Saturday, May 2, 2009

Clinton and Communitarianism

I had the privilege of hearing former President Bill Clinton speak last night at the ACCAmerica Annual Gala (association of Corporate Counsel). I used to consider myself an intellectual, but his address really provoked my thinking. He spoke of "communitarianism", which I thought he'd made up until I did some research this morning. It turns out, that Communitarianism is a philosophy developed by deep thinkers in the 1980's (after I'd left those Ivy covered walls of College life) to reconcile the liberal and conservative thinkers, to unify the nationalists, and to recognize that if we are to move forward globally, we must accept certain basic moral principles (such as children should not have to starve because fate brings them into a nation with limited food and dirty water), and that we share common responsibility (such as addressing global climate changes).

As always, this theoretical construct had major implications in the mediation movement from my perspective. Based in part upon the Asian concepts of harmony, it seeks a balance between extreme positions, for the benefit of all. It is not to say that the philosophy favors proselytizing or converting believers, but rather a gentle, general acceptance that not all conflict must be resolved for coexistence in a world of limited resources and basic, shared, humanitarian values.

My limited research into communitarianism fascinated me and I wanted to share it with you and encourage my community of readers to look into it as a guidepost for the next century.

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