En Tequila Es Verdad/progressive conservatism/post/2009/01/13/1301

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January 13, 2009 1:01 PM - Mike

Mike at The Big Stick said...

Woozle, thank you as well.

I think we're basically in agreement on the definition of 'progressive' and you are correct that a key point would be that change is a good thing. The only caveat I would add to that is to say it refers to necessary change and not change just for the sake of change (which I would argue is a liberal pitfall).

I think you misunderstood me on what I see is the differences between the two sides (liberal and conservative) of progressivism. Education is just one example and in that one yes, I believe liberals are more inclined to throw money around verses a free-market approach on the right. In other cases though, money may not be the key component of the solution. Immigration might be a good example of that. While it is certainly an economic problem from most angles (national security being the other major piece), I wouldn't say the liberal solution was to throw money at the problem.

Although I can't take credit, I think the best description of the differences between the two sides came from Benjamin Disraeli when he said, “In a progressive country, change is constant; and the great question is not whether you should resist change, which is inevitable, but whether that change should be carried out in deference to the manners, the customs, the laws and traditions of a people, or whether it should be carried out in deference to abstract principles, and arbitrary and general doctrines.”
I realize 'customs and traditions' is a loaded phrase that liberals especially like to jump on, but I think a contemporary reading of this is just that we conservatives want change that doesn't seek to remake our society (because we think it's basically pretty good). We also tend to think there is such a thing as an 'American way of life' however silly that may sound to ears on the Left. Of course our pitfall is often an aversion to change to the point where we make ourselves look foolish in the face of overwhelming desire for something new from the populace.

Lastly, on abortion….if we take 'progressive' to mean seeking change, then by definition the conservative position is more progressive at this point in time. The liberal line is quite clear that they want no holes punched in current abortion law, even on something as commonsense as parental notification. Simply, there is little or no wiggle room on the Left. To the contrary there is a growing conservative voice (I would contend a majority) that is willing to compromise to achieve at least partial goals. For example, many of us are willing to make the Big Three exceptions(rape, incest, health of the mother) across all three trimesters. Right now, that is bending farther than liberals will on the issue. There is also a smaller faction of conservatives that might be willing to give up a first trimester ban in favor of 2nd and 3rd. Again, that is more movement than we are seeing from the Left.

The only way liberals can be seen as more 'progressive' on abortion is if we use Dana's definition of 'progressive = uber liberal'