Is There a Single Phrase that Accurately Reflects the Centrist Independent Voter’s (CIVPAC’s) Political Philosophy?

The simple answer to that question is no.

The Philosophy section of the CIVPAC website lays out four key principles: economic efficiency, equity or fairness, personal freedom or autonomy, and political realism.

Broadly speaking the political theory that these principles most align with is Classical Liberalism because of its focus on the benefits of free markets and personal liberty. The history of Classical Liberalism is summarized here. It is important to note that Classical Liberalism is not the same as Liberalism or Progressivism as they are commonly understood in the U.S. In fact, the Progressive movement today is generally antagonistic toward free markets and occasionally antagonistic toward personal liberty.

CIVPAC’s policy positions also reflect a heavy dose of Cultural Liberalism reflected in CIVPAC’s embrace of the “no harm principle” that people should be free to conduct their lives as they please, provided that they do not harm others. My own view is that, properly viewed, Cultural Liberalism is included in Classical Liberalism, but not all would agree.

CIVPAC’s embrace of progressive taxation, estate taxes, and public subsidies for education and health care also reflect some degree of Social Liberalism, with an emphasis on equality of opportunity and social mobility rather than a focus on equality of outcomes. The CIVPAC policy positions reflect a recognition that when pushed too far Social Liberalism conflicts with economic efficiency, fairness, and personal liberty. My own view is that to the extent that these policies are motivated by market failures (externalities, public goods, or anti-competitive behavior) or a concern for equality of opportunity, they are a subset of Classical Liberalism. Not everyone would agree.

Finally, CIVPAC’s embrace of federalism and moderation reflect some degree of Classical Conservative principles as reflected in the work of Edmund Burke. This is nothing more than understanding that unintended consequences are inevitable and that it is a good idea to tread carefully when changing public policy and to experiment where possible before acting. CIVPAC’s policy positions reject the notion of using the coercive power of the state to enforce Cultural Conservativism.

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