Progressive versus Conservative

May 22, 2009 Politics

Progressive versus Conservative.  Us versus them.  A battle waged in the media every day.

But how many people actually know what these words mean?  People certainly have strong stereotypes that come to mind.

Here’s some dictionary definitions to help out.

  • Progressive: “Promoting or favoring progress toward better conditions or new policies, ideas, or methods.”

  • Liberal: “Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have:

  • Conservative: “Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change.”

  • Conservative: “Strongly favoring retention of the existing order.”

So basically, Progressive = Change, and Conservative = Don’t Change.

This is why the “Progressive Conservative” party name never made any sense.  Somebody just stuck two words with completely opposite meanings together.

Meanwhile, there are some (mostly talk radio hosts) who work very hard to convince the public that:

  • Conservative (aka. Republican) = Small government, low taxes

  • Progressive (aka. Democrat) = Big government, high taxes

I’m not sure how this misconception started, but it is about as far from true as it can be.

In fact, Conservative politicians, by definition, strive to keep government more or less the way it is right now – which is not small by any means.

Progressive politicians are the only ones who promote significant governmental change – be it bigger, smaller, or different in other ways.

To sum up the topic, here’s a not entirely accurate, but still cute little video I found when looking up dictionary definitions: