Radical centrism

Radical centrism (also called the radical center, the radical centre or the radical middle) is a concept that arose in Western nations in the late 20th century. At first, it was defined in a variety of ways, but at the beginning of the 21st century a number of political science texts gave it a more developed cast.[1][2]

The radical in the term refers to a willingness on the part of most radical centrists to call for fundamental reform of institutions.[3] The centrism refers to a belief that genuine solutions require realism and pragmatism, not just idealism and emotion.[4] One radical centrist text defines radical centrism as "idealism without illusions",[5] a phrase originally from John F. Kennedy.[6]

Radical centrists borrow ideas from the left and the right, often melding them together.[1] Most support market-based solutions to social problems, with strong governmental oversight in the public interest.[7] There is support for increased global engagement and the growth of an empowered middle class in developing countries.[8] Many radical centrists work within the major political parties, but they also support independent or third-party initiatives and candidacies.[9]

One common criticism of radical centrism is that its policies are only marginally different from conventional centrist policies.[10] Some observers see radical centrism as primarily a process of catalyzing dialogue and fresh thinking among polarized people and groups.[11]