I am, and have been for quite a while now, truth be known, a progressive liberal.
No, I am not a “classical liberal,” since that implies something has changed since the words’ first invocation. Nothing has changed. Wicked people are still twisting language; and idiots are still falling for it.
Let others defend their moniker or change it – I am a Progressive Liberal.
“Progressive” as in “progress,” from the Latin progressus – to move forward as opposed to backward; and “liberal” from the Latin liberalis – liberty, bountiful, befitting a free man.
People like John Locke described “Liberalism,” like “libertarian” and “liberation,” as freedom from political oppression, and as the right to life and property; as opposed to the Divine Right of Kings. To liberals of even as recently as a century ago, liberalism was advanced through the Rule of Law, which meant that nobody, including the King, was above a uniform, equal application of law. All (meaning all humans) were to be treated as equals under law. No special categories or classes whatsoever.
We still use liberal that way when speaking of other nations. For instance, when China liberalized trade, that meant their government relaxed its iron grip on it. When the former Soviet-socialist nations liberalized, they adopted free market and personal rights reforms.
That is liberalism, by history, etymology, and all but the most silly, recent, and USA-only use. It is the opposite of authoritarian socialism.
People like Immanuel Kant invoked “Progressivism” as movement away from barbaric authoritarianism, and toward peace and technological progress. Moving forward meant moving away from almighty government and its tribal-drum-beating conformists. Experimentation and progress requires freedom, you know. So “Progressive” and “Liberal” really go together very well in their proper use.
“Conservatives,” on the other hand, had always rejected notions of classless individualism and egalitarianism, and promoted hierarchy under a distinct ruling class; and often hereditary at that.
So, where are we today? We have hereditary rulers, practically speaking. We definitely have a ruling class we’ve empowered over almost every physical aspect of our lives; even allowing them to determine the value of our currency. You and I have no “rights” they cannot seize for any number of political whims. “The Patriot Act,” and other similar euphemysticism, is all about gutting the rule of law and everything our founders, as well as thinkers like Locke and Kant were all about. With something cynically deemed “historic” every day now (literally historic, as in regressing to pre-Hammurabic barbarism), we’ve become lock-stepping, militarized, book-burning fascists.
I do not use that word “fascist” lightly or without cause. Look up how Mussolini defined his corporatist variation of socialism, and you’ll see that the USA is and has been for some time, fascist. Mussolini himself declared FDR a fine fascist.
I wish I were making that up.
But even “fascist” is just a repackaging of humanity’s ancient default state of brutish-dumb, tribal, Obey-The-Alpha authoritarianism. Probably the best term for this is Regressive Conservatism, since it’s what we fall back to when we stop fighting what’s most stupid in all of us…
Since Republicans like Teddy Roosevelt started a “Progressive Movement” in the USA, “Progressive Liberal” in modern parlance has become genuinely regressive conservatism.
In other words, our use of those labels has almost completely flipped. I say “almost” because “conservatism” now means close to the same thing as it did before; which is to say it means the same thing as “progressive liberal” does to most people today.
In other-other words, what we now call “liberal,” “progressive,” “conservative,” “Democratic” or “Republican” all means the same thing: stone-age authoritarianism, self-aggrandizing tribalism, misguided technology, and perverted “science.” The supposed opposition of the various incorporated factions are based upon false dichotomies that work very well to manipulate y’all (our language’s only distinct second-person personal pronoun) and distract you from the massive corruption that’s lining the rulers’ pockets and consolidating their power.
Words are important. Words start and end wars. Words are laws and contracts. Words can bring tears of happiness, or pain. How we use words can wound or heal or kill or repair. Words can enslave, and words can set free.
I think it’s time we reclaim our language. We must start using our ears to hear and our minds to discern (I should be able to say, “discriminate,” but that word has become a twisted and destructive invective of late).
And, dammit, we must speak truth to power.
I, for one, intend to use words properly. I am a true Progressive Liberal. And I’m hoping that all who see the corruption and violence we call “government” as a threat, and who seek peace (the kind without theft and explosions…you know, real peace), justice (real justice), equality (real equality) and freedom (yeah, real freedom), will also reclaim that once-honorable moniker.
And now for something that’s very “politically incorrect.”
We need to start shaming people.
It’s already happening from the other side, of course. They try to shame us for believing truth, speaking truth, or being human. More than shame us, they invoke the heavily armed might of armies, jails, cops and fines to force their politifaith upon us.
It’s time we shame them for their lies, their absurd, violent, thieving and self-destructive madness. They nullify our laws, our history, our culture. Let’s nullify their lawlessness, amoral fantasies and oppressive self-indulgence.
We have allowed too much intrusion on life, liberty, contracts and property.
So, shame on those who put their faith in politics as some benevolent god. Shame, shame on those who still intend to vote for this monstrous “Two Party System” puppet show. And shame on those whose Newspeak has made wrong right and right wrong, as nearly all of us goosestep to the precipice.
In one way or another (and I’m hoping we use the peaceful means our founders bequeathed us), what we need is another 1776 to move us forward from all this horrendous, death-spiralling, 1984.