“Radical middle” views of law, psychology, and the legal profession

Mark Satin is a noted political writer and lawyer, a one-time 60s activist whose worldview now resides in what he calls the “radical middle.” Mark’s Radical Middle newsletter (1999-2009) and book (2004) (pictured above) have been informed by perspectives and positions such as such as these:

  • One-world citizenship.  A commitment to overarching human values and to a cosmopolitan identity as world citizens.
  • Business and law.  A recognition that what’s going on in certain boardrooms and law offices today may be more important — and more promising — than what’s going on in the traditional political arena.
  • Consciousness.  A recognition that values, virtues, attitudes, religion, and culture may have more to do with individual happiness — and social progress — than economic growth.
  • One-world compassion.  A refusal to accept that the well-being of people in Rumania or Nigeria or Malaysia is any less important than the well-being of people in Arizona.
  • Ambition, achievement and service.  In the Sixties it was a badge of honor to drop out.  The strategy backfired.  Today most socially committed young people are rushing to become doctors, lawyers, businesspeople, social workers, academics, and that is — or can be — a good thing.

Relevant articles

Here are six of Mark’s extended newsletter commentaries on topics especially relevant to this blog:

Personal side

Some 20 years ago, when I was a young instructor in the first-year Lawyering Skills program at New York University, Mark’s name popped up on my class list. I had been a subscriber to his previous newsletter, New Options, and soon would learn that he closed it down and decided to pursue a law degree.

We became friends and stayed in touch after I moved to Boston to accept a tenure-track appointment at Suffolk University Law School. Eventually I would join the board of the non-profit organization he established to host the Radical Middle newsletter. After a few years, we had a friendly parting of the ways when I felt that my political views were further left to the middle ground he was defining.

Fast forward to today: Although I identify myself as a liberal, Mark’s ideas have had a strong impact on me, to the point where I’m as comfortable in his defined radical middle as I am in the heart of mainstream liberalism. I am in agreement with him more often than not, and in any event I respect the voice he brings to our political and social discourse. Mark is working on a memoir these days, and I look forward to its publication.

One response

  1. Pingback: In new civil rights ‘spiritual biosphere,’ election puts America’s churches in crossfire | Center on Social Minimalism

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