20
   

What does the word 'progressive' mean? Line up to tell me, take a ticket!

 
 
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Tue 15 Dec, 2015 03:17 pm
@Thomas,
Nobody is perfectly liberal or perfectly conservative either and you could just as easily find instances of liberals not being liberal or conservatives not being conservative. Labels are imperfect and indicate general trends not unwavering convictions.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Dec, 2015 03:23 pm
@joefromchicago,
I think there is some truth to this, in that "liberal" has had a greater lifetime of derogation by conservatives than has "progressive" as a label in the US and many might prefer the label less laden with such negative meaning but I also think it is gaining favor vs the "liberal" label because it is just a more straightforward antonym to conservativism and because it more clearly characterizes their viewpoint as positive (progress inherently being seen that way in this view).
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Dec, 2015 03:31 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
Progressive politics [...] from a linguistic perspective is not seen as very different, it's just a better antonym for conservative than "liberal" ever was

That may be true in the world of words, but not in the world of facts to which words refer. There's only one way (or very few ways) for things to stay as they are, so "conservative" is a relatively precise term. But there are uncountably many ways for things to change. Some of them constitute progress, some of them don't, and people disagree which are which. Consequently, the word "progressive" is vacuous in a way that "conservative" isn't. And while "liberal" may not be quite as precise as "conservative" because the concept of liberty is somewhat disputed, it's not nearly as vacuous as "progressive" is.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Dec, 2015 04:17 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
That may be true in the world of words, but not in the world of facts to which words refer.


There is no such one world that is the one true definition of words.

Quote:
There's only one way (or very few ways) for things to stay as they are, so "conservative" is a relatively precise term.


This is one interpretation of conservativism but it can also include people who want to change things to the way they were.

Quote:
But there are uncountably many ways for things to change. Some of them constitute progress, some of them don't, and people disagree which are which. Consequently, the word "progressive" is vacuous in a way that "conservative" isn't.


Only if you narrowly define conservative to desire no changes whatsoever, while in practice this is rarely the case and it is a push/pull in particular general directions.

Quote:
And while "liberal" may not be quite as precise as "conservative" because the concept of liberty is somewhat disputed, it's not nearly as vacuous as "progressive" is.


I suppose this vacuousness is in the eye of the beholder, I do not see it this way but also think that reasonable people can disagree on that, owing to how they define things differently and there not being one canonical definition for all.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Dec, 2015 05:03 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Hmmmm, it almost seems as if we disagree. Worse things have been known to happen.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Dec, 2015 05:11 pm
@Thomas,
Yeah, no biggie, labels lend themselves to disagreement particularly well.
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2015 12:37 am
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

Yeah, no biggie, labels lend themselves to disagreement particularly well.

Your disagreement is not about label. It's about whether or not a general direction for progress can be objectively defined, or whether it's in the eye of the beholder.

I vote the latter. We don't know a priori if moving in a certain direction is beneficial or not. Eg globalization comes with more erosion of cultural diversity, more polution, more global warming, which may ultimately doom this global civilization we're trying to build.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  3  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2015 02:54 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Thomas wrote:

ossobuco wrote:
What does the word 'progressive' mean?

The statement "I am progressive" means: "I am for things getting better and against things getting worse." Of course, the question is what constitutes "better". Since it appears that nobody can agree on a definition, I have concluded that the word "progressive" means nothing in particular at all; it just sounds good.



I see your point, but generally speaking it is a word that makes sense to reasonably politically educated people in discussion. It's value laden but not useless...except maybe in the US
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2015 02:56 am
@Thomas,
When you say liberal do you mean classic liberalism, or the us version?
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2015 02:58 am
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

But isn't getting tough on Mexicans an old school point of view in this example? Even if it is a proposed change it is a proposed change in a different direction (toward greater tribalism, toward the past).


Would definitely be regarded as non progressive where I come from. Getting tough on banks is mother's milk to progressives here.
Builder
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2015 03:12 am
@Thomas,
Quote:
Ask anyone trapped in a vicious cycle of ever-increasing interest, ever-increasing debt, and ever-deteriorating credit. Banks have engaged in all kinds of shady practices in the run-up to the Great Depression. And the resulting misery has fallen disproportionally on middle-class and poor people.


Thankyou, and I see a parallel with nations "trapped" in never-ending debt by the same means; the IMF has a lot to answer for, when we consider their practises with developing nations (and old ones as well).

0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2015 04:57 am
@dlowan,
So, even though it seems conservatives and progressives would likely agree that these are progressive values, it still seems very loosely defined.

As does liberalism.

Conservatism, with the preference to stay the same, is a bit easier to gauge.

Who decides which path of change qualifies as the progressive path?
0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2015 08:48 am
This is one tough assignment to explain this term.

