adventures in dysthymia

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Progressive

In the older sense of the terms, I am much more a ‘progressive’ than a ‘liberal.’ Yes, I know the two are used interchangeably these days and have always been linked, but there are differences. The best way to illustrate these is with an example: Theodore Roosevelt was a progressive; Franklin Roosevelt was a liberal.

The progressive movement tended to favor regulation to level the field, anti-trust laws and so on, whereas the liberal preferred to be more proactive, with direct government intervention through various programs. There is certainly a place for these but I generally prefer the regulatory approach.

Progressivism arose from the labor unions, from agricultural associations such as the Grange movement. It is about ordinary people joining together to take control of their own future and, therefor, has ideas in common with my own distributist views. And I am more a distributist than anything else, though not inclined to be dogmatic about much of anything.

This is why I more-or-less support the Greens. Their ten core values come much closer to my viewpoint than what the other three largest parties espouse. I will also support the Green Party presidential candidate this year, even though I feel Jill Stein and her followers are pulling the movement left and away from its roots. I understand the urge to attract disaffected liberals but it should not be at the cost of changing our core mission. Voting Green for me is more about building the party than anything else; however, if the Greens in the USA morph into a social democrat party, they will lose me.

I rather like Hillary Clinton and have nothing against her as a person. I think she is reasonably competent (which is saying more than most politicians). I simply do not favor the establishment’s internationalist, watered-down corporatism. We need more power at the bottom, not the top.

As far as the other two candidates go — it would be idiocy to vote for Trump. There are better ways to express ones anger. If I were a mainstream conservative I would probably be voting for Johnson, who sounds much more like an establishment Republican than a libertarian. But I am not a mainstream conservative. I might have some things in common with so-called crunchy-cons (who should look at the Greens as an alternative, by the way). If I am conservative at all, it is the conservatism of several centuries ago, before we let merchants and money take control of politics.

Of course, wealth of one sort or another has always controlled the political scene. It was land ownership, once, rather than capital. Maybe Chesterton’s ‘three acres and a cow’ is a good idea now, too — individual stewardship of the land. I would not allow corporations to even own real property, myself.

Is this all swimming against the stream? Maybe. But I can use the exercise.

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This will probably be my one and only post about this year’s elections and I will now go back to tucking my ideas into my novels! :)

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