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Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:27 AM

 

What is the difference between the terms "liberal" and "progressive" in American politics?

71 replies, 7185 views

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Reply What is the difference between the terms "liberal" and "progressive" in American politics? (Original post)
UnrepentantLiberal Dec 2012 OP
MineralMan Dec 2012 #1
MrYikes Dec 2012 #2
tama Dec 2012 #19
MissMillie Dec 2012 #32
annabanana Dec 2012 #3
Freddie Dec 2012 #15
leveymg Dec 2012 #52
socialist_n_TN Dec 2012 #69
KittyWampus Dec 2012 #58
H2O Man Dec 2012 #4
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2012 #9
JaneyVee Dec 2012 #11
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2012 #30
H2O Man Dec 2012 #28
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2012 #31
H2O Man Dec 2012 #36
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2012 #50
H2O Man Dec 2012 #53
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2012 #57
H2O Man Dec 2012 #64
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2012 #70
PETRUS Dec 2012 #65
UnrepentantLiberal Dec 2012 #12
H2O Man Dec 2012 #68
UnrepentantLiberal Jan 2013 #71
Bluenorthwest Dec 2012 #20
UnrepentantLiberal Dec 2012 #25
Bluenorthwest Dec 2012 #37
UnrepentantLiberal Dec 2012 #45
H2O Man Dec 2012 #29
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2012 #34
Bluenorthwest Dec 2012 #39
H2O Man Dec 2012 #67
H2O Man Dec 2012 #66
Romulox Dec 2012 #41
H2O Man Dec 2012 #48
Romulox Dec 2012 #55
H2O Man Dec 2012 #56
Romulox Dec 2012 #60
H2O Man Dec 2012 #63
coalition_unwilling Dec 2012 #42
H2O Man Dec 2012 #44
NRaleighLiberal Dec 2012 #5
kentuck Dec 2012 #6
hlthe2b Dec 2012 #10
xchrom Dec 2012 #7
UnrepentantLiberal Dec 2012 #14
LineLineNew Reply .
NRaleighLiberal Dec 2012 #21
xchrom Dec 2012 #24
JaneyVee Dec 2012 #8
Fumesucker Dec 2012 #13
Freddie Dec 2012 #16
Bad_Ronald Dec 2012 #23
UnrepentantLiberal Dec 2012 #26
proud2BlibKansan Dec 2012 #17
HereSince1628 Dec 2012 #18
NRaleighLiberal Dec 2012 #22
Warren Stupidity Dec 2012 #27
randr Dec 2012 #33
Gidney N Cloyd Dec 2012 #35
mmonk Dec 2012 #38
Recursion Dec 2012 #40
timesamillion Dec 2012 #43
leveymg Dec 2012 #54
woo me with science Dec 2012 #46
LWolf Dec 2012 #47
UnrepentantLiberal Dec 2012 #49
Kalidurga Dec 2012 #51
KittyWampus Dec 2012 #59
Romulox Dec 2012 #61
JReed Dec 2012 #62

Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:29 AM

1. You'll get a different answer from everyone.

There are just no solid definitions.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:32 AM

2. This is a really great question and timely.

So let's try to have a serious discussion. I am stupid so I won't say much but I will be reading all of it.

And if it needs said, I'll say it.....
Pretty Please.

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Response to MrYikes (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:06 AM

19. What is not stupid

 

is not denying stupidity and being aware of it, and being willing to listen and learn. That is not stupidity, but wisdom.

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Response to MrYikes (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:38 AM

32. Not "stupid"

try "ignorant on the subject."

There are a many topics on which I can plead "ignorance," but I would never consider myself stupid.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:33 AM

3. "Progressive" is the term that had to be pressed into service

after the John Birch Society, with the assistance of the CorpoMedia poisoned the word "liberal".

"Liberal" has since redeemed itself somewhat.

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Response to annabanana (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:57 AM

15. Correct

Progressive became the favored term when the Repugs turned "liberal" into an insult. Kinda like the word "entitlements" which really means "you paid for it so you're entitled to it" and they turned it into something those lazy moochers get.

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Response to annabanana (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 03:23 PM

52. The term Progressive goes back to the turn of the 20th Century. It denoted substantial reform

based in social science research and (for its day) advanced administrative approaches that expanded the scope and functions of state agencies and of the courts. John Dewey and William Brandeis are famous progressives.

