Why can't I just be a liberal?
January 20, 2010 3:54 PM Subscribe
When and why did modern liberals, especially bloggers, begin to label themselves as "progressives"? Why do they do so?
posted by hiteleven to society & culture (28 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm well aware of the history of various progressive movements and Progressive parties in the United States. But, speaking as an outsider (I'm from Canada), it seems that recently, particularly in the past year or two, left-wing liberals have begun to use the term "progressive" increasingly to describe themselves.
I've been following American politics quite closely since the early 90s, and this seems to be a new phenomenon. Political commentators in the mainstream media refer more and more to the "progressive" political perspective, and this is echoed by politicians and pundits who embrace the label. Previously, as far as I know, these people would have been described as liberals or "far-left" Democrats, perhaps.
I'm aware that there is a Congressional Progressive Caucus in Congress that has been around for nearly 20 years, but, again, the term "progressive" itself just seems to have caught on recently.
I have to say that this trend annoys me for several reasons. Firstly, it seems to imply that being a regular old "liberal" (which I consider myself to be) is a bad thing. Secondly, progressives, particularly bloggers, seem to be turning into the Tea Partiers of the left, so that if you don't agree with their beliefs and worship their heroes such as Paul Krugman (which I don't), then you're the enemy. Finally, using a term that decades-old allows conspiracy nuts like Glenn Beck to link modern progressives to their older counterparts, however speciously, making it easier for him to weave his vast webs of insanity.