The Good Society is a discussion site run by Max Rashbrooke, the author of various works on inequality and a forthcoming book on the role of government in the twenty-first century. It is designed as a space for commenting but also for discussing what we want New Zealand – and the world – to look like, both in terms of the values we have and the policies that embody those values. It is a space for robust but respectful discussion about issues that matter.
The site takes its name from American sociologist Robert Bellah’s book The Good Society, which puts active citizenship at the heart of a vision of a better world. We need to be active citizens taking part in political debate, Bellah argues, if we are to fulfil the promise of democracy and ensure that important decisions, by governments and by companies, are not taken “above people’s heads”. Political discussion is also an essential way to broaden our sympathies and deepen our understanding of what other people think and want, and thus lay the foundation for genuinely informed decision-making and voting.
In this small way, The Good Society tries to be the change it wants to see in the world, by providing something – a space for constructive discussion – that is part of any good society, however defined.