I've been asked by mother (resident conservative and RIARB silent partner) what I mean when I say I'm a progressive. First, I should clarify, I have always felt a revulsion at being labeled, but even more so at a lying coyness which refuses to be pinned down to a position. So fine... I've given up on saying no category suits me... even though they don't... I'm consistently progressive.
So what is that, and especially why not be a liberal. Unlike many it's not that I think liberal has been made a bad word and now I don't want to be hung with it... no, I'm more like one of the people that let it become a bad word, at least for politics.
Two reasons... one, natural language... sometimes it's good to be liberal, sometimes not... when giving portions of grandma's casserole, liberal is good. When doling out rations on a boat lost at sea... liberal is bad. Similarly, I believe in conservation, I believe in caution and realism, I believe in a conservative approach to risk.
But there is another reason. Liberal and conservative, to me, are the good cop/bad cop approach to manipulating the masses. They work together, either philosophy collapses without the other. The liberal society, still not granting freedom, falls into the hands of the bad cop who must make people feel lucky for the freedoms they are given. The bad cop authoritarian approach collapses as the masses will rise up and change those in power, and falls to the liberal approach to let off steam.
It's a bit of a racket to avoid giving actual freedom, and by freedom I mean either a kind that appeals to "conservatives" or "liberals", either social or libertarian freedom. So I prefer progressive because it is a philosophy that seeks to break this cycle, and I am a libertarian progressive because I believe in civil liberty and that the role of a government is to stay out of most affairs and secure the rights in the hands of individuals.