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Beyond Progressive and Conservative:
Political Theory on the Web


Progressive politics was invented at the time of the French revolution, when modernization was challenging traditional forms of power. Socialists and other modernist radicals hoped that progress would overturn the status quo.

But today, progress is the status quo. Rather than attacking tradition, the most interesting political theorists now attack progress.

This site includes links to the writings on the web by the most important of these new political theorists. It currently includes the work of:

  • John Taylor Gatto: A former New York teacher of the year, Gatto shows that our bureaucratic schools and our bureaucratic society get in the way of learning, and he often contrasts modern America with 19th century America, where family, work, and democratic self-government let people educate themselves.
  • Paul Goodman: Paul Goodman, one of the most influential social critics of the 1960s, wrote on many subjects, criticizing the failings of our organized technological society, and making practical proposals to create a modern society on the human scale.
  • Ivan Illich: The books Deschooling Society, Tools for Conviviality, and Energy and Equity made Ivan Illich one of the most important theorists of the radical ecology movement of the 1970s.
  • Jane Jacobs: In 1961, Jacobs published what is probably the most important book ever written on city planning, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.
  • Christopher Lasch: Lasch's Haven in a Heartless World was the most important response to the modernist attack on the family. Lasch showed that, in our time, the real threat to freedom comes from therapeutic organizations that are taking the place of the family.
  • Neil Postman: Postman has written important books on education, on the effect of media, and on the overall effects of technology.
  • Kirkpatrick Sale: Sale is the man who made the word "Luddite" respectable, with his history of the Luddite movement, Rebels Against the Future, and he has written many other books and articles about the limits of technology.
  • E. F. Schumacher: Schumacher worked on developing intermediate technology for the third world, and he was an inspiration to the appropriate technology movement.