I'll attempt to do so with this analogy that pertains to the environment - power plant/carbon impact issue:

Progressives in USA can be distinguished by the means with which they want to employ gov't or tax dollars to resolve high priority issues. How many progressives would view how to use science and modern technology may be a way of distinguishing between say a progressive and a conservative. A contrasting comparison often times can help determine the relative differences and understand a bit better.

A progressive might want to use newer , perhaps scientific, means to solve a high priority issue (let's say pollution/global warming). For example, progressives may want to put high tech scrubbers on smokestacks of coal-fired power plants to reduce carbon impact. Challenging the status quo ...and bypassing the objections due to increased initial large investment outlay to look to the long-term reduction of carbon particles/carbon impact into the environment. Hoping for the increase in quality of life and a eventual reduction in healthcare costs.

As opposed to conservatives, who will want to build more coal-fired plants to reduce the cost of energy, thinking that there's little damage caused by the coal-fired plant regardless what scientists have said...and reduce the cost of power and keep those corporate giants rewarded and employment higher - even if it's temporary...to maintain status quo.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2015 09:49 am
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
When you say liberal do you mean classic liberalism, or the us version?

I mean "promoting human freedom", independent of any particular country. Some policies, like mandatory health insurance, reduce the freedom of some humans to increase the freedom of others. That's when liberals-as-in-social-democrats disagree with liberals-as-in-libertarians. But for the purpose of distinguishing the word "liberal" from "conservative" and "progressive", I don't think that's a distinction I need to go into.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2015 10:04 am
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
I see your point, but generally speaking it is a word that makes sense to reasonably politically educated people in discussion. It's value laden but not useless...except maybe in the US

It's not the US, it's me. I know what politically-educated people are trying to say when they use the word. I just don't like the word because I have a literalist mind and because literally, the word "progressive" means nothing and practically, it means whatever politics the New York Times editorial board happens to favor that day. That's why I don't use it myself, except for the specific purpose of disparaging it.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2015 10:19 am
@Thomas,
Since you mentioned the NYT:
Quote:
[...]Part of the problem with “progressive” comes from the bastard nature of English vocabulary. We know what transgress, aggressive and progress mean. But if someone asked us, “Gress much?” we’d draw a blank. Gress, like “mit” in transmit, isn’t a word. Gress comes from Latin gradus, for “go,” and thus “progress” breaks down as “forward-go.” Or at least it did to an Ancient Roman. Latinate words’ meanings are often less immediately precise to us than those from English’s original Anglo-Saxon rootstock. If our word for progressive were something like “go-forward-ive,” Gallup pollsters would find people less ambivalent.[...]
Source: The Dreaded P-Word?
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  3  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2015 10:24 am
@Thomas,
Quote:
I just don't like the word because I have a literalist mind and because literally, the word "progressive" means nothing and practically...


Yet you like the word "liberal" any better?

The word "liberal" has changed around, and has had as many different meanings as the word "progressive". No one who is called a "liberal" nowadays in the US is spouting Adam Smith...

Words have meaning inside of a cultural context. They are constantly changing. If you are going to truly be a literalist, I think you would have to stop using words altogether. Within our 21st centural American cultural context, I think everyone on the right and the left has a common understanding of what "progressive" means. If you asked 1000 random Americans to choose the progressives in the current presidential race, there would be a very strong agreement regardless of the political views of the respondent.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2015 10:29 am
I agree with Thomas. It's an overused word that I don't like much. It's birth in American politics started early in the last century with a wing of the Republican party then headed by Robert LaFollete, a movement that Theodore Roosevelt at first embraced but finally rejected. Though not nearly as ambitious in its philosophical pretentions as Marxism, it was simply more of the tiresome bullshit of that small slice of humanity that truly believes it (alone) knows what is good for evreryone else and is determined to use government power to make them do it.
0 Replies
 
revelette2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2015 10:48 am
So you guys want us to stick with liberal, can't make a claim to be a progressive to brush up on our image? I say, if I want to call myself a progressive I will, but I usually don't. I just say I am liberal democrat and stick with it. Not that I agree with the whole platform, but it comes closer than any other label.

In today's US political understanding, I would think a progressive is just one who wants to promote all of our fellow man equally by giving them the opportunity to do well. Least that is my understanding of it.
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2015 12:09 pm
I think I'll go back to independent. Wink. ..small "i"
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, EVERYONE! - Discussion by OmSigDAVID
WIND AND WATER - Discussion by Setanta
Who ordered the construction of the Berlin Wall? - Discussion by Walter Hinteler
True version of Vlad Dracula, 15'th century - Discussion by gungasnake
ONE SMALL STEP . . . - Discussion by Setanta
History of Gun Control - Discussion by gungasnake
Where did our notion of a 'scholar' come from? - Discussion by TuringEquivalent
 
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.05 seconds on 06/21/2021 at 02:48:52