In international affairs, some early progressives, including Mark Twain and Wisconsin Governor LaFollette, were associated with the socialist international and anti-Imperialist movements - however, other pioneers of progressive governmental reform, such as Teddy Roosevelt were enthusiastic Imperialists, and Woodrow Wilson came to embody Liberal Internationalism, which is uncomfortably close in effect to Imperialism.

After World War 2 we see the real split between the Liberal (Truman) and Progressive (Henry Wallace) wings of the Democratic Party at the dawn of the Cold War, with the former blacklisting and all but driving out the latter. The Progressives didn't reemerge into the Democratic mainstream until the Vietnam War when the term began to be used to differentiate the Democratic Left from the more centrist LBJ loyalists, most of whom were self-identified "liberals".

More recently, the term Neocon came to identify a group of Reagan Democrats, many of them enthusiastic supporters of Israel, who while moderate or liberal in their domestic social views, endorsed Cold War confrontation and an activist military intervention approach to foreign affairs.

Another cross-current are the Neoliberals, who represent an internationalist orthodoxy of free trade and restrained regulation of finance and the flow and accumulation of capital across borders. Almost all mainstream politicians in both parties, and globally, are neoliberal.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #52)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:09 PM

69. That's a pretty good definition there levey.......

At least it squares with the way I think of this question. The only thing that I can think of to add is that a "liberal" is an enthusiastic supporter of the capitalist system and a "progressive" is not necessarily so. Of course many "progressives" ARE supporters of capitalism, but ALL liberals are supporters where progressives CAN be anti-capitalist.

And in truth, the terms are used almost interchangeably nowdays because of the way the term liberal had been trashed by the neo-cons and neo-liberals.

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Response to annabanana (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 06:59 PM

58. Actually, Liberal is actually a terribly non descriptive term. It means UNREGULATED.

In European politics liberal means unregulated markets.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:34 AM

4. The correct historical definitions:

Liberals want to fine-tune the American system, believing it can be expanded to meet the basic needs of all citizens.

Progressives are to the left of liberals; they believe that the system needs serious foundational changes, in order to create a society that meets the needs of all citizens.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:44 AM

9. As a liberal that ...

believes in a need for foundational changes to the current structure, I lean more towards Anna's definition.

I think many former Liberals are identifying as Progressive for the same reason republicans are identifying as Independents ... they perceive the brand as tarnished and wish to distance themselves from the brand.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #9)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:48 AM

11. Not me. I wear Liberalism like a badge of honor.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #11)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:32 AM

30. As do I. n/t

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #9)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:21 AM

28. When the ancient

philosopher Confucius was asked what he would do, if he had unlimited political power, he answered that he would insist that people use words correctly. That would still seem a worthy goal.

An interesting question: who benefits from the confusion caused by words being used in incorrect ways? Certainly not the individual who, not knowing the correct meaning, uses words improperly -- for that person is making a sincere attempt to communicate.

In many ways, the example of LBJ works for illustrating the difference between liberal and progressive. His "Great Society" was a wonderful liberal concept, and if not for Vietnam, he'd have been ranked as among the very greatest of US Presidents. But the war existed, and there can be no long-lasting great "war on poverty" while a war economy rules. Even today, the very best social programs (social security and medicare & medicaid) are being threatened.

Even LBJ's VP, HHHumphrey -- a great liberal -- would lose a close 1968 election because of his refusal to divorce LBJ's Vietnam policy.

More, two great liberals -- MLK and RFK -- would undergo a transformation circa 1966-'67, and become real progressives, intent upon changing the foundation of American society. Their visions threatened the empire. Even today, the true nature of their lives haunts America to the extent that, say, the King holiday attempts to place Martin on a stained-glass window, which is bought by the consumers of holiday sales.

The roots of the progressive movement in our industrial society can be traced to the railroad workers' unions, after the Civil War. This was, of course, the infamous Gilded Age, where political-industrial corruption shocked society, as it was darned near as corrupt as it is today. More, it is no coincidence that some of the leading voices were Irish-American women. This movement would be targeted by the industrial powers, with both extreme violence and coordinated efforts to discredit its members as "un-American." By the end of WW1, for example, progressives were identified as dangerous socialist.

