Here’s another term that the Democratic Party has claimed as its own to replace the label worn for years by Democrats: Liberal. Liberals and liberalism have a demonstrative meaning in American society that all understand. That label in the past has represented a political philosophy that many have agreed with but have seen tire in the last decade or so. A new label was needed, so they grabbed one: Progressive. No longer do they consider themselves liberals. They are now Progressives. What’s the difference?
Liberals like to tell others the progressives have moved the old ideals of liberals up a notch — to a much better, more sensitive, caring, and more understanding and inclusive place. I recently heard that “move” described in this way: “Liberals took ownership years ago of a specific set of political ideas and operations. They stagnated there. We Progressives have started where liberals stopped and have steadily moved the bar forward in every way for citizens of every kind. We’ve been moving forward steadily, but we’re bettering our World.” Huh?
First a quick Sociology lesson: One cannot consider themselves or their philosophies “better than” without putting another person or their philosophies down. Simply considering oneself a Progressive does not necessarily change a thing. I happen to agree with those liberals that most of them have changed. I disagree that those changes are progressive. In fact I feel they are exactly opposite: they do not improve anyone, but simply promote the seeded liberal idea of decades to show Americans that they (liberals) know more than non-liberals do and therefore are superior. Those who call themselves Progressives simply feel THEY are better than liberals! Same song….second verse.
In researching this sociologically political pivot, I came across an interesting writing from one who considers themselves a Progressive at the expense of Liberals. This is from Michael Schwalbe during Barack Obama’s first run for the White House against Senator John McCain. Please enjoy:
“You might be a Progressive if:
• You think health care is a basic human right, and that single-payer national health insurance is a worthwhile reform on our way toward creating a non-profit national health care service.
• You think that human rights ought always to trump property rights.
• You think U.S. military spending is an obscene waste of resources, and that the only freedom this spending protects is the freedom of economic elites to exploit working people all around the planet.
• You think U.S. troops should be brought home not only from Afghanistan and Iraq, but from all 130 countries in which the U.S. has military bases.
• You think political leaders who engage in “preemptive war” and invasions should be brought to trial for crimes against humanity and judged against the standards of international law established at Nuremberg after World War Two.
• You think public education should be free, not just from kindergarten through high school, but as far as a person is willing and able to go.
• You think that electoral reform should include instant run-off voting, publicly-financed elections, easy ballot access for all parties, and proportional representation.
• You think that electoral democracy is not enough, and that democracy must also be participatory and extend to workplaces.
• You think that strengthening the rights of all workers to unionize and bargain collectively is a useful step toward full economic democracy.
• You think that as a society we have a collective obligation to provide everyone who is willing and able to work with a job that pays a living wage and offers dignity.
• You think that a class system which forces some people to do dirty, dangerous, boring work all the time, while others get to do clean, safe, interesting work all the time, can never deliver social justice.
• You think that regulating big corporations isn’t enough, and that such corporations, if they are allowed to exist at all, must either serve the common good or be put into public receivership.
• You think that the legal doctrine granting corporations the same constitutional rights as natural persons is absurd and must be overturned.
• You think it’s wrong to allow individuals to accumulate wealth without limits, and that the highest incomes should be capped well before they begin to threaten community and democracy.
• You think that wealth, not just income, should be taxed.
• You think it’s crazy to use the Old Testament as a policy guide for the 21st century.
• You believe in celebrating diversity, while also recognizing that having women and people of color proportionately represented among the class of oppressors is not the goal we should be aiming for.
• You think that the state has no right to kill, and that putting people to death to show that killing is wrong will always be a self-defeating policy.
• You think that anyone who desires the reins of power that come with high political office should, by reason of that desire, be seen as unfit for the job.
• You think that instead of more leaders, we need fewer followers.
• You think that national borders, while sometimes establishing territories of safety, more often establish territories of exploitation, much like gang turf.
• You are open to considering how the privileges you enjoy because of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and/or physical ability might come at the expense of others.
• You believe that voting every few years is a weak form of political participation, and that achieving social justice requires concerted effort before, during, and after elections.
• You think that, ideally, no one would have more wealth more than they need until everyone has at least as much as they need to live a safe, happy, decent life.
• You recognize that an economic system which requires continuous expansion, destroys the environment, relies on rapidly-depleting fossil fuels, exacerbates inequality, and leads to war after war is unsustainable and must be replaced. Score a bonus point if you understand that sticking to the existing system is what’s unrealistic.”
Thank you, Mr. Schwalbe. Folks, what you read above is their OWN definition of Progressive-ism, not mine. If I did not know before reading this what it was, I would state it is a definition of a Socialist spouting the ideals of Socialism. After reading this I re-state my conviction that these are NOT progressive thoughts or ideas. They are those of liberals and liberalism. I refuse to call any Leftist Progressive. As I stated above, I think this political, social, and economic philosophy is regressive and if left to its ploys will destroy the United States from within. (In just 8 years Barack Obama did a pretty good job getting the “train to destruction” on track)
In closing remember this one thing: inside the political theory detailed above, there must be someone or some group who is in control of the determination of fairness in every level of life. Leftist Liberals love that idea because their utopian world is one where they are totally in charge, make every necessary decision for all those in THE World, and no one has permission to disagree — a totalitarian society. That’s Progressive? For whom? Elitists only. The remainder of the nation live to please the gods of Liberalism.
There is NOTHING Progressive about this theology. It is control humanization in its worse form: for it to thrive people must have the ability (given by a ruling class and totalitarian government) to squeeze out and destroy any semblance of entrepreneurship, exceptionalism, free enterprise, and representative democracy. That in NO way is progressive.