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Cyrus

Help Me Find Some (Quality) Progressive Thinkers

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Cyrus   

Looking for some interesting Progressive thinkers (Or Liberal in the modern sense) to read/listen to. For whatever reason I'm finding it difficult to find any real "thought" leaders or thinkers that aren't specifically atheists. (like Hitchens, Dawkins or Sam Harris - to the extent one would consider them politically progressive). There are a few individuals that I really like, such as David Axelrod, but I'm not sure I would consider him as a theorist/thinker in the traditional sense. (maybe that's cutting him short). I'm looking for more dense philosophical or broadly informed ideas.

 

Most of the formative Progressive thinkers seem to be post-modernists from decades ago. There are a number of inspirational/emotional figures, but I'm struggling to find a good source for well-articulated Progressive ideas for the purpose of listening to more viewpoints. That's not a slight - I just can't identify them.

 

@Starkiller@WG53@IsntLifeFunny@Bink

Edited by Cyrus

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Cyrus   
5 minutes ago, ben4titans said:

Jordan Peterson?

Psychologist more than a Philosopher or Political thinker (capital Ps). He did have an interview at the Aspen Institute which I've got loaded up now. 

 

So reading more, he's not not a "Progressive" thinker, but more of the ethno-right culture, no? Even if not, I don't generally consider psychologist masquerading as philosophers as "thinkers". 

Edited by Cyrus

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I don't know about David Axelrod, but I hear his brother Bobby has some pretty good progressive ideas on how to create and manage wealth. They're a little "cutting edge" though so I'd be wary of applying them in your own life too much.

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Cyrus   
1 minute ago, NashvilleNinja said:

I don't know about David Axelrod, but I hear his brother Bobby has some pretty good progressive ideas on how to create and manage wealth. They're a little "cutting edge" though so I'd be wary of applying them in your own life too much.

Let's be serious please. :) David Axelrod is a thoughtful and very decent person. 

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I don’t read contemporary philosophy. I start with Kant, Nietzche, Locke, and Kierkegaard. 

 

Bob Hale is a good one to start with if you’re looking for more contemporary ideas, but I wouldn’t call him a progressive, more an individualist who believed philosophy is built upon ideas instead of a concrete nature like Christianity. 

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patsplat   

The issue here is that the 4th estate has been decimated by Facebook and Google.  The Root, The Intercept, Splinter News, Jezebel, are all good but Gawker Media and Slate are hanging by a thread.  There's not much fertile ground for progressive voices to develop.

 

 

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Bink   

I'm trying to feel out what exactly you are looking for--someone who overtly considers their Christianity as part of their political process or a progressive writer who doesn't focus on or emphasize atheism? Looking for critical theory? Something that fits into feminist/queer theory lens? 

 

Someone like Noam Chomsky comes to mind, who has been critical of more outspoken atheists but is (IIRC) an atheist himself. Kind of feels like what you are looking for.  There are plenty of writers who fit into the armchair political commentary vein (like Krugman I guess) but that's not really my cup of tea. Matt Taibbi writes fun political commentary but I think he's more of in attack mode than you might be interested in.  

 

Zizek is the kind of cliche one you'd hear tossed around at parties. He's hyper critical of the left but his ideas are progressive and interesting.

Edited by Bink

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Cyrus   
17 minutes ago, Bink said:

I'm trying to feel out what exactly you are looking for--someone who overtly considers their Christianity as part of their political process or a progressive writer who doesn't focus on or emphasize atheism? Looking for critical theory? Something that fits into feminist/queer theory lens? 

 

Someone like Noam Chomsky comes to mind, who has been critical of more outspoken atheists but is (IIRC) an atheist himself. Kind of feels like what you are looking for.  There are plenty of writers who fit into the armchair political commentary vein (like Krugman I guess) but that's not really my cup of tea. Matt Taibbi writes fun political commentary but I think he's more of in attack mode than you might be interested in.  

 

Zizek is the kind of cliche one you'd hear tossed around at parties. He's hyper critical of the left but his ideas are progressive and interesting.

You can find many conservative thinkers who are not specifically orthodox believers. And at the very least, their views are not specifically religious even if it informs their world view. Bill Kristol is a good example - but there are many like him. (as well as many who are more explicitly religious - like Peter Wehner). In many cases, you find some of these conservative thinkers have explicitly studied Law, History or Philosophy. Many of their political appeals are based on historical thinkers like Edmund Burke (Yuval Levin), Locke, Hobbes, Jefferson, Madison, etc. All of these appeals and ideas have practical applications in modern politics.

 

When thinking of more philosophical "progressive" thinkers of comparable political focus I draw a blank. Whether they are religious or not is my objective, but I'm not looking for a thinker, like Hitchens, who's through-line ideas are to merely reject idealism or God. You can't take that position and end up with the Great Society. (it wouldn't be logically coherent). 

 

So when we talk about expanded healthcare, or poverty reform, environmental policy, etc. I'd like to listen to someone express these ideas with some type of philosophical appeal. (what are the underpinning values or beliefs that lead us to this application of policy). I can come up with my own, and I think they're defensible, but I'd like to find a thoughtful political thinker who can articulately express these beliefs. (I know they exist). 

 

Krugman isn't a bad suggestion, FWIW. His focus is a bit more narrow (monetary policy) but more in that vein.

Edited by Cyrus

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reo   

I don't know if their progressive per se but if I'm looking for intellectually stimulating "thinkers" I'm looking at leading mathematicians, physicists, etc

 

 

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Cyrus   

Other disciplines can be insightful, but generally their political positions aren't always "thought through" in the sense that they're totally coherent or consistent. They tend to, or at least often take other mechanics or systems and superimpose them on a political thought. For instance, you can take evolutionary biology and and apply it to political theory, but you end up with something closer to eugenics rather than a liberal democracy. (even though these evolutionary biologists want it to be something more liberating or free than that). Often you end up with a logical disconnect. (a problematic fact-value distinction for those who reject metaphysical values).

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reo   
9 minutes ago, Cyrus said:

Other disciplines can be insightful, but generally their political positions aren't always "thought through" in the sense that they're totally coherent or consistent. They tend to, or at least often take other mechanics or systems and superimpose them on a political thought. For instance, you can take evolutionary biology and and apply it to political theory, but you end up with something closer to eugenics rather than a liberal democracy. (even though these evolutionary biologists want it to be something more liberating or free than that). Often you end up with a logical disconnect. (a problematic fact-value distinction for those who reject metaphysical values).

I think that's partly where you're losing people. The left or progressives typically an accumulation of experts in different fields. You want economics then look at the leading economists. You want climate change then look at the leading climate scientists. If you want some left political specialist or something, that's not typically how it works but I could be wrong.

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Bink   
36 minutes ago, Cyrus said:

So when we talk about expanded healthcare, or poverty reform, environmental policy, etc. I'd like to listen to someone express these ideas with some type of philosophical appeal. (what are the underpinning values or beliefs that lead us to this application of policy). I can come up with my own, and I think they're defensible, but I'd like to find a thoughtful political thinker who can articulately express these beliefs. (I know they exist). 

 

Krugman isn't a bad suggestion, FWIW. His focus is a bit more narrow (monetary policy) but more in that vein.

Got it. I stand by my suggestion of Chomsky. Matt Taibbi, Glenn Greenwald.  I tend to read the more charged stuff. I think for each of those three large buckets you've listed you'll probably want to split off. Lots of books about the economy and how the politics of the 80s and 90s (Ronald and Bill) robbed the poor to pay the rich. 

 

 

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