I am not providing the accurate definitions with any intent to place a "value" judgment on anyone's political-social beliefs. Both are good. The combined efforts of liberals and progressives offers our nation's best -- indeed, only -- hope for the future.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #28)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:37 AM

31. Let me chew on that ...

At first blush, I'm inclined to accept it.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #31)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:08 AM

36. One of the most

interesting examples is found in Dr. King. His work in the Civil Rights movement was enough, on its own, to rank him high among great Americans. He harnessed the Power of Truth. And, of course, he made himself the target of the hate-filled extremists, particularly in the south, who would purposely try to distort the meaning of the Civil Rights movement.

But the "powers that be" were not threatened by integration, which was merely the idea that black citizens deserved full access to full participation in American society. Integration merely meant more workers, more consumers, and more soldiers for foreign wars. These people did not worry about seating on buses, or at lunch counters, or in public restrooms, etc. For they were not "public" people. The idea of everyone having access to "Fun Town," public parks, and public pools didn't concern them -- for they owned huge estates, with private pools, and enjoyed an exclusive life-style.

In 1966, King had connected racism with militarism. Then, on April 4, 1967, he delivered what I believe is the greatest American speech -- "Beyond Vietnam (A Time to Break Silence." It pin-pointed those connections between racism, militarism, and industrial-consumerisim. This scared the powers that be. Then, King proposed the "Poor People's Campaign," and that was so revolutionary a concept, that it threatened to knock the fuzz clear off the peach of the elite. It connected American society with the global community. Hence, others besides Hoover and red-necked sheriffs began an intense attempt to disrupt and destroy King and his plan.

We cannot return to 1968, of course, but all of us -- liberal and progressive -- should consider King's final year as "required reading & study" for 2013.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #36)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 02:59 PM

50. Funny, you mention Dr. King's "transformation" into a "real" threat ...

I wrote a paper about just that while in undergrad. In the paper I, also, connected Robert Kennedy and, believe it or not, Jesse Jackson's first Presidential run versus his second campaign. The main thesis was, as you mention, integration was not a threat to the PTB's agenda; but when societal figures begin to connect the socio-economic dots, they meet up with a bullet to the brain, or some tragic auto accident. Bottom-line ... racism and all the other "isms" are merely a symptom of the larger disease that plagues society.

How I wish we had thumb-drives back when I was in college, rather than carbon-copies (that no one thought about until years after the paper had been submitted and forgotten.)

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #50)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 03:48 PM

53. Jesse's runs -- and

particularly the first one -- was a great example of how a progressive could bridge the gap .....not only between progressives and liberals (a relatively small gap), but also between a progressive the media identified as "radical," and poor and working-class whites.

It's a curious thing that here on DU, I've read so many anti-Jesse posts over the years. It is more important to focus on what he accomplished, at a time when it was deemed "impossible," rather than his individual personality. Both of Jesse's campaigns opened a door that could have led to significant gains for liberals and progressives. The heads of the Democratic Party were surprised by his strength in the first run, then united to try to stop him the second time. The excuse at the time was all about McGovern in '72, which was clearly a distinct set of circumstances.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #53)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 06:57 PM

57. I comletely agree ...

My Professor, however, did not.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #57)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 08:38 PM

64. You were right.

Over the years, here on DU, I've wrote about the 1988 Democratic Primary, and events in that Boston park between Jesse and Michael D. By any objective measure, Jesse had earned the right to -- at very least -- be seriously considered for the VP slot. But that power-brokers in the party, who recognized that Jackson had the ability to expand the Democratic Party in a more significant way than any other politician in this era, feared what that meant to their security in the plush and comfortable offices.

While I don't know Jackson personally, I've been in the same room with him a few times, and my good friend Rubin knows him well. (Jackson was a Carter supporter, even when it wasn't popular.) He understood what Martin intended with the Poor Peoples Campaign. He could have brought far, far more of the people of all colors and belief systems into the party. More, he had far more appeal among the working-class republicans that heard his message, than Reagan enjoyed among "Reagan democrats."

I was one of many in that park that July 4th, when Dukakis snubbed Jesse and his many supporters. At the time, he led Bush the Elder in the polls. Shortly after that, he fell to obscurity.

There are many who recognize that President Obama, like the rest of the country, owes Rev. King for opening the small doors in the '50s and '60s, that led him into the Oval Office in 2008. Fewer seem aware of the vital contribution of Jesse Jackson. Again, I do not know him, so my view isn't based upon like or dislike of his personality. But I have great respect for him, based upon his dedication and accomplishments.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #64)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:18 PM

70. Jesse Jackson's key phrase ...

"we may have come here on different shis; but we are all in the same boat."



