Tea Party Liberty Versus Progressive Liberty: Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

July 9, 2014 | | Huffington Post |

The savage political battle between the tea party and Progressives is much more than fodder for Fox and MSNBC. There is a deep intellectual conflict going on, and we ought to understand the ideas, even as the battle rages. It's about liberty, that most prized and abused American value.

Liberty is the touchstone of the American experience. Freedom from coercion and freedom to live as we choose drove the American Revolution, the Civil War, the New Deal, the civil rights movement and more. An enormous gap has emerged about what liberty means today. The debate drives vastly different visions of where the country is headed. What should unite us, divides us. Unnecessarily, as it turns out. There's common ground if we want to find it.

If you're willing to listen carefully to the continuing argument, you can hear a real overlap between two contending ideas, the tea party and the Progressive versions of American liberty. The differences are not small, but could, with political skill, be accommodated. It's a debate worth having, and a convergence is possible.