Monday, January 29, 2018

Radical Centrism

Radical Centrism

I’ve been referencing Radical Centrism quite a bit lately. In a recent essay, I described Radical Centrism as:
1.  More than championing compromise.
More than appeasement.
More than RINOism. More than traditional Centrism.
Not Libertarianism.
Not "Social Liberalism and Economic Conservatism."

2.  Positioned within the first sigmas of a "Liberty Bell Curve" it stridently, actively--radically--opposes the apoplectic noise from beyond those sigmas.

3.  A strain of compassionate patriotism that treats rational policy solutions to otherwise divisive issues with a moral urgency. Its prescriptions are rooted in historical reality and poetic imagination: aggressively, stridently, and uncompromisingly. Its solutions eschew partisan hyperbole and are radical in their opposition to the divisive frames that politicians present. We needn’t compromise, Radical Centrists argue, to arrive at a radical center. Rather, a radical center is the best absolute position unto itself.

I have been challenged to present a set of policies that would make up a Radical Centrist’s platform. Policy, of course, is far more complex than broad statements of ideology.  Given the opportunity to present a set of policies, I assert that they come as an intermingled suite: a set of interconnected causal and affective solutions that work together. The policies that I enumerate below should not be taken in isolation. 

Over the next several weeks, I will expand upon each of these points in their due. I’d like to especially develop the concept of the “Liberty Bell Curve” as the metaphor for how this works.

I’m confident that some of these bullets will induce gasps from my friends on the Right who know me to be an economist and traditional Conservative; doubtless, I’ll garner some rolled eyes from friends who know me as a poet, teacher, and academic. Most importantly, I know that it will also set off the noisy timbre on the outer edges of the Liberty Bell Curve. My goal is to rile the sigma-sitters:  to advance a catalog of Radical Centrism that is so discomfiting that they may fall into apoplexy (a state that is not too far from their normal state, anyhow).

With that as preface, I feel a sense of urgency to publish this before Trump’s first SOTU.  So, without further hesitation, I present the following list of policies that hold together a Radical Centrist platform.

(Remember, a full expansion of these bullets forth-comes):

1.      Statehood for Puerto Rico
2.      Statehood for Cuba
3.      Universal catastrophic healthcare
4.      Fast path FDA approvals for “critical” disease pharmaceuticals; Shortened patent periods
5.      Tort reform for “critical” disease pharmaceuticals
6.      Preserve abortion “rights” but also preserve “rights” for doctors and local (not state) governments to decline such coverage
7.      National legalization, taxation, and regulation of marijuana
8.      Removal of any federal laws or regulations that discriminate against or act affirmatively for LGBTQ citizens
9.      Federal initiative to ban and develop a replacement for opioid drugs
10.   Outlaw capital punishment
11.   Federal education stipend funded by property tax (to be used for public or private schools) for all children from age 4-21 (or second year of community college)
12.   Compulsory 18 month tour for all men and women in Military/Peace Corps/AmeriCorps
13.   Require and fund body camera technology for all police in U.S.
14.   Reparations for living grand-children, great-grand-children, or great-great-grand-children of slaves

1.      Maintain independent Federal Reserve
2.      Create an independent agency to regulate “consumer credit and banking” with a head appointed and approved solely by the party that does not control the Executive Branch. 4 year terms that coincide with President.
3.      National infrastructure initiative: Transportation and Digi-com
4.      National Climate Change policy that concentrates on adaptation rather than reversal.
5.      Further flattened income tax (with only a deduction for home mortgage interest, charitable donations, and catastrophe)
6.      Graduated Federal sales tax by item class, dollar value.
7.      Welfare, CHIP reform.
8.      Recalibration of Social Security funding and management

1.      Comprehensive immigration reform, enforcement, and path to citizenship for all who enter legally.
2.      Grandfather existing DACA.
3.      Deport any illegals who have committed any crime (besides illegal entry) and/or cannot prove gainful employment.
4.      Two immigrant classes: 1. Merit-based with no set asides based on country of origin—and their immediate families. 2. Refugees who may stay max of 3 years and leave or enter pool for merit-based track.

1.      Development of Strategic Defense Initiative technology
2.      Disband CIA and FBI and reorganize under a single Global (National) Intelligence Agency
3.      Redefine NATO as an organization meant to protect “democratic” nations from “non-democratic” nations. To be led by America. To replace United Nations.
4.      Support Israel in claiming Jerusalem as capital. Support Palestinian independence.
5.      Withdraw from foreign wars except for purposes of “stabilization of peace” and “protection of innocents.”
6.      Create an embassy in every nation on Earth with professional diplomats.
7.      Expand and partial-privatize  VA model to provide basic healthcare for all who’ve served 18 month tour
8.      Free trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, Cuba. NAFFTA (Free and Fair trade).
9.      International FFT agreements w/Tariffs on goods that come in from any nation not participating.
10.    Assert dollar as money for all Int’l trade.

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