En Tequila Es Verdad/progressive conservatism/post/2009/01/13/0850

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January 13, 2009 8:50 AM - Mike

Mike at The Big Stick said...


Thanks for stepping up to the plate.

I guess the first thing we have to assume in this debate is that we are talking about idealized versions of poltiical tendencies. We're talking about a perfect liberalism, uncorrupt and executed flawlessly. We're also talking about a perfect conservatism, free from the above as well. If the conversation devolves into liberalism and conservatism in practice i.e. Democrats and Republicans, then we end up painting both ideologies as flawed for the wrong reasons.

The simplest way I can explain my view is this: Progressivism simply means seeking change. It means acknowldging that society isn't perfect, that it is in constant motion and that we can't just put the brakes on and pretend we live in Mayberry...we must progress or die.

Where I believe conservatives and liberals differ is in the pace, scope and methodology of implementing change. A good example is education. Both conservatives and liberals have the same well-intentioned goals: good schools and quality education for our kids. We just differ on how to get there. The stereotypical liberal plan might involve more money for schools, student assignment plans and more flexibility for teachers on curriculum. The stereotypical conservative plan might be to encourage competition through vouchers or charter schools and greater accountability for teachers. In both cases the sides are seeking change away from the current system towards the same shared goal. Just different approaches. We can debate about which side is more progressive (no surprise where I stand there) but if we trust one another's goals as being similar, we're halfway there in my book.

On other issues each side has differeing degrees of progressivism. I believe conservatives are more progressive on abortion, for example, while liberals are more progressive on gay marriage.