In a follow-up to my ‘What Are Conservatives Trying to Conserve?’ article I thought I would add some clarity to the other side of the argument.
Progressivism is the idea of affecting change or reform through governmental action. The general perception is that Progressivism is a far left concept; for example, the ‘liberal media’ is a term often bandied about to describe a misperceived liberal bias in news reporting. In reality, media tends to be in love with whatever sensationalist theme happens to be going around at the time. Media knows where its advertising bread is buttered. And they rarely bite the hand that feeds them. FOX is the exception. They pretend to be a ‘Fair and Balanced’ news organization but I think the bulk of the world acknowledges that they are the PR arm of the Republican Party. They distort, you abide.
Conservatism tends to take a more ‘leave us to our methods’ approach. Less government, less regulation; a more ‘everyone for themselves’ strategy. This has been bolstered historically through unbridled capitalism. And that is the American Dream, isn’t it? The émigré comes to the land of opportunity, creates a product or service and suddenly the wealth of avarice is at his (and until just recently, his) fingertips.
Here’s the problem with unbridled capitalism. The game is rigged. It’s like selling the farm and moving to Hollywood to become an actor. It’s a supply and demand issue. There are only going to be so many success stories. 99% of the rest will be failures. And most of those will be a result of the decisions of people who have already gamed the system. Unbridled capitalism also presumes that there will be an unending supply of consumers, which just isn’t the case. It isn’t sustainable. We just don’t have a planet big enough to support that philosophy. Conservative values will always be at the expense of someone else.
Progressivism is based on a ‘trickle up’ philosophy. A rising tide floats all boats, if you will. When the train comes in, everybody rides. Sorry to get carried away with the metaphors but it’s the easiest way to make my point. The flaw in conservative ‘trickle down’ Reaganomics presumes that if you reward the rich, jobs will follow. That didn’t actually happen this last time did it?
So, yes, progressivism takes on a decidedly ‘socialist’ bent. Do you have a problem with that word? The pundits of the McCarthy era used ‘communist’ as their bad word. Here is the definition off the web; “socialism is an economic and political theory advocating public or common ownership and cooperative management of the means of production and allocation of resources”.
I ask you; how innocuous is that? One for all and all for one. All of the programs I highlighted in my article on what makes a progressive President were social programs. And Obama is continuing the tradition. He got as close to universal health care as any leader ever did. It cost him. It may cost him a second term but it was a heroic fight. AND it was necessary. Good leaders do what’s right for their people. Bombing Iraq was not one of those good things.
Conservatism is exclusory; progressivism is inclusive. I will never agree to live in a world that keeps people (usually non-white) out. We all inhabit this big ball of dirt together. Progressives can never be blamed for starting class warfare. Conservatives have waged that all on their own. We will defend against it, however.