The common good
Pluralism is connected with the hope that this process of conflict and dialogue will result in a quasi-common good. This common good is not an abstract value or set in stone, however, but an attempt at balancing competing social interests, and will thus constantly shift given present social conditions. Proponents in contemporary political philosophy of such a view include Isaiah Berlin, Stuart Hampshire and Bernard Williams. An earlier version of political pluralism was a strong current in the formation of modern social democracy (to balance socialist and capitalist ideals), with theorists such as the early Harold Laski and G. D. H. Cole, as well as other leading members of the British Fabian Society. In the United States, President Eisenhower's "middle way" was arguably motivated by a belief in political pluralism.
While advocated by many pluralists, pluralism need not embrace social democracy given it does not a priori assume a desirable political system. Rather, pluralists advocate one based on the pre-existing traditions and cognizable interests of a given society, and the political structure most likely to harmonize these factors. Thus, pluralists have also included Michael Oakeshott and John Kekes, proponents of something close to liberal conservatism (although will often reject such political labels). What pluralists certainly do have in common is the notion that a single vision or ideological schema, whether Marxism or unbridled neoliberalism, is likely too simplistic and rigid to advocate human beings' natural plurality of values. Pluralists likewise reject historicism and utopian thinking. While some, like John N. Gray, repudiate historical progress altogether, others, like Edmund Burke, indicate that human progress has occurred, as a function of improved social harmony.