Beyond Left and Right: Compassionate Pragmatism
By Wade Lee Hudson
There’s no widely agreed-on definition of “liberalism” and “conservatism.” Terms like “free-market fundamentalism” vs. “egalitarian economics” make more sense, but supporters of one of those terms may agree with the other side on other issues. So they can’t logically be lumped together as either “liberal” or “conservative.” The “left-right” spectrum is incoherent and serves to divide and conquer. However, even if the meaning of “liberalism” and “conservatism” were clear, the more rational approach would be to integrate the best of each perspective into a new worldview, such as “compassionate pragmatism.”
Traditionally, the “right” has been said to affirm authority, order, hierarchy, duty, tradition, and nationalism. And the “left” has been associated with liberty, equality, solidarity, human rights, progress, and internationalism. But most people believe in all or most of those principles — because each holds value.