Many heard and apreciated his message.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #36)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 08:53 PM

65. I was pleased to stumble across this subthread

Happy New Year to you, 1StrongBlackMan, and everyone...

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:49 AM

12. I've never thought of liberal philosophy as far as how it relates to governing this country.

 

I've always said I'm a liberal because of what I believe. (Environmentalism, civil rights, marriage equality, women's rights, etc.)

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #12)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:01 PM

68. Interesting.

You list four very important "causes." They are all things that I have worked on for decades. It seems difficult to image how one advocates for environmental issues in a manner beyond personal/family choices, while not connecting them with politics.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #68)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 04:45 PM

71. Of course I connect them with politics.

 

I was merely saying that I hadn't thought much about the origins of the word "liberal". (Maybe I didn't make that clear.) That's why I read nonfiction and post to discussion forums. To be educated. Would you rather I claim to know everything?

I do appreciate the work you've done to advance these causes.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:09 AM

20. Amazing, you offer the actual definition, and instantly folks come to say 'I don't like the real one

so I use another'. Make hopes that people might learn the history of both words in our politics seem like a pipe dream.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #20)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:16 AM

25. I wasn't questioning the definition,

 

I was saying I hadn't thought of it like that. Amazing how you jump to conclusions.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #25)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:09 AM

37. I actually was not referring to you, so I guess your leap is also amazing.

I support what H2OMan is saying here. Words mean things, and those meanings are important. On DU, there are some who want to make one or the other of those words into a slur, they use the words in air quotes thusly "Progressives" or "Liberals" but usually it is progressive that is the word placed in quotes, the writers snarling their contempt for that which in fact is really themselves. When attempts to educate about actual language and definitions are made, this is a challenge for those who want to divide and disparage to use one or the other of two perfectly fine words as an insult. I have read, on DU, and I kid you not, posters snarling that they are liberals and they 'thank God I'm not a 'progressive'" which to me is a pile of nonsense unless one is seeking to use the term 'progressive' to mean something other than what it actually means.
I totally like that you posted this, it is an important conversation because many seem to think liberals and progressives are something other than nuanced terms that could, should and actually do apply to most DUers at various times around various issues. Anyone who can look at the Republican Party and feels the need to quarrel with other Democrats because 'I'm a progressive and they are a liberal' is not being helpful to our mutual goals and objectives.
Hope that clears it up. I just don't care for seeing Democrats attack Democrats over words that are not well understood, which is why I like this thread and your question very much.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #37)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:33 AM

45. Then it was ME who jumped to conclusions.

 



Excellent post. I couldn't agree more.

And for comic effect we have the guy with "progressive" in his handle who said in a post that he is a "moderate".

I've always been fascinated by words and their meanings. One of the best books I've read was about word roots. It sounds like it would be boring but it wasn't. Our language carries within it a history of conquests. The English language is a combination of languages used by the tribes who sacked England.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #20)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:29 AM

29. Thus, the question becomes:

Who benefits from the confusion of the true meaning of words?

Because words have power. Used properly, it's the positive Power of Ideas. Used improperly, we see the negative power of confusion.

At least 90% of the confusion (fighting) on this forum is rooted in that confusion. For just one example, the good and sincere liberals here see the good that President Obama is doing, in an attempt to make our society fairer to all -- in the face of the corporate attacks on democracy.

The good and sincere progressives frequently focus upon where President Obama either fails to address specific issues, or in areas like the "patriot act," cooperates with those who are opposed to democracy.

Liberals and progressives can (and should) be the right and left hands of a powerful, whole movement. Instead, small and often false differences divide us.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #29)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:48 AM

34. Very astute ...

the good and sincere liberals here see the good that President Obama is doing, in an attempt to make our society fairer to all -- in the face of the corporate attacks on democracy.

The good and sincere progressives frequently focus upon where President Obama either fails to address specific issues, or in areas like the "patriot act," cooperates with those who are opposed to democracy.


and well phrased. It got me to thinking that many/most, on whatever side of the Liberal/Progressive divide (including myself), use the oposing term as some kind of pergorative, and the term they apply to themselves, as a badge of honor.

With fresh eyes, I will stop.

