Having produced more history than it could ever possibly have consumed, our century was tired. It now gives way to a new century and an, as yet, undefined age. And the search is on for ways to make traditional politics work in an "Age of Transition."
Various attempts have been made over the last decade to gain a better philosophical understanding of where we are headed in the world. Today, policymakers are debating the viability of the Washington Consensus--limited government and free markets--to organize a polity and an economy. Concepts such as the Buenos Aires Consensus with its populist prescriptions are being tested in Latin America. There are also vague references to New Democrats in the United States and a Third Way in Europe.
These various efforts to think about the underpinning elements of policy development, remarkably, mostly discuss alternatives within a box. By seeking only to preserve New Deal and Great Society social programs, liberalism has become reactionary. By seeking only to end those programs and return to the laissez faire of a simpler time, conservatism has become simply nostalgic. "Moderates" seek to mediate between liberalism and conservatism searching for a pragmatic center.