A brief definitional note.

March 5, 2010

Dear everybody,

It seems like there is some confusion coming in from all reaches of the political spectrum as to what it means to be a progressive liberal, so here’s my view in brief.

Liberalism is not a lifestyle.  It’s an ideology.  It’s based on humanistic principles – liberty and equality.  If you stick a “neo” in front of it or qualify it in some other way, it stops being liberal.  A politician who disavows being a liberal is probably telling the truth.  It’s not a club.  It’s not about winning the competition on who can be the most politically correct.  It’s not new.  It’s what free democratic societies are founded on.  It’s not nationalist, but if your country merits it, it is patriotic.

Progressivism is not a cult.  It’s a political orientation.  It’s an effort to reflect liberal principles to political outcomes.  It’s not communism.  It’s practical, but it doesn’t compromise its principles, ally with whoever is in power, or constantly settle for the easy only-slightly-less-evil outcome, because progressivism seeks positive movement – it doesn’t settle for the status quo.
It’s not partisan, except to the extent that a particular party is progressive.  Progressivism isn’t monolithic; it’s not about adhering to a political doctrine – it’s about leveraging common ground.  It’s not about weakness, or being nice to people whose agenda harms others.  It’s not about staying above the fray, keeping one’s hands clean and staying on the sidewalk while getting nothing done.  It’s not about meekly accepting whatever the future might bring.  It’s about shaping the future together.  Progressivism pushes forward deliberately.  It’s aim is to improve society.

That’s all.

-Brendon

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