Thank you! I take this as a compliment.
No surprise, you take pride in that aspect of your personality and there's a lot of good reasons to, it's one of the reasons you are one of my favorite people to discuss things with most of the time.
But most people communicate very differently and in cases like this (where I am a bit less further on the autism spectrum) it can be maddening to see such a literal approach to language, which does not at all lend itself to that kind of prescriptive, gonna-ignore-what-people actually mean approach to literalism.
No. The difference is that progressives general claim that the reforms they favor do, in fact, make things better and thus constitute literal progress.
You've moved the goalposts. "Blue" does not "literally" mean "sad" (unless you, you know, accept that language is living and that yes it now does) but claimed your qualm with the term was that it does not always literally mean "progress" (in your narrow definition of it).
If your qualm is that progressives think their politics is better it still makes no sense. Everyone
says their political preference is better, that is is not objectively possible to prove says absolutely nothing about the validity of this term. None of the other terms you prefer are ANY better about this and you are moving the goalposts from that this is not "literal" enough to that they have no empirical evidence that their position is better.
Well neither do "liberals" or "conservatives" either and the validity of the definition has nothing whatsoever to do with the validity of the political positions.
The term just means people whose general political preference leans towards the social evolutions we tend to make, whether or not they are right says absolutely nothing about the validity of the word to describe a very clear and very understandable side of the political fence.
Robert Gentel wrote:
And progressive is not any more inexact than conservative [...].
I disagree, because the future states of affairs we could
create far outnumber the past states of affairs we can revert to.
And this lies in your extremely narrow and completely incorrect parsing of the definition as everyone but a few like you use it. Progressives do not support all future changes. Conservatives do not oppose all changes. This is not a literal "I like all change" and "I hate all change" meaning at all. Virtually nobody uses it this way. What these terms describe for most people is a general tendency. For example while cracking down on Mexicans might be something you here construe as a "new" change the impetus for conservatives to support this change is because they prefer the way things were in terms of less multiculturalism etc and don't like that latinos are going to outnumber whites one day.
Conservatives also don't reject all advancements and change (e.g. many adapt to new technology) and progressives do not support all change either.
Your definition is maddeningly autistic in that it flatly refuses to awknowledge that pretty much everyone uses the word just fine and understand what it means just as well as they do with "liberal" or "conservative" and you've just latched onto a very literal definition of just one of these terms.
Conservatives are often not for nature conservation, that is not "literal" either and "liberal" in the meaning of promoting liberty is as open to interpretation as well. Liberty is itself in the mind of the beholder and all liberties come at the cost of another liberty
Want the liberty to carry a gun? Well that deprives someone else of the liberty of living in a gun-free society. Want the liberty to say what you want? Then someone else may lost the liberty to not hear things they don't like.
Now it's obvious which kind of liberties I prefer (or that are "better") but to pretend that "progressive" is somehow a fatally flawed definition while "liberal" is A-OK is just silly. "Liberal" is just as open to interpretation as "progressive" and from a descriptive linguistic perspective "progressive" is much clearer than "liberal" is now (owing to less history of bastardization and evolution of the living language).
There is as much definitional conflict about both terms and both are understood perfectly well (in general terms, which is as best as these labels can hoe for) by people who don't take things to absurd literal extremes.