I’m a Progressive, but I’m a Classical Progressive
Yes, I’m a Progressive, but I’m not a standard, left-wing neo-Progressive — I’m a classical Progressive, like Theodore Roosevelt. As Liberalism was split between classical Liberals and modern Liberals, so too was the progressive movement split.
I support universal healthcare, a $15 minimum wage, labor unions, and LGBT+ rights, which makes me a Progressive — but I also support abortion restrictions, strong borders, constitutional carry, and being tough on crime, which makes me a… Conservative? How can these apparent inconsistencies be reconciled?
Fifty years ago, someone like me wouldn’t be too uncommon within the progressive movement — I’d even be considered far-left a century ago — but the left got so extreme that someone like me looks right-wing in comparison. The truth is that I am a Progressive, but I’m a classical Progressive. I’m what the left used to be.
The Original Progressives
Progressivism first came to prominence, at least in the United States, during the progressive era. Theodore Roosevelt was the first progressive President, ushering in groundbreaking reforms that we take for granted today, like anti-trust laws, a federal income tax, an eight-hour work-week, and not having formaldehyde put in your food.
The original, or classical, Progressives supported racial equality, women’s suffrage, worker’s rights, breaking up monopolies, and conserving the environment — oh, and they banned alcohol, something that’s considered “far-right” today. What they didn’t support was abortion, open borders, unconstitutional gun control, and being soft on crime.
To be fair, they also didn’t support LGBT+ rights — and I don’t just mean gay marriage, they used to throw people in prison for being gay (if they didn’t just kill you). Other than that, I agree with most of what the classical progressive movement stood for, including prohibition (although I disagree with how it was implemented). The Prohibition Party actually still has a number of classical Progressives among its ranks.
The New Progressives
As time went on, the left kept moving left and the progressive movement abandoned much of what it once believed in. Prohibition was repealed, Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in all fifty states, illegal immigrants swarmed the country only for leftists to try and give them amnesty (voting rights, even!), and the left began calling for all kinds of violations of the Second Amendment. It didn’t happen overnight, but classical Progressivism eventually morphed into something new: neo-Progressivism.
Although I believe the progressive movement went the right way in regards to economic policy (for the most part), they’ve gone way too far left when it comes to cultural and social issues. They’ve even gone too far left on LGBT+ issues — and I say this as a transgender woman. Marriage equality and trans rights are one thing, but making up new pronouns and passing laws to force you to use them is another (like they did in Canada).
Often, neo-Progressives cave into woke Capitalism, praising mega-corporations for useless virtue signals, all while ignoring their abuses of workers and consumers. Most of them aren’t that far gone, but a lot of them are, and I want nothing to do with them.
Yes, I’m a Progressive, but I’m an old-school, classical Progressive who rejects woke-ism and cultural Liberalism. I’m a Conservative too, but conserving what’s good doesn’t mean we can’t also fix what’s broken. We have to move forward, but we can’t walk off the side of a cliff.