What is a Progressive?

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Laan Yaa Mo
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What is a Progressive?

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » May 12, 2024, 10:21 am

This is an interesting question. Many people, even some on this forum, describe themselves as 'progressive'. But, what does 'progressive' mean these days? Here's one answer.

"If I hear ‘progressive’, I’m braced for bigotry
How has a word that should mean enlightened come to be the exact opposite?
Hadley Freeman
Sunday May 12 2024, 12.01am BST, The Sunday Times

It’s a competitive field, but of the many quotable movies made in the Eighties, the one I quote most is the 1987 classic The Princess Bride, and the exchange I quote most is this one: “Inconceivable!” shouts Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), for the 20th time that day. “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means,” replies Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin).

I think about Inigo’s line a lot, especially when listening to politicians, given their tendency to use words in a way that is entirely divorced from their meaning. “Let me be clear” is an obvious example, given that when a politician says this, it is inevitably a preface to something entirely unclear and often completely untrue. But the word that really brings out my inner Inigo is “progressive”.

It doesn’t quite mean “left”, because right and left distinctions in this country collapsed with Brexit and have proven useless ever since in big debates, such as about gender ideology or Israel and Hamas. It sort of denotes generational distinctions, given that more young people describe themselves as “progressive”, but it doesn’t mean “young”. It has taken the place of “woke”, now that term has become so debased by sneers that only Nigel Farage still uses it, yet that doesn’t really explain it. But it definitely means something.

The Greens talk a lot about their progressive bona fides. But is it progressive to argue that the October 7 attacks were justified? Apparently so, because in the recent local elections they put forward two Bristol candidates — Abdul Malik and Mohamed Makawi — who had tweeted justifications for or denials of the attacks on Israelis. The Green Party jazz-hands-ed away complaints, saying the posts were now deleted and Makawi had undergone “social media training”. (The mind boggles at how the Greens would conduct that. “Lesson 1: If you feel the need to tweet about ‘Palestinian resistance’ and ‘the American Zionist lie’, maybe do it under an anonymous account?”)

Another Green candidate, Mothin Ali, featured in a video that justified the October 7 attacks; he also targeted Rabbi Zecharia Deutsch, the Jewish chaplain at Leeds University, who received so much antisemitic abuse when he returned from serving as a reservist in the IDF last year that he and his family had to go into hiding, as I described in February. When Ali won his seat on Leeds city council, he celebrated by shouting, “Allahu akbar,” and describing his victory as a “win for the people of Gaza”, and he dismissed critics of the sentiments with claims of Islamophobia. Personally I’m more offended by the Galloway-sized narcissism of that sentiment than anything else (your problems are over, Palestinians! A local Leeds councillor is coming to your rescue!). Also, I’d wager British people wouldn’t be thrilled if a councillor reacted to victory with a big ol’ “Jesus is great!”, partly because that would be a very weird reaction to a local election. But mainly because — as Kate Forbes, Tim Farron and even Tony Blair learnt — the Brits “don’t do God”.

Yet for those of the crank progressive mindset — and that pretty much sums up the Greens — the Islamic God is different. Progressive, even. That is how we end up with ridiculous groups like Queers for Palestine, who are now a fixture at the weekly marches in London — never mind that the Palestinian authorities notoriously target and kill gay people, to the extent that thousands of gay Palestinians have sought asylum in, yes, Israel. The country these self-described queer people are marching against.

“Progressive” is such a useful adjective, isn’t it? With its connotations of working towards a kinder, more open-minded future, you can slap it in front of any position and thereby suggest that anyone who disagrees is some kind of retrograde bully. Because of this, there is a long tradition of self-described progressives having decidedly unprogressive views. It’s a great PR trick, which is perhaps why the former PR man David Cameron frequently talked up his devotion to “progressive conservatism”. Yet his austerity measures led to soaring child poverty and homelessness. At the more extreme end of the spectrum, the US president Theodore Roosevelt founded the Progressive Party and was also a great supporter of the eugenicist Madison Grant. He described Grant’s rabidly antisemitic book The Passing of the Great Race — which warned against “the Nordic races … being literally driven off the streets of New York City by swarms of Polish Jews” — as “a capital book; in purpose, in vision, in grasp of the facts our people most need to realise”. Another fan of Grant’s book was that beacon of progressivism Adolf Hitler.

