By A. Lawrence Chickering and James S. Turner
As we noted in our introduction, The Transpartisan Review will concentrate on promoting new political ideas, ideas that bring people together who are now in conflict. Since the current debate focuses entirely on conflict, the approaches we explore will be hard to find in the current debate. Yet they are often essential to solve problems that otherwise seem insoluble.
Our political conflict is not only between the parties, between progressives (left) and conservatives (right); it is also within them. Conflict within is between freedom and order. There are thus four positions rather than two in our political field—freedom and order themes in both left and right.
We refer to these four positions as the Four-Quadrant Transpartisan Matrix—featuring social democratic and civil libertarian themes on the left and the traditional (especially religious) and libertarian themes on the right.
The conflict between freedom and order is at present more obvious in the Republican Party than the Democratic. Part of the reason (there may be others) is that the party in power (which holds The White House) can contain conflict more easily than the party out of power.
There is ‘truth’ in all four positions—partial truths. Ultimate truth, we believe, comes from integrating all four. Integrating all four will both bring people together and solve problems. The Matrix will be a recurring theme in the forthcoming posts and pages of the Review.
We will focus on key policy arenas such as education, criminal justice, and foreign policy, issues on which we are aware of transpartisan initiatives making headway.
Between now and the launch of the new online journal, we will post short Notes showing how the transpartisan impulse is in forms all around us. It will highlight report on real experiences where transpartisan approaches are solving real problems.
These examples often occur outside the formal political system. Since we hope the formal system will want to learn from them and incorporate them into formal government policy, we will also feature comments on how that might happen.
As contentions a matter as the Citizen United Supreme Court decision gives a taste of the opportunity. McCain-Feingold (aka the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002), the campaign finance law found partially unconstitutional by the court, represents order right (Republican McCain) and order left (Democrat Feingold), respectively. The immediate attacks on the law came from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)—free right and free left, respectively.
Drawing on all four impulses the country is staggering toward a full-blown disclosure of the source of all campaign contributions. The transpartisan lens of the developing journal provides a way to look at virtually all contentious matters (issues) and suggest a different angle from which to evaluate them. We invite all of you to join the discourse.