Reviving Practicality and Morality

Increasingly, what passes for a national dialogue has devolved into a shouting match between the extreme wings of the major parties. According to a recent study by the international nonprofit More in Common, only 14% of Americans are either hard-left or hard-right, yet those extremes dominate party politics. In the middle is the “exhausted majority” – whose views aren’t so different from each other, who are willing to compromise, who believe we can find common ground. How do we return the majority to a place of primacy in the national conversation?

Philip Howard’s forthcoming book, Try Common Sense: Replacing the failed ideologies of right and left (available January 2019) provides a blueprint to revive practicality and morality as the touchstones of public choice and debate. As described this week by Kirkus Reviews, the book “optimistically lays out a no-nonsense playbook for sustainable government and an American future driven by accountability and personal and political responsibility.”

One piece of Philip’s playbook is to move federal agencies out of the toxic culture of Washington and into places where people know what it means to take responsibility. Last week in The Washington Post, Mitch Daniels championed that move as well. Among the many benefits of a federal diaspora, Daniels observed, was that federal workers would benefit from a “perspective on their work enriched by closer exposure to its real-world consequences.”