Friday, December 10, 2004

'Progressive'? Not by a Long Shot...

Self-definitions are often delusional. Human nature dictates that we see ourselves as we would like to be. Consider this definition from hyperdictionary:

Progressive:[n] a person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties.

Now who would have a problem with that? Hold on a minute, though - here is the definition of liberal from Collins Concise English Dictionary (found via the Democratic Underground):

Liberal: adj. 1. relating to or having social and political views that favor progress and reform. 2. relating to or having policies or views advocating individual freedom. 3. giving and generous in temperament or behavior. 4. tolerant of other people.

Aside from the fact that one is a noun and the other an adjective, do you see any real difference between the two? Is there any reason the Left has labeled themselves 'Progressives'*? You're smart enough to know the most obvious one - since the Reagan era, liberalism at the national level has been ballot-box poison. Did you even once hear John Kerry embrace his liberalism? I'm talking about the John Kerry whose voting record made him perhaps the most liberal U.S. Senator, the John Kerry who said in 1991 ,"I'm a liberal and proud of it", the John Kerry whose liberalism Michael Moore shouted to the rooftops in a misguided attempt to win last-minute votes. The difference between 1991 and 2004 for John Kerry was the difference between Massachusetts and the United States.

What I'm trying to refute, though, is the whole idea that 'Progressives' are progressive. If we parse our two definitions above, we find the follow mistaken notions:

  1. The 'Progressive' favors progress and reform. Examples abound of the hypocrisy of this assertion. Our current president is leading the charge to initiate real reform of the safety net and the tax code, and the liberal reaction is to deny that a problem exists. When a big corporation makes a genuine advance that could literally save the lives of millions, the liberal response is to label it 'Frankenfood'. More damning still is the 'Progressive' silence greeting the undeniable progress and reforms taking place in Afghanistan now.
  2. The 'Progessive' fights for civil liberties. Have you noticed how the Left loves everything about government but law enforcement? Security measures to avoid terrorism are not the second coming of the Nazis, as liberals would have us think. The most basic civil liberty is the right to live; the right to own property is also paramount. We live in a society that is woefully ignorant of true facism. Read a history of the Warsaw Ghetto before crying 'Nazi', folks.
  3. The 'Progressive' is generous in temperament and behavior - no need to spend long on this one. This earlier post will direct you to some of the giving, generous statements posted at the Democratic Underground in 2004.
  4. The 'Progressive' is tolerant of other people. Provided they have the 'correct' ideology (scary thought, that, if you know anything about Stalinist Russia). I've dealt with this subject at length - the Left's famous tolerance simply does not extend to those who hold conservative ideologies. For proof, you need look no further than the current liberal hate speech directed at Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and new Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

I firmly believe that most Democrats mean well and would agree that 'Progressivism' has gotten out of hand. If this is to remain a two-party country, I suggest the Dems listen a little more to Zell Miller and a whole lot less to MoveOn.Org...

* Readers of this blog will note that I always put the snarky scare quoutes around 'Progressive'. I don't accept the labeling scheme for the reasons outlined above, and because, since I am diametrically opposed to 'Progressive' policies, acceptance would mean labeling myself as 'Regressive'.

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