In recent years, Americans have become troubled by the vivid polarization occurring in our country. This polarization is becoming rooted in our culture, sharply divided between “conservative” and “liberal.” Division in the cultural sphere drives the related political stand-off between “right wing” and “left wing.”
Polarized views never seem to be superficial when it comes to issues such as Supreme Court nominations, abortion rights, gun control or health care reform. Our personal lives, ethnic and national backgrounds, value systems and worldviews all shape our perspectives.
Political conservatives seek to preserve God-given freedoms, individual rights and responsibilities, self-reliance and free markets. They believe in America’s responsibility as a beacon of freedom and strength for those in need, both at home and abroad.
Meanwhile, liberals argue for equality in the welfare of all people, especially minorities. They believe the government must play a major role in ensuring that equality, as they do not trust powerful individuals and corporations to care for the welfare of all. They seek to make social justice a priority in economic and social policy.
However, most people do not fit perfectly with only one side, right or left, conservative or liberal.
Most people see constructive ideas in both perspectives. There is also general agreement that the more radical prescriptions of either the right or left are destructive to our society.
Introducing a ‘headwing’ viewpoint
Is it possible for a new perspective to emerge out of the left-right dichotomy? Do we agree on more than we want to admit?
And if we are not as divided as we think, is there a framework that allows us to synthesize the best ideas from both left and right into a new way forward?
We propose that there is a way to move above and beyond our present polarization.
This perspective provides a natural basis for bringing unity and shared fulfillment among people. It asks that people apply God’s love and natural law as the basis for discerning value and truth. Rev. Sun Myung Moon called this the “headwing” perspective.1
We propose that a clear “headwing perspective” will enable us to take fresh look at the vexing issues of the day such as:
- Is the Second Amendment sacred? Or can it be reformed to serve the greater good?
- What about U.S. border security?
- Can we be generous and responsible in dealing with refugees?
- Exactly where has policing gone wrong?
Applying ‘headwing’ to real life
What might be the core characteristics of a “headwing” perspective? We see seven basic principles guiding this new viewpoint:
- Every human being has divine nature. In other words, each human life is unique and equally endowed by its Creator with profound meaning, purpose, and value. Basic freedoms and public policy should uphold, protect, and promote that divinity.
- Despite having divine nature, human beings also have a contradictory nature. All scripture and most psychology fields confirm this diagnosis. Social systems must, therefore, include checks and balances, rule of law, etc., to constrain the contradictory, selfish and destructive natures within fallen humans.
- The family is the primary place where — for the benefit of human civilization — people experience and nurture relationships of love, responsibility, and service. Therefore, headwing policy upholds the value, ideals, and well-being of the family.
- All ecosystems in nature integrate the purpose of the individual and the purpose of the whole. The well-being of individuals and the community are coequal values. The tension between left and right generally stems from the left’s desire to support the “greater good” at the expense of individual rights and freedoms, while the right often seeks absolute individual freedom at the expense of strong communities and equal opportunities for all. “Headwing” policy integrates or balances the needs of individuals and communities for the benefit of everyone.
- God has been guiding advancements in human history. The result is continuous physical, intellectual, and spiritual liberation, but this has not been equally shared by cultures and nations. All of humanity deserves to benefit from providential advancements, and public policy should, therefore, respect providence and distribute its benefits generously to all.
- Ultimately, human beings alone cannot solve the world’s problems; man-made solutions alone cannot lift the weight of suffering, ignorance, and selfishness. We need to remain connected to God’s ideals. Therefore, the voice of spiritual leaders must be respected as essential to good governance.
- At the same time, the idea of human responsibility must be emphasized. We cannot passively wait for miracles from heaven. As Rev. Moon stated in a speech given at the Washington Monument in 1976, we can build the future “in God’s power, but with our own hands…” Therefore, government authority should support, not disrupt, the practice of personal creativity responsibility.
We submit these seven principles as a step toward crafting a “headwing” political ideology, and look forward to your comments!
 Rev. Sun Myung Moon introduced the idea of “headwing” thinking to steer Americans away from seeing all issues from the perspective of “left” and “right.” The term “headwing” makes perfect sense and has deep meaning. Birds have two wings and a head in the center. So, a “headwing” ideology would be in-between and above the two extremes of right and left. What would “above” mean? It would be a more vertical orientation, not visible from either wing, a way of thinking guided by spiritual principles.
Now, we ask for your help. Can you contribute to our shared understanding on this topic? We invite you to “add value” (rather than just telling us you agree or disagree). Please add a reference, a counter- argument, an insight, a nuance. Combining the “Conversation Starter” (above) with selected reader comments (below), we will eventually produce and post a “White Paper” on this important topic. The author/host will review each submission for appropriateness and relevancy before posting.