In the course of our work on ameliorating hyper-partisan polarization, we have learned that a successful strategy to depolarize the American electorate overall must also include efforts to overcome the polarities that exist within each of the two major parties. Following this strategy, ICE is working to evolve both the Left and the Right separately on their own terms. This page accordingly describes our efforts to help foster evolution on the progressive side of politics.
In April 2016, the nationally syndicated National Public Radio program “To the Best of Our Knowledge” aired an hour-length feature on the problem of hyper-partisan political polarization. The feature includes an eleven minute interview with ICE president Steve McIntosh, who shares ICE’s uniquely integral approach to our nation’s polarization problem. This integral approach involves getting at the cultural roots of polarization by expanding the scope of what people are able to value. You can listen to the interview below:
Following the successful format of ICE’s Esalen conclave series, we are planning to hold a Conclave on the “Future of the Left” in early 2017. The Conclave’s approach will involve reducing polarization within the Democratic party itself by better integrating core progressive values within the mainstream liberal establishment.
Recorded on October 25, 2014, this caucus call teleconference explores a vision of the “Future Left.” The recording features our esteemed panelists Elizabeth Debold and Terry Patten, together with your hosts Steve McIntosh and Carter Phipps.
As explained in our recent white paper, Depolarizing the American Mind, the political polarity of Left and Right is relatively permanent and existential, continuing to reappear in new form as society changes and evolves. Our approach accordingly seeks to anticipate the future state of these existential political positions by describing the form that the “Future Left” and “Future Right” will likely take in the decades ahead. On this inaugural caucus call we focused on defining and developing a more positive and optimistic “future political stance” for those on the Left.
An evolutionary principle for working with positive-positive existential polarities, such as “liberal and conservative,” is that each pole needs the other for its own further and fuller development. If one pole dominates or vanquishes the other, pathology is the inevitable result. Applied to politics, this principle indicates that the most sound and politically effective liberal and progressive positions will be those that integrate legitimate conservative values, while still remaining true to their original progressive values. Conservative values can serve to improve liberal positions by challenging and moderating such positions in a way that makes them stronger. The same can be said about the role of liberal values in strengthening conservative positions.
By helping progressive politics move from a position of antithesis, which rejects many of the values of the rest of American society, to a more synthetic position that can better value what America has achieved, we hope to contribute to the emergence of progressive political positions that are able to overcome polarization and accomplish many of their laudable political goals. As described in Depolarizing the American Mind, we are working to evolve the overall consciousness of the American electorate by increasing the quality and quantity of what people are able to value.