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View Diary: What does it Mean to be Progressive? (76 comments)

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  •  Progressive (7+ / 0-)

    I suggest starting with Our Vision for America on Dkosopedia (the DailyKos wiki). If you feel inclined you can edit it, as well, because it's a wiki.

    There are also more details on Practical Frames for many topics.

    From my point of view, progressives are people who want our society to be better. (You make "progress" when you improve the situation.) What does it mean to be better? In almost every case this is answered by liberal political philosophy.

    Liberals are people who believe in individual freedom and responsibility. When people talk about a liberal society, they generally mean one that is fairer, more sustainable and more consistent.

    There are many threats to our freedom. Libertarians (more or less the original liberals) count government as the main and perhaps only threat. But our freedom is threatened by many things: corporate power, hereditary wealth, tradition, and many other factors. My personal kind of liberalism looks for freedom from all these dominations. That requires balance between these forces.

    Balance is what our current society is sadly lacking. You can see that in how income disparity has grown to the point of practically swamping our economy. You can see that in how militarism has been equated with patriotism. You can see that in how the climate is completely out of balance.

    Our future depends on restoration of liberalism as the primary political force. That's how we get balance back, and save ourselves from what is looking increasingly like an unbearably painful future.

    •  That's really good (3+ / 0-)

      I might throw in "populist" (a belief that the government should serve the interests of the great mass of the population, rather than a privileged elite) and "communitarian" (an understanding that humans fare better when they band together), but I think I might refer to your comment if I'm asked to define progressive versus liberal or distinguish liberals from libertarians.

      Oh, I'll write a diary. Just you wait.

      by Scott Martin on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 08:33:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Liberal Thinking

        That the idea of populist is far away from Progressive.

        I don't support your polar opposite example, but I do feel that the individual is foremost.

        Overall, my simple definition of a Progressive is the opposite of a Facist.

        Enagaged activism wins elections. 100 million words on liberal/progressive websites gets beat by one new GOP voter casting their vote.

        by Nebraska68847Dem on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 08:48:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Long As It's Progress (0+ / 0-)

        These are the kinds of ideas I think should be included in the vision. So, I'd encourage you to go there and express your opinion.

        Nebraska68847Dem has a point that populist doesn't necessarily give us progress. The Tea Party is arguably populist, but I'm not sure many would consider their ideas progressive. However, I think there is an important quality of including the desires of the people. If something isn't broadly popular, that calls into question how much of an improvement it is. There are times, however, when a great idea simply hasn't been adopted by the people as a whole.

        Thanks for your reply. Those are great additions.

        •  Populism (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Liberal Thinking

          I absolutely agree that populism has a dark side - people like George Wallace and Lester Maddox spring immediately to mind - but I think that progressivism without populism can also go off the rails.  I'd argue that economic policies of Rubin and Geithner fall into this category.

          I don't see populism as promoting broadly popular policies; rather, I see it as promoting policies that benefit people broadly.  Minimum wage laws, for instance.

          Populism does a lot of us-versus-them framing, and if you don't get the "them" part right, you end up with something that ignores the rights of minority groups - and that's not liberal.

          I maintain that you have to have all three:

          Liberal - People should be free to pursue their happiness

          Progressive - Each generation should be healthier, better educated, and have an easier life than the generation previous

          Populist - The purpose of government is to serve the people (that is, human beings)

          Oh, I'll write a diary. Just you wait.

          by Scott Martin on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 11:17:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Thinking

      for your links. I will certainly read them.

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