I prefer calling myself (and being called) a Progressive because it more accurately describes how I think than the word “liberal” does. “Liberal” comes with tons of baggage, too, since it’s been used at various times, by various people, to describe ways of thinking that aren’t like mine — “liberal” as they may be.
I’m a Progressive because I want to see us all “progress” into the best possible future for as many people as possible. I’m a Progressive because I believe it’s in our collective interest to keep evolving — to answer new challenges with new ways of thinking. And to “think” those new ways of thinking, I think we’re best served by the widest possible brain pool that draws from the widest possible pool.
We know, because it’s there in the name, what Progressives like me want from our representatives, from our government and from our politics. We want progress. We want TO progress.
Okay, that’s our side. On the other side — Conservatives. Just like with us, what Conservatives want when you get right down to it is right there in their name: conservatives want to conserve.
Considering as you can’t conserve the future, that leaves only the present and the past. One can conserve the present — one absolutely can. One can slam on the brakes and insist that, from this day forward, we will not progress in any way, shape or form. We will do things exactly as we’re doing them today and that will be it. We will have conserved the present — which is really a snap shot of the past.
And, as each moment progresses, of course, that present will BE “the past”. Literally. And everyone living inside its rules and regulations, its whole way of thinking, it’s view of the world — is just as literally living in the past. By desire and design. Most conservatives don’t really want to live in the present, of course. They see the present as being too compromised already by the future.
They aspire to conserve what was — from a time when white guys — Christians ones of course — ruled the schoolyard without challenge. Yeah, they want to drag America back to the 50’s — the 1850’s. That’s really what conservatives want to conserve — a time when a good ol’ boy American racist-misogynist-bigot could do what he wanted.
The Paradise from the past that most conservatives dream of would look to the rest of us like a Boschian hellscape.
THAT is what conservatives want to conserve.