From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor's rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own. Carl Schurz

Monday, April 9, 2012

How Do We Define Ourselves?

Given the ongoing dust up between the great folks over at DAMMIT JANET and the administrators of Progressive Bloggers, I have been giving considerable thought as to how to define a progressive, this has proved to be a difficult exercise. Those on the right of the political and social spectrum seem to have little difficulty defining themselves as they are prone to the hive mind mentality, those of us who think of ourselves as progressives not so much. Our diversity of thought is our strongest asset and at the same time our greatest weakness when it comes to defeating the current crop of conservatives.

This diversity also makes progressives difficult to define,  but if we are going to label ourselves then defining what that means is a must and surely an unflagging belief in defending human rights would seem to me to be the base line at which we start


  1. In many ways I think Stephen Harper has provided the current definition of progressive.

    Certainly in my early political days, amongst my socialist peers, the idea of Liberals being considered progressives would have been laughable.

    The Liberals were always much closer to the Tories than the New Democrats, which we, as socialists considered to be on the right wing of the progressive movement.

    What Harper did is move the Tories so far to the right, that the distance between Liberals and New Democrats was less than the distance between Liberals and Tories and the whole Canadian political spectrum moved rightward.

    And Voila Liberals became progressives.

  2. The definition of any ideology is general. Progressive, as it applies to a set of ideologies is naturally even more general.

    I understand the term to be the view of using government & social forces to strive for equality of opportunity in all spheres. This together with the knowledge of the effects that social influences play in our lives promote policies like education, progressive taxation, human rights, law and order, among others.

    As our society is constantly changing, those forces and their applicable policies must also change to continue ensuring equality of opportunity. This defines perhaps the most important feature of progressiveness, and that is that government and social forces constantly need to be active, whereas conservatives view the government should be almost entirely absent from bettering society.