In their book, Phillip Longman and Ray Boshara show how today's progressives have much to learn from their counterparts of a hundred years ago. The original progressives built super-majorities in both parties and achieved stunning reforms by combining scientific expertise with deep deference to all-American values, particularly those of freedom-loving, small-scale entrepreneurs and producers.
Much of their program we must reject today, yet Americans at the turn of the last century confronted issues so eerily like our own that their experience provides many useful lessons. More so than during the New Deal, the major challenges of the Progressive era included a globalized economy, predatory consumer lending, deepening income inequality, rapidly shifting demographics, networks of violent non-state actors, a dangerous and ineffective health care system, transportation bottle necks, a tainted food supply, a deepening threat of contagious diseases, and a spreading awareness of the need for thrift, conservation and behavioral change.
Longman and Boshara maintain that if modern-day Progressives are to overcome America's deep political divisions, they will have to focus on building the strength of the family, local communities and small-scale institutions, including small-scale banks and producer networks empowered with new infrastructure.
©2009 Phillip Longman (P)2009 Redwood Audiobooks