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The terms radical centrism, radical center , and radical middle refer to a political philosophy that arose in the Western nations, predominantly the United States and the United Kingdom, 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 texts and think tanks gave the philosophy a more developed cast.

The terms radical centrism, radical center (or radical centre), and radical middle refer to a political philosophy that arose in the Western nations, predominantly the United States and the United Kingdom, 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 texts and think tanks gave the philosophy a more developed cast.

The "radical" in the term refers to a willingness on the part of most radical centrists to call for fundamental reform of institutions. The "centrism" refers to a belief that genuine solutions require realism and pragmatism, not just idealism and emotion. Thus one radical centrist text defines radical centrism as "idealism without illusions".

Most radical centrists borrow what they see as good ideas from left, right, and wherever else they may be found, often melding them together. Most support market-based solutions to social problems with strong governmental oversight in the public interest. There is support for increased global engagement and the growth of an empowered middle class in developing countries. Many radical centrists work within the major political parties, but also support independent or third-party initiatives and candidacies.

Criticism of radical centrist policies and strategies has mounted as the political philosophy has developed. One common criticism is that radical centrist policies are only marginally different from conventional centrist policies. Another criticism is that the radical centrist penchant for third parties is naive and self-defeating. Some observers see radical centrism as primarily a process of catalyzing dialogue and fresh thinking among polarized people and groups.


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