Why I Stopped Calling Myself A Progressive

Progress can mean a lot of things.

The achievement by marginalized people of social citizenship. Collective movement toward big goals that make life better on a societal scale. State intervention with the aim of lessening the burden caused by the market. Smoke from an oil field and tailing ponds as the economy chugs along.

Progressivism is typically identified as a synonym for activist liberal and is often associated with the types of things talked about in the first three examples above.

But the conflation of the economic, as seen in the fourth example above, with the political leads to a conflict that I can’t resolve.

When former Conservative Party operative and Progressive Conservative Party leader John Tory is identified as a “progressive” due to his support for expanding the island airport ─ something I heard twice this morning in the span of 30 minutes on Twitter and in a conversation ─ the conflation of the economic with the political leads to a conflict that I can’t resolve.

When a government responsible for passing secretive legislation that aided in the largest mass arrest in Canadian history dubs a crypto-austerity budget “progressive“, the conflation of the economic with the political leads to a conflict that I can’t resolve.

These conflicts, I put to you, are inherent in activist liberalism and reveal a division of loyalties between the economic and the political. This division may be called “balance” by liberals but the truth of the matter, as I see it, is that when the economic is granted preference, the market does disproportionate damage to the political.

Thus, I cannot in good conscience call myself a Progressive.

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One thought on “Why I Stopped Calling Myself A Progressive

  1. You’re going to allow conservatives to define “progressive”? You need to read Teddy Roosevelt’s “Square Deal” speech delivered at Osawatomie, Kansas in August, 1910 to understand why we need to rebuild progressivism now more than ever. There is little that’s liberal in today’s Liberal Party or even the New Democrats for that matter. All have been steered into neo-liberalism, the precursor to outright corporatism.

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