BYW, Welcome to my Seek-out and Read list.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #29)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:17 AM

39. Republicans benefit from that confusion.

When one set of Democrats is snarling at the other based on 'I'm a progressive and you are a liberal' that is to me, insanity, confusion and intentionally done by the right wing to seed divisions among Democrats. There is so much confusion about those and other terms that I see people spewing venom at 'liberals' or at 'progressives' when they themselves are exactly that which they are disparaging.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #39)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 08:58 PM

67. Yep, definitely.

There may even be a few conservative, corporate non-republicans who prefer to keep people divided. And such divisions are always made by way of appeals to people's lowest levels of thinking: ignorance, fear, and hatred.

In truth, neither the true liberal agenda or progressive agenda stand a snowball's chance in hell, without cooperation and coordination of efforts with one another.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #20)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 08:53 PM

66. The nature of

the forum has been pretty grumpy & nasty recently. I think the OP asked a solid question, and so I contributed the correct answer. Some, like yourself, are already as familiar with that, as I am ..... and equally familiar with the negative potential of both mis-using words, insulting others who hold slightly different viewpoints, and the like.

There is one prime example of such a specimaniac who has "replied" to me several times here, who takes it from "I don't care," to attempting to create disharmony. Since my New Year's Resolution for 2013 is to be nice to everyone for the rest of 2012, I've gently tried to get him to do more research than simply reading two sentences from an internet-wiki site.

But overall, the OP/thread seems like one of the more pleasant I've seen in weeks.

Thanks for your contributions here. And I'm wishing you & yours the best in the new year!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:23 AM

41. That's simply incorrect. Downthread, someone has the historical definition of "liberal":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism

Classical liberalism

Classical liberalism is a political ideology, a branch of liberalism which advocates civil liberties and political freedom with limited government under the rule of law and generally promotes a laissez-faire economic policy.

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Response to Romulox (Reply #41)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 12:39 PM

48. A wonderful example

of how the lack of knowledge about the meaning of words causes confusion, and results in misunderstanding. Thank you.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #48)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 05:19 PM

55. LOL. You used a term incorrectly, and then proceeded to lecture others ad nauseum.

A wise man admits mistake. You?

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Response to Romulox (Reply #55)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 05:29 PM

56. Yes. My mistake

was to assume that you were making a joke with your previous post.

Apparently, neither history nor reading comprehension are your strengths. The "wki" definition below in no manner contradicts what I wrote.

"Lecture"? You are funny, if unintentionally.

Happy New Year to you.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #56)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 07:04 PM

60. A "laissez-faire economic policy" is the economics of the hard right, for a start.

You wrote: "Liberals want to fine-tune the American system, believing it can be expanded to meet the basic needs of all citizens. "

That simply can't be squared with:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism

Classical liberalism

Classical liberalism is a political ideology, a branch of liberalism which advocates civil liberties and political freedom with limited government under the rule of law and generally promotes a laissez-faire economic policy.


You answer is simply historically incorrect.

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Response to Romulox (Reply #60)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 08:25 PM

63. If we were to

follow your line of what is substituted for logic, then (classical) liberalism would equal the economics of the hard-right. I suspect that, for everyone but you, that highlights the dangers found in taking short-cuts -- ie, basing your position on a couple lines from wiki -- to rational thought. The line of thinking that some of the examples given is pretty close to the libertarian school of thought.

Should you go further in your studies, you will find a whole bunch of early liberals -- that do include some of the Europeans -- who were without question the very people who's thinking and actions led directly to what we think of as liberalism. One could start, for example, with the NYC attorney Henry Morgan, the primary influence on Engel's thoughts on family structure.

My answer was, of course, absolutely correct. I know what I'm talking about, and could -- as I've done with others on this very thread -- go on and on, with fascinating examples that provide valuable insight. If you were polite, I'd be more than happy to provide you with enough information that even you could contribute to this discussion in a meaningful way ..... rather than huffing and puffing and especially bluffing.

However, as you seem intent on being silly, let's provide everyone with a real giggle: why don't you name the five Irish-American women from 1875 to 1910, that you believe were most influencial in forming the liberal ideology that flowered under FDR and, to an extent, LBJ? Once you answer this, I'll be glad to continue talking with you. Fair enough?

