Conservative First

July 14, 2009

What Is Progressivism?

Merriam-Webster Online:

“the principles, beliefs, or practices of progressives” (“progressivism“),who are people “believing in moderate political change and especially social improvement by governmental action” (“progressives“)

Ronald J. Pestritto:

“Progressives had an ‘evolving’ or a ‘living’ notion of government . . ., and thus wanted government to take on whatever role and scope the times demanded.  The Progressives reasoned that people of the founding era may have wanted a limited government . . ., but they argued that people of their own time wanted a much more activist government, and that we should adjust accordingly.”

“‘Progressivism’ was . . . all about moving beyond the principles of our founders.” (“Reframing America: the Progressive Mission,” Fusion 5.2 (July/Aug. 2009): 4-5).

Matthew Spalding:

“The Progressive Movement, which is more than a c entury old, sought to transform every aspect of American life.  Not only did it intend to change our politcs and political institutions, it also launched modern liberalism’s efforts to remake America, liberate it from traditional cultural institutions and build a new, great ‘Progressive’ society.”

Progressives “rejected any self-evident truths about man and politics and held that all ideas change and evolve with time.  These assumptions transformed our creed of natural rights limited government and constitutional liberty into a new doctrine of evolving rights, and expanding state and a ‘living’ Constitution.  But the Progressive’s relativism also took aim at the moral underpinnings of free government and our character as a self-governing people” (“Remaking America,” Fusion 5.2 (July/Aug. 2009):16).

Bradley Watson:

“Progressivism is . . . characterized by the belief that truth is always and everywher relative to its time and place” (“Living Constitution, Dying Faith,” Fusion 5.2 (July/Aug. 2009):19).

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