People often ask what, exactly, do progressives believe? Over the past few years, we’ve worked with a great group called the American Values Project, representing a cross section of leaders from think tanks, philanthropic organizations, and environmental, labor, youth, civil rights, and other progressive groups, to try to distill progressive beliefs and values into clear language in one digestible resource.
The result of this collective effort is called Progressive Thinking: A Synthesis of Progressive Values, Beliefs, and Positions. The document is free and we encourage you to read, review, critique, and pass it around to others. As the handbook states, the central progressive message is one of fairness and equality:
Our approach is simple to summarize and is built upon the ideas of generations of progressives from Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama: everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does his or her fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules. As progressives, we believe that everyone deserves a fair shot at a decent, fulfilling, and economically secure life. We believe that everyone should do his or her fair share to build this life through education and hard work and through active participation in public life. And we believe that everyone should play by the same set of rules with no special privileges for the well-connected or wealthy.
The book is divided into sections outlining the overall progressive story, foundational beliefs about government, the economy, and national security, and the application of this framework to contemporary issues. It also includes a number of useful speeches and essays that show progressive values and beliefs in action throughout our nation’s history.