Be good.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:24 AM

42. What's the difference, then, between a "Progressive" and a "Revolutionary"? Not

 

tbat I place much stock in labels, mind you, preferring instead to look at words and actions as they relate to advancing the interests of the working class.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #42)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:29 AM

44. In the context

of this discussion: a progressive holds certain beliefs; a revolutionary acts upon those beliefs.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:37 AM

5. Always an interesting discussion topic. Some dictionary definitions -


liberal

adj
1. relating to or having social and political views that favour progress and reform
2. relating to or having policies or views advocating individual freedom
3. giving and generous in temperament or behaviour
4. tolerant of other people
5. abundant; lavish: a liberal helping of cream
6. not strict; free: a liberal translation
7. of or relating to an education that aims to develop general cultural interests and intellectual ability


progressive

adj
1. of or relating to progress
2. proceeding or progressing by steps or degrees
3. ( often capital ) favouring or promoting political or social reform through government action, or even revolution, to improve the lot of the majority: a progressive policy
4. denoting or relating to an educational system that allows flexibility in learning procedures, based on activities determined by the needs and capacities of the individual child, the aim of which is to integrate academic with social development
5. Compare regressive (of a tax or tax system) graduated so that the rate increases relative to the amount taxed
6. (esp of a disease) advancing in severity, complexity, or extent
7. (of a dance, card game, etc) involving a regular change of partners after one figure, one game, etc
8. denoting an aspect of verbs in some languages, including English, used to express prolonged or continuous activity as opposed to momentary or habitual activity: a progressive aspect of the verb ``to walk'' is ``is walking.''

n
9. a person who advocates progress, as in education, politics, etc
10. a. the progressive aspect of a verb
b. a verb in this aspect

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:38 AM

6. None except..

the right-wing media has not yet bastardized the term "progressive" to the extent they did with the term "liberal". But give them time...

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Response to kentuck (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:45 AM

10. This is my impression as well....

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:40 AM

7. in the spirit nraleighliberal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism

Classical liberalism

Classical liberalism is a political ideology, a branch of liberalism which advocates civil liberties and political freedom with limited government under the rule of law and generally promotes a laissez-faire economic policy.

Classical liberalism developed in the 19th century in Europe and the United States. Although classical liberalism built on ideas that had already arisen by the end of the 18th century, it advocated a specific kind of society, government and public policy as a response to the Industrial Revolution and urbanization. Notable individuals whose ideas have contributed to classical liberalism include John Locke, Jean-Baptiste Say, Thomas Malthus, and David Ricardo. It drew on the free-market economics of Adam Smith and on a belief in natural law, utilitarianism, and progress.

The term classical liberalism was applied in retrospect to distinguish earlier 19th-century liberalism from the newer social liberalism.

There was a revival of interest in the ideas of classical liberalism in the 20th century, led by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, who argued that government should be as small as possible in order to allow the exercise of individual freedom. Some call this modern development "neo-classical liberalism", because it holds political views similar to classical liberalism. Others use the term "classical liberalism" to refer to all liberalism before the 20th century, not to designate any particular set of political views, and therefore see all modern developments as being, by definition, not classical.
Libertarianism has been used in modern times as a substitute for the phrase "neo-classical liberalism", leading to some confusion. The identification of libertarianism with neo-classical liberalism primarily occurs in the United States, where some conservatives and right-libertarians use the term classical liberalism to describe their belief in minimal government and a free-market economy.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #7)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:53 AM

14. The definition of liberal is quite different in England.

 

Wikipedia is based in England.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #7)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:10 AM

21. .

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Reply #21)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:16 AM

24. ...

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:40 AM

8. All Progressives are also Liberal but not all Liberals are also Progressive.

Hope that clears it up.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:50 AM

13. "Progressive" has not yet been fully demonized?

Not for lack of trying but it's a more recent term so the propaganda effort has not yet had as long to work.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #13)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:59 AM

16. Believe me they're working on it

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #13)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:16 AM

23. ^This^

 

Starting in the 1980's, Republicans & talk radio RW blowhards have successfully redefined that word to become synonymous with "tax-and-spend, anti-defense,ivory tower anti-Americanism". Unfortunately, rather than fight back, many liberals response to this was to duck for cover & relabel themselves "Progressives".

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Response to Bad_Ronald (Reply #23)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:19 AM

26. Not me.

 

(You left out "tree hugger".)

