Reception of Transitionalism Part 3 – Beyond Liberalism

by transitionalism@gmail.com on April 28, 2015

Hands Holding a Seedling and SoilIn the previous two articles we had reviewed positions along the liberal ideological spectrum between the liberals on the left and conservatives on the right. Those who identify with liberalism on both the right and left hold in common the fundamental principle of individual autonomy and interests being paramount over those of society. A spectrum exists due to a declared value judgment as to the role of the society via the government, in the lives of individuals. As we have already established, the divisions that appear arise from deep-seated behavioral predispositions and personal history. In this article we will bring this series to a close by examining social positions that lie beyond the ends of the liberal spectrum: anarchism, libertarianism, socialism, and authoritarianism, and what common ground, if any, could be established between them and Transitionalism.

Beyond Liberalism
Socialism, authoritarianism, in which we include fFascism, and anarchism, could be characterized as responses to liberalism, more specifically industrial capitalism. In turn, we can describe libertarianism as a 20th century response to the challenge of communism. Now let us take a brief look at each of them.
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Reception of Transitionalism – Part 2 – In Dialogue with Liberals

by transitionalism@gmail.com on March 29, 2015

Hands on a globeIn the previous article we examined general features of the conventional conservative perspective both from their social/moral and fiscal/political standpoints. In this article, we will focus on conventional liberals and how we might bridge the gap between them and Transitionalism.

 

The Conservative-Liberal Divide
In the current political environment we witness what appears to be an ever widening chasm between conservatives and liberals around the world; particularly here in the United States. Without question there is little that liberals and social/moral conservatives share in common. The social/moral conservative position is at its core ideologically non-liberal, and the basis for this is grounded in a fundamentally religious view of the world that also contributes a significant cultural divide. It should be noted, this situation could be changing to some extent given that it appears younger evangelicals are expressing more interest in environmental and social justice issues and less in abortion and homosexuality than have older generations.
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TeamworkHow conventional conservatives, as opposed to conventional liberals, would respond to the perceived challenge of Transitionalism depends to a significant extent on the kind of conservatism. American conservatism has always been split, though frequently maintaining overlapping views, between social/moral conservatives and fiscal/political conservatives expressed as an ever present tension within conservatism as a social and political movement, in American institutions, and even within the culture itself.

Social or moral conservatives see God as the source of the American system and its values embodying the view present from the time of the first European explorers and colonists to North America as being a sacred place. While social/moral conservatives assert an unshakable belief in the foundational principles of the American system their commitment is to the promise of the original religious vision of America as opposed to its ideological roots. Social/moral conservatives are not liberals, based on the insistence that the needs of community have privilege over those of individuals, hence the reason for their position on a number of social issues such as abortion, homosexuality, evolution, the central role of the family, and the teaching of religion in schools. In contrast to the more libertarian instincts of fiscal/political conservatives, social/moral conservatives have demonstrated little hesitation in calling for the use of government authority to impose and enforce their agenda.
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Age of Anxiety – Part 3 – The Renewal of Faith

by transitionalism@gmail.com on September 8, 2014

Man saluting the sun with passion for lifeIn Part 1 of our critique of the film “There is No Tomorrow” we saw the expression of hopelessness for a technical solution as being overly pessimistic. In Part 2 we criticized the film’s lack of belief in people’s ability to perceive and react appropriately and in a timely fashion to the threat of peak oil and climate change. In Part 3 our objective is for us to conclude this series by examining the basis for the pervasiveness of negativity and how it could be transformed into positive action.

Social collapse due to peak oil and or climate change need not be a reality. If it were to occur, it could have only transpired due to our unwillingness to take the steps needed to avoid a downward spiral. This sense of pending threat and apparent inability to affect a suitable response doesn’t reside with the problem of peak oil alone. It is due to the feeling of pending threat and lack of responsiveness to a broad spectrum of existential challenges, of which peak oil and climate change are only two, leaving us with the sense of being hopelessly overwhelmed. Because these problems exist as a consequence of our actions, it has become somewhat fashionable to be self-negating, where some go so far as to characterize human beings to be a ‘disease’ afflicting the environment. Even if such extreme views are not prevalent, at its core the pervasive negative tone reflects an expression of the lack of trust we have in ourselves engendering cynicism and passivity to do what is best in the long run.
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