In the wake of the election, the Reds are claiming a victory for values, and the pundits are wondering what the Blue values are. As a native Virginian with degrees in economics and business, and a profound respect for the connections between people and nature, I’ve felt a bit like a fish out of water during this election. Are my values scarlet red or royal blue? Pink or cornflower? Ack! Isn’t this absurdly one-dimensional?

But one thing I love about transformational events like this election, is that they force people to clarify what they believe in.

  • Like others, I’ve been pondering these questions for myself, and by extension, the movement that I want to be a part of: What are my values? What kind of progress do I stand for? So I’ve put together this list – some principles for progress – in a nascent attempt to articulate them. It’s rough, but it’s a start, and I’d love to hear what others have to say. Because if we continue to live in this 50-50 red-blue land, we’ve got a long, slow, haul to a future we can be proud of. So here it goes. My kind of progress:

    • believes that the best quality life is one in harmony with the natural world;
    • knows that a good decision is one that’s good today and good tomorrow;
    • embraces basic conservative values of taking responsibility for our actions, conserving resources, reducing uncertainty and risk, building for the future, protecting rare assets, and leaving a legacy for our children;
    • values human health and human potential – so that things like clean air, clean water, clean food, and education become simple, natural rights;
    • says that "making progress" is more than just making money – it’s about achieving the fullness of human potential;
    • loves that the human drive to make progress is amazing, unstoppable, and our best hope at creating a future we can be proud of;
    • believes that one of the highest roles of democratic institutions is to structurally align the interests of individuals and the market with those of the broader community, and then let the innovators take care of the rest.

    I also believe there are tens of millions of people who hold similar beliefs (and hundreds of thousands in Cascadia alone), and, like me, are tired of their "values" being shuffled into some shade of red or blue. As Clark said in his November 5th post – most of us are more like a nice shade of purple. The trick is to clearly and consistently articulate those values, and translate them into the practical issues of the day.