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:01 AM

17. Liberal is a noun and progressive is a verb

Liberal is who we are. Progressive is what we do.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:06 AM

18. "progressive" emphasizes the notion that progress can and should be made

"liberal" emphasizes openness to change and tolerance of more expansive viewpoints that make consideration of progressive action possible.

They aren't exactly mutually exclusive

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:11 AM

22. I've noted that Thom Hartmann seems to use the term "progressive" more often. n/t

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:19 AM

27. Hubert Humphrey and George McGovern. nt.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:42 AM

33. Liberals know the direction we need to move

Progressives are willing and able to go there.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:57 AM

35. 17, 18, & 33 work for me.


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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:12 AM

38. Both terms are meaningless.

Neither exists in terms of power very much.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:21 AM

40. Originally, "progressives" were Republicans and northern Democrats around 1900

They started out supporting some particular issues like women's suffrage, temperance, child labor laws and labor reform, etc. They also believed in what was called "corporatism", that is to say, enlisting businesses and associations in effecting social change. Progressives include Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and, oddly enough, the last Progressive (in that sense) President was Herbert Hoover (who was not the President a lot of us seem to think he was). Progressivism also had some racial problems; there was always a tinge of anti-semitism (think Henry Ford), and the 1920s incarnation of the KKK was "progressive" (this is the Klan that was big in Indiana, for instance, and mostly agitated against alcohol and southern European immigrants). FDR ran as a Bourbon Democrat as opposed to the Progressive Democrats like, wait for it, Strom Thurmond.

The new sense of "progressive" was coined by "new Democrats" who didn't like the label "liberal". I associate its popularization with James Carville's book "We're Right and They're Wrong: A Handbook for Spirited Progressives", but it probably had a lot of use before that in the 1980's.

I'm wary of the term, personally.

"Liberal" is a problematic word, since for most of the world it means largely the opposite of what it does in the US. In the US, "liberal" means statist economic policies and individualist social policies. Our social policies don't really have analogues in other advanced countries, so they just hear us call US Democrats "liberal" and scratch their heads (the UK press in 2008 were looking at the collapsing economy and writing about "the failures of liberal economics", which in turn caused head-scratching on this side of the pond).

On a separate note, conservative political philosopher Noah Millman suggests "progressive vs. conservative" is one spectrum of political thought, and "left vs. right" is another: progressives like to make new institutions and get rid of old ones; conservatives like to adapt existing institutions (there are, in that usage, progressives and conservatives on both the right and the left). I think this definition is very useful, but it hasn't really caught on.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:25 AM

43. Do we not like Daily Kos here?

Because there was a great discussion about this over there in the comment section:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/02/28/466044/-Progressive-vs-Liberal-What-s-In-a-Name#

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Response to timesamillion (Reply #43)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 03:50 PM

54. That was posted in 2008. Too late to comment, I'm afraid. ;-)

I have to disagree with Matt Ygelsias on this one. Liberal means technocratic pragmatists of the John Dewey type, Cold War liberals like Hubert Humphrey and bland party apparachiks, such as Walter Mondale to me. I'll take the crusading Left Progressives and Anti-Imperialists, activists and fighters such as General Carl Schurz, Governor LaFollette and Henry Wallace.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:51 AM

46. Corporatists are busy with propaganda to try

to recast everything formerly understood to be liberal and progressive as "fringe." Meanwhile, they describe themselves as proud liberal or centrist Democrats while espousing policies that are not even moderate, but extreme corporatist and right-wing.

Indefinite detention, "kill lists" and drone wars, pre-emptive war as administration doctrine, spy centers for mining or surveillance of all phone calls and email without a warrant, internet IDs and internet-censoring measures like ACTA, military drones in American skies, coordinated violent crackdowns against peaceful protesters, strip searches for any arrestee, bailouts and settlements for corrupt banks, and austerity budgets in an economy that has already impoverished its middle class.....

These are not moderate or centrist positions. Not by a long shot.

They are extreme corporatist, neocon, and police state policies, not "centrist" or moderate at all. And they are minimized, rationalized or even defended every day here by Third Way posters who claim to be liberals.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:57 AM

47. There are some good points made upthread.

I'd point out that economic and social liberalism are not the same things. While the political term "liberal" is tossed around as if "liberals" were all pot-smoking commune-promoting hippie communists, to be economically liberal is today's "neoliberal:" a dlc/centrist/3rd way/"new dem"/ corporatist.

To be progressive, without the political baggage, is to move forward with change.

