispensable. And I loved his description of how a renaissance of virtue is a tonic for the cynicism of our age. Upon finishing Developmental Politics, it was as if I had been ushered into a more virtuous world. Here, to my surprise, I felt humbled and grateful for our unfolding American story, as wild and wooly as it is. After reading this book I can now see exciting possibilities for our next historical chapters. Also unexpectedly, the book has deepened my appreciation for my own story, and for the people and circumstances of my life.”
—Jeff Salzman, Host of the Daily Evolver Podcast and education entrepreneur
“Steve McIntosh’s latest book, Developmental Politics, explores how America can escape political polarization. McIntosh provides an insightful account of the emergence of postmodernism from modernity, showing how culture evolves through the development of values. He persuasively argues that an enlarged understanding of cultural evolution can help us reclaim our collective aspirations for social “progress.” This important study is a must read!”
—Michael E. Zimmerman, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado at Boulder and coauthor of Integral Ecology
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From Developmental Politics: “The higher purposes which we recognize as *transcendent* have a kind of magnetic power that draws us forward. As Oxford philosopher Iris Murdoch wrote, ‘we are spiritual creatures, attracted by excellence and made for the Good.’”
Emerson’s insight, that “every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact,” reveals the connection between exterior physical energy and interior ‘value energy.’ In fact, ‘the good’ in itself can be most accurately conceived of as an upward current of perfecting energy.
Although every infant begins life with the same basic form of biological “human nature,” the extent to which their consciousness develops is largely determined by the culture in which they are raised. Human nature itself thus evolves through the evolution of human culture.
Managing the polarity of liberal and conservative values is not simply a matter of meeting in the middle or compromising. Working to both challenge and *support* our political opponents is a new approach to politics that is pragmatic and transformational at the same time.
On the new Growing Down Podcast, Jeremy Johnson, Ryan Nakade, Matt Hudkins, and I discuss the intersection of progressive politics and developmental politics. We focus on how progressive politics can benefit from an integral perspective. https://anchor.fm/growing-down/episodes/3--Developmental-Politics-ft--Steve-McIntosh-Interview-Series-ec5914/a-a1qcs3g