The Politics of Dignity

Hardcover $27.00
200 pages
ISBN: 978-1-63331-035-3
Release date: January 21, 2020

Ebook $16.99
ISBN: 978-1-63331-071-1

Media Inquiries: Kris Pauls,

The Politics of Dignity

An Agenda to Unite America's Moderate Majority

Kerry Murphy Healey

Rejecting the extreme policies and divisive rhetoric of both the left and the right, tens of millions of moderates are seeking a more uplifting and unifying vision for America. Cross-partisan grassroots movements, like Issue One and RepresentUS, are battling to defend democratic institutions. And in Congress, new bipartisan centrist coalitions like the Problem Solvers Caucus and the ReFormers Caucus are gaining momentum and clout. Yet, as the writer David Brooks has said, today’s moderate movement lacks a “magnetic idea.” If we want to mend our splintered system, these brave new centrists need a foundational principle that animates their policies—and organizes their agenda—into a positive, clear, unifying program of forward-looking change.

In this pathbreaking book, former Massachusetts lieutenant governor and Babson College president Kerry Murphy Healey argues that respect for each person’s human dignity is that missing principle. By placing human dignity at the center of our national policy debate, Healey lays out a new agenda to acknowledge and address the legitimate grievances underlying today’s toxic political polarization. Along the way, a focus on dignity can help us build stronger communities—and with them, a more tolerant, socially cohesive, and respectful America.

The importance of dignity as America’s guiding principle can be traced back to our nation’s Bill of Rights. Our Founding Fathers’ views on equality before the law, limitations on arbitrary or cruel punishment, the right to self-government, and even the right to declare independence from British tyranny, were grounded in an understanding of natural law, which dictates that each person possesses an equal measure of inalienable human dignity that government must respect. By remembering to champion that same dignity today, centrists can break free of the polarizing dogma promoted by America’s two-party duopoly and embrace policies that unite us across geographical, racial, economic, religious, and educational divides.

The Politics of Dignity shows how a focus on respecting dignity naturally leads to innovative centrist policies in six core areas:
• commitment to national service,
• reforming and preserving free markets,
• aligning jobs and education,
• enhancing emergency preparedness and community resilience,
• reimagining health care delivery,
• and protecting our democratic institutions.

Healey highlights novel programs in these areas that are already bringing promising results, as well as the courageous leaders pushing for positive change.

Most Americans would like to put the inflammatory rhetoric and extreme policies of both parties behind us, allowing our country to reclaim its place in the world as a beacon for moral leadership, economic opportunity, freedom, democracy, and innovation.

Engaging, constructive, and deeply hopeful, The Politics of Dignity reconnects us with the best in ourselves, and with the nobility and originality of the American experiment.

Kerry Murphy Healey

About The Author

Dr. Kerry Healey has three decades of experience in public policy, politics, academia, government service, and philanthropy. From 2013 to 2019 she served as the first woman president of Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, the top-ranked college for entrepreneurship education, where she focused on affordability and access for promising young global entrepreneurs. She launched free online entrepreneurship education that reached more than 200,000 people in 200 countries and territories worldwide.

Prior to her tenure at Babson, Healey served from 2003 to 2007 as the 70th lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, where she championed bipartisan health care reform, protections for victims of domestic violence and child abuse, increased penalties for drunk drivers, greater access to drug treatment, Recovery High Schools, and improved services for homeless families.

After leaving office, Healey was appointed to the US Department of State’s Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan and founded a nonprofit organization to educate Afghan lawyers and judges at US law schools. In 2012, she served as a senior advisor and foreign policy coordinator on the Romney for President campaign. Healey has been a fellow at both the Institute of Politics and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School, is a member of the Harvard Belfer Center’s International Council, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Healey holds an AB in Government from Harvard College and a PhD in Political Science and Law from Trinity College Dublin. Healey, who grew up in Daytona Beach, Florida, is the grateful daughter of Ted Murphy, a WWII veteran, and Shirley Murphy, a public school teacher, and is the proud mother of Alex and Averill.

Return to Books