Meaning: Well, that’s the problem. Progressive, in a political sense, is associated with leftism, secularism, modernization, even radicalism, but when both conservatives and liberals use it, few know quite what it means.
Usage: “The very nature of the word progressive suggests that the fight for justice and equality is never-ending.” — from an early blog post on Occupy Wall Street
You should know it because: Progressive is a media buzzword again thanks to the Occupy protests, which, while far from united, have an overriding message that society is not where it should be and that human interests are losing. Many progressives—from their earliest days in America, when they emerged in opposition to individualism and big business, only to fade away in post-WWII US-topia—believe that the social-welfare state is the natural culmination of a forward-moving society. But increasingly it appears to even the most politically whatever among us that corporations, not the state, run the Western world. Did you see that video on Gawker of the sociopathic London trader who dreams nightly of recession? “The governments don’t rule the world,” he said, like some kind of sci-fi anti-hero, “Goldman Sachs rules the world.” Just… great.
Politics have become so polarized and culture wars so extreme that it’s difficult to imagine that the centre will hold, let alone that we’ll move forward. That’s why, sometimes, progressive politics seemed as dated as progressive rock. But hey—that’s coming back too, right?
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