Perhaps our democracy and politics would improve if we consciously modelled them more after evolution. Evolutionary development is simultaneously conservative, liberal, and progressive. Conservative in the sense that successful forms of development are conserved in lower levels of organization which support higher levels of current development. Liberal in the sense that unfolding development occurs by an open and free pursuit of better adaptations. Progressive in the sense that conservative and liberal processes combine in producing ever-progressing forms of life.
Certainly there are particular subforms of “conservative” or “liberal” or “progressive” politics that are not easily compatible. But the underlying impulses of each political movement have important contributions to make to a stable yet evolving society. Conservatives tend to recognize the need for society to conserve inherited social traditions and systems which order our shared life together. Liberals tend to see the need for society’s traditions and systems to change to meet unfolding challenges by the free pursuit of new advancements. Progressives tend to recognize the need for society to change in the pursuit of justice and equality for all its members.
Partisans only see the value in their own political impulses without seeing the value in others. Political myopia, taken to an extreme, threatens the balance of values that sustain our society. There is no inherent conflict between conservative, liberal, and progressive processes in evolution. They coordinate in the unfolding drama of life. Could we collectively embrace an eclectic politics which affirms our need for conservative, liberal, and progressive values? Could we embrace an “evolutionary politics” which coordinates multiple social values and impulses for the sake of sustaining a thriving society?