I’m always suspicious of declamatory political language that attempts to shut down debate. “Culture war” is increasingly — but not exclusively — used by the left to avoid awkward debates (gender, prostitution, Brexit) by dismissing them as confected distractions. Just a silly little culture war! “Progressive” is more slippery because it implies the path towards a just future is obvious, with no competing rights, no risk of misguided overcorrections. Supporting puberty blockers for gender-dysphoric children was, until extremely recently, an essential plank of modern progressive politics, until it turned out that might not be such a good idea.

Now it’s blaming Israel solely for the mess in Gaza, and not even mentioning Hamas. Are these positions really progressive? Is it possible people are using a word that does not mean what they think it means? Inconceivable!

Comment

simon hart
2 HOURS AGO

As Dylan said " everything is a little upside down "

The more liberal and progressive someone says they are (pretends to be) the more intolerant, myopic and lacking in basic empathy they likely are.

Just Stop Oil = deprive the poor of cheap reliable energy

Free Palestinian - but not from the tyranny o...
Tom Norford
3 HOURS AGO

I think the phenomenon being described here is known as moral licencing, whereby you excuse your own terrible behaviour because you believe yourself to be one of the good guys. For example, there was some research recently that demonstrated, in a nut shell, that people who practice mindfulness tend...

L Marwood
2 HOURS AGO

Being ‘progressive’ is much like being ‘woke’, it is subjective and vague, it’s basically saying ‘I believe this, and as I’m (in my view) a good person, then it follows that everything I believe must be good’.

It absolves a person from even attempting to consider that an opposing view might have me...

andrew cracknell
2 HOURS AGO

It’s always struck me as smug and self congratulatory. If you describe yourself as “socialist” or “right wing” or “Marxist”, you are signalling your beliefs. If you describe yourself as “progressive” you are signalling who you think you are. With an inherent superiority.

Roger Wade
4 MINUTES AGO

Interesting and very astute point. You're right, it's an inherent claim to moral superiority. [/quote]

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/if-i ... -bszkv5dtp


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Whistler
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Re: What is a Progressive?

Post by Whistler » May 12, 2024, 11:02 am

What a crock of nonsense

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Laan Yaa Mo
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Re: What is a Progressive?

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » May 12, 2024, 11:15 am

Whistler wrote:
May 12, 2024, 11:02 am
What a crock of nonsense
Of course, as you view it from your position of moral superiority. You are right and those who dare to disagree with you have to be wrong.
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Re: What is a Progressive?

Post by Whistler » May 12, 2024, 11:44 am

LYM,

I could do the same as you and selectively scaned the internet for quotes from all over the world, then i too could paint a definition of the term 'Progressive'. It would look nothing like yours. Your diatribe was all about searching for quotes to support your well-established disposition.

It was not balanced in any sense, as is your insult about moral superiority, unnecessary, but highly risible.

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Laan Yaa Mo
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Re: What is a Progressive?

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » May 12, 2024, 1:24 pm

Congratulations Whsitler! You basically proved the writer's point: “Progressive” is such a useful adjective, isn’t it? With its connotations of working towards a kinder, more open-minded future, you can slap it in front of any position and thereby suggest that anyone who disagrees is some kind of retrograde bully.

I don't find you argument very useful/instructive in proving the writer is wrong. As usual, you meander off to discuss another subject that has nothing to do with the article. I suppose this makes you 'progressive' in your world.
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Re: What is a Progressive?

Post by jackspratt » May 12, 2024, 5:30 pm

I've always understood it to be the opposite of a regressive.

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Laan Yaa Mo
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Re: What is a Progressive?

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » May 12, 2024, 8:24 pm

jackspratt wrote:
May 12, 2024, 5:30 pm
I've always understood it to be the opposite of a regressive.
Yes, I think this is a point the writer is trying to make when using Cameron and the Greens as examples. That is their so-called progressive policies are anything but. In fact, they are regressive.
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Re: What is a Progressive?

Post by glalt » May 12, 2024, 9:00 pm

It means that they are progressing to full blown socialism

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Re: What is a Progressive?

Post by Drunk Monkey » May 13, 2024, 1:17 am

Claret n Blue all way thru .. Up the Iron
L2 Season 19/20 Codheads 0 Scunny 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2qrsItFUug
8 minutes is the point of lift off !!!!!!!

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