We know that the term "progressive" has been used to replace the term "liberal" scarred and stained by propaganda. What is a political progressive?

It's interesting. If I respond to a survey that asks me my political leanings, "progressive" is defined as "very liberal."

Then I remember that the DLC's think tank is the "progressive policy institute."

That's why the neoliberal agenda has been able to thrive in the Democratic Party; they use "progressive" to convince the masses that they aren't what they are.

Which is why I won't claim either label; both have been corrupted beyond what I'm willing to own.

I'll just say I'm part of the American left-wing, which is, in a global context, not all that left-wing, that used to be welcomed here at DU.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 12:53 PM

49. Speaking of twisting the meaning of words for political purposes...

 

I had no idea I was on the "far left".

http://www.businessinsider.com/gop-fiscal-cliff-offer-chained-cpi-2012-12

-snip-

Obama said on Meet The Press that a Chained CPI is an example of something he could get behind (in terms of spending cuts) that showed he was serious about not giving into the far left of his party (the left wing hates the idea of a chained CPI).

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 03:18 PM

51. I don't think there is much difference in terms of philosophy...

But, I think of liberals as people for whatever reasons aren't very political, such as a few of my instructors in college. I think it's mostly a time factor.

And I think of progressives as being professional liberals, they are political and devote a large chunk of their lives promoting a progressive agenda.

I think we need both. Liberals that aren't involved in politics on a daily basis and do other work for a living can give progressives an outside perspective and progressives can further the liberal agenda because they devote a lot more time to politics.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 07:01 PM

59. Liberal simply means progressive & isn't specific. In Europe, Neo-Liberal means unregulated markets.

Progressive implies movement & evolution.

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #59)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 07:07 PM

61. "Neo-liberal" means the same thing in the United States. That's because it's very close to

the definition of "classical liberalism".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism

Classical liberalism

Classical liberalism is a political ideology, a branch of liberalism which advocates civil liberties and political freedom with limited government under the rule of law and generally promotes a laissez-faire economic policy.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 07:17 PM

62. History has clouded what liberalism actually is

 

Liberalism: the hard and soft sides of the coinage of social control

Explaining liberalism to North Americans is a thankless and possibly futile task, but it is one that must be attempted for clarity's sake.

Liberalism is a theory of political economy that arose in Great Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries. Its principal inspirations were Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and John Locke (1632-1704). It emphasizes individualism, human avarice, the "virtue" of competition and the "justice" of the marketplace. It opposed feudalism and mercantilism. It sought to replace the traditional landowners with the rising commercial and manufacturing classes.

It sought to liberate capital, not people (and especially not women, slaves and propertyless males).

Liberalism is the foundational ideology of the United States. American Conservatives (aka Tories or Loyalists) were expelled to Canada, the Caribbean or sent back to England. The USA (a few southerners excepted - until the Civil War) began, and remains a homogenously liberal society.

What, exactly, is liberalism?

Here's what classical liberal economist Adam Smith (1723-1790) said:

"Whenever there is great property, there is great inequality. For one very rich man, there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the rich supposes the indigence of the many, who are often driven by want, and prompted by envy, to invade his possessions. ... Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all."

Liberal utilitarian Jeremy Benthan (1748-1832) added this:

"In the highest state of social prosperity, the great mass of citizens will have no resource except their daily industry; and consequently will always be near indigence ... uman beings are the most powerful instruments of production, and therefore everyone becomes anxious to employ the services of his fellows in multiplying his own comforts. Hence the intense and universal thirst for power; the equally prevalent hatred of subjugation. ... When security and conflict are in conflict, it will not do to hesitate a moment. Equality must yield."

This means that, in liberal societies, the rich are pitted against the poor, gaining their wealth by appropriating the work of others; and it means that government is in "business" to protect the ruling class.

Today, of course, there are two kinds of liberals. Soft-hearted liberals live mainly in the Democratic party. They sometimes toss crumbs to working and middle class people. In a pinch, they will do bad things reluctantly, but they will do bad things nonetheless, to protect the ruling class as we are seeing in today's politics.

Hard-hearted liberals live mainly in the Republican party. They do bad things gleefully, and never toss crumbs. They try to get racists and religious fundamentalists worked into a frenzy to oppose soft-hearted liberals, to protect the ruling class.

They are the good cops and the bad cops, the soft and hard sides of the coinage of social control.

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