Progressive versus Liberal. Does it Matter?

In one of the blogs there seems to be a discussion about the terms "progressive" and "liberal," and which is the better one to use.

Sitakh prefers embracing the term "liberal." Others like myself prefer "progressive." What do you prefer and why?  Is there even a difference?

Tags: Ideology, labels, rhetoric (all tags)

Comments

11 Comments

It's Big Enders v Little Enders, surely?

Each word has loadsa history, and can bear limitless parsing.

For all practical purposes, discussion of the choice is a waste of time.

I prefer lefty - which cuts the Gordian knot, is snappier - and quicker to type, too!

by skeptic06 2006-10-13 11:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Progressive versus Liberal. Does it Matter?

I think I made my point pretty clear in the discussion with Sitkah over in the Tester thread. But suffice it to say, I prefer progressive because I feel it signifies a movement more than the word liberal AND for the electoral purposes that HoosierJosh2 (did HoosierJosh get banned?) mentioned.

Liberal signified a movement in the 19th century when modern Democratic governments were taking hold and were trying to end absolute power from monarchies. It meant liberalizing society and freeing it from the constraints placed on it by a rigid class, caste, and religious oligarchy. We've moved beyond that. We have universal suffrage. Now it's time to progress towards a better life for all people and a better planet in which to live. Progressive fits the movement better than liberal.

by adamterando 2006-10-13 12:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressive versus Liberal. Does it Matter?

I've heard intelligent arguments for both, but I think most of us have settled on the term progressive.  If anyone asks me the difference between a liberl and a progressive, I heard  a story that illistrates the difference between the old liberalism and the new progressive movement.  Feel free to use it.


A liberal is walking down the street.  He Sees a homeless person that everyone else walks past.  He feels sorry for him and decides to give him 5$ and moves on.  A Progressive sees the same man and hands him a card with his address and says, "if you're in need of some work come to my house tomorrow.  I'll give you a hotmeal and 50$ to do some yard work.  If you perform well, I'll have more work for you the next day".  Then, finally, a conservative sees the homeless guy.  He then punches the homeless guy in the gut, kicks him in the teeth, spits in his eye, and says, "Get a Job ya Bum!"

I added the last part about the conservative, I'm still trying to figure out where I heard the original story though.

by maddogg 2006-10-13 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressive versus Liberal. Does it Matter?

I added the last part about the conservative

Could it be because your progressive is usually the conservative in the story?

Liberals denying they are liberals and calling themselves progressives is like undertakers calling themselves funeral directors.

Nothing whatever is changed except further debasement of an honorable position.

Be proud of what you are and you will gain respect.  Be ashamed and you will be shamed.

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-10-13 02:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressive versus Liberal. Does it Matter?

You're acting like conservatives care.  They don't.

by maddogg 2006-10-13 03:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressive versus Liberal. Does it Matter?

I want to beat everyone who thinks this matters with the biggest stick I can find.  Including myself for even bothering to post this.

by ahisma 2006-10-13 02:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressive versus Liberal. Does it Matter?

I like progressive because progress is inherently a good thing.  I like progress, and I want to be associated with it.  

The problem with liberal is that it approprately applies to only a narrow part of our ideology.  Sure, liberal means you're accepting of gay rights.  But does "liberal" actually convey a desire for strict environmental regulation?  What are "liberal" gun laws?  Or "liberal" food safety laws?  It makes no sense whatsoever.  

by paul minot 2006-10-13 07:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressive versus Liberal. Does it Matter?

Whether you call yourself "progressive" or not, Republicans are going to call you "liberal" anyway. And for as long as that term is acknowledged by many Democrats to be an attack on them, Republicans will have the advantage.

"Conservative" was once a term Republicans ran from -- until they got smart and rehabilitated it. Now some misguided Democrats even try to use it to describe themselves (i.e. fiscal conservative).

For their own sakes, Democrats should put positive spin on the term "liberal" rather than running from it like cats from a broom. But failing that, they should at least not help Republicans use it as a scarlet letter to brand all Democrats by denigrating the term themselves.

by Sitkah 2006-10-13 10:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressive versus Liberal. Does it Matter?

Whether you call yourself "progressive" or not, Republicans are going to call you "liberal"

Democrats...should at least not help Republicans use it as a scarlet letter to brand all Democrats by denigrating the term themselves.

Precisely.

Liberals could start telling the truth by not pretending the kid flipping hamburgers at McDonald's is middle class.

Words matter.

So does truth though there is as little regard for the truth these days as there is for modesty.

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-10-14 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Progressive versus Liberal. Does it Matter?

the kid flipping hamburgers at McDonald's

That image belongs in a Norman Rockwell painting. Now there are big machines which cook and flip the burgers -- and the machine is operated by immigrant workers.

by Sitkah 2006-10-14 01:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressive versus Liberal. Does it Matter?

That image belongs in a Norman Rockwell painting. Now there are big machines which cook and flip the burgers -- and the machine is operated by immigrant workers.

There are probably more immigrants in your neck of the woods.  

We are the new kids on the block here since we arrived over a quarter century ago and had a fellow tell us about a dairy his ancestors ran in the 18th Century.  There is nothing there now.  A 200-year depression makes the area - ummm - picturesque but is not overly promising for immigrants.

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-10-15 02:45PM | 0 recs

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