Third Way Perspectives
Archive for the ‘General Interest’ Category
July 8th, 2013
Only 8 1/2 years after opening our doors, Third Way was honored by Prospect Magazine—Britain’s leading monthly current affairs magazine—as the 2013 North American Think Tank of the Year for our, “original, influential, and rigorous work on the most pressing challenges facing people, governments, and businesses.” Below you will find Third Way President Jon Cowan’s acceptance speech. You can also view photos of the ceremony or read Mike Allen’s write up in POLITICO.
On behalf of everyone at Third Way, I want to thank you for this incredible honor.
As an American, it’s always humbling to speak in London. After all, the Royal Society has been an organization longer than we’ve been a country. But this is the perfect setting for these awards. The Royal Society has always had subversion at its heart. This is the native home of rebels, misfits, and revolutionaries.
As you know well, it is from this Society’s lectern that Ben Franklin first told the world about his kite. That Watson and Crick told the world about DNA. That houses, a few floors from here, a piece of the tree from which Sir Isaac Newton’s apple fell. These are people who were willing to challenge the established order of everything. Who had the daring to see beyond conventional wisdom—to imagine, to question, and to create—all in the name of moving the human race forward.
The only part of science where this impulse has been rare is political science—especially as it is practiced today. It makes all of us susceptible to heroes from the past. For me, the names I can’t get out of my head are not American, but British: Harold Macmillan…Anthony Eden…Duff Cooper…Bob Boothby…”Bobbety” Cranbourne…Ronald Cartland…Harold Nicolson…and Leo Amery.
In the best history book I have read in a decade, author Lynne Olson calls them what Macmillan called them: Troublesome Young Men. For years, I was led to believe that Winston Churchill was a lone voice crying out against appeasement in the late 1930s. Instead, it was this group of young Tories—all members of the old boys society—who came together to oppose men they had gone to school with . . . to push Churchill forward . . . and bring down a prime minister of their own party. They were called traitors—to their friends, their government, their class and their country. The Lord Chancellor said they should be shot and hanged. But in the end, they were right. Their subversion helped save Britain—and all the world. Read the rest of this entry »
November 6th, 2012
This piece was originally featured on Al Jazeera.
It was partly a personal victory. American voters like Barack Obama. Mitt Romney, not so much. Romney came across as an opportunist. He was a moderate when that was required in Massachusetts, and he was a “severe conservative” when he ran for the Republican nomination. In the end, voters just didn’t trust Romney
What about the issues? The economy was a huge burden for President Obama. That’s why the election was so close. It was by far the biggest issue to voters, and those concerned about the economy did vote for Romney. But not by a huge margin. Obama benefited from the fact that a lot of voters still blame President Bush for the financial crisis. And from the fact that people believe the economy is beginning to turn around. Obama sells hope, and there’s still a lot of hope out there. Read the rest of this entry »