I have been insulted twice by members of my family who have treated me of progressive. For me it is a compliment. But i have wondered some people think that to be a progressive is an insult.
I present my excuses if the following text is from a French point of view and is very long. I would like returns, if possible.
Progressivism: the classic definition:
“Progressivism is a political philosophy favorable to social reform. It is based on the idea of progress that advances in science, technology, economic development and social organization are essential to improving the human condition. ".
However, under the pen of some “progressive” becomes an insult, as if it were shameful to be favourable to scientific, technical, economic and social progress.
My first instinct was to think that people who use the term progressive as an insult are against scientific, technical, economic and social progress, which gives a sad image of them.
Then I remembered that President Macron had proclaimed himself a progressive! So I said to myself that in fact, these people could be opponents of Macron and that it was more complicated, especially since progressivism can take many forms. So I was in uncertainty.
Fortunately, one of them sent me an interesting reference from a person who seems to be on the side of these “some”, which allows me to better understand their thinking.
“In the West, progressivism is the dominant ideology. It could be summed up in the defence and promotion of minorities, globalization, human rights, egalitarianism, multiculturalism and mass immigration. »
This definition is preceded by a manifestly erroneous assertion. The results of the elections in Spain, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Norway, etc., the MAGA movement in USA, belie it. Let’s move on.
Then the author denounces an alliance between progressives and capitalists who would be part of the same elite wanting to maintain its domination. This elite would call its opponents populists. In fact, it would be a conservative popular reaction, of common sense, to find traditional social conceptions, and to fight against the atomization of the world.
As a second preliminary remark, I would just say that in France, in fact, the current power, which is on the side of financial capitalism, qualifies all of its opponents as populists, whether they are “conservatives” or “progressives”. , the better to disqualify them intellectually and politically.
To come to the main topic, in my opinion, the whole forms a kind of rather indigestible mix of conflicting elements.
Indeed, putting progressives and capitalists in the same basket is like marrying the carp and the rabbit, Mélenchon and Macron, which are opposed about most topics.
Above all, the definition mixes 5 subjects:
The defence and promotion of minorities, human rights,
And secularism is an element.
If we do not go back to the definition of progressivism, the defence and promotion of minorities, as well as human rights, are essential elements.
I must conclude that those who use the term “progressive” as an insult are against these notions, and are therefore for the crushing of minorities and their discrimination, against the very idea of human rights expressed by the universal declaration of 1948: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and must act towards each other in a spirit of brotherhood. » .
This equality means, among other things, regardless of sex, religion, sexual orientation, so-called race, or geographical origin. To refuse the idea of equality in this sense is to promote discrimination and oppression, why not to accept slavery. Historically, the Nazis were totally against this idea.
In fact, progressive or not, everyone should accept this view.
Applying the word “progressive” as an insult to those who believe in the idea of human rights and in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration conflates liberal thinkers as well as philosophers and economists of the Enlightenment and the 19th and 20th centuries, as socialist thinkers. However, by simplifying, this agreement is about the only one between them.
It is true that the notion of egalitarianism can also take on a social meaning. Many “progressives”, as defined above, also believe that progress implies that society moves towards more equality.
Then comes multiculturalism. The concept is complex. At the first level, it starts from the observation that, in a given territory, populations of different cultures coexist.
Culture is a polysemous word. Taken in this context, culture can be defined as the worldview of a human group. One of the first states to recognize itself as multicultural was Canada, in 1971, with the aim of better recognizing and integrating the Quebecois, French-speaking and Catholic community, in an English-speaking and Protestant world.
Whether we like it or not, our societies are multicultural, regardless of any immigration. In France, Catholic, Protestant and Jewish cultures have coexisted for a long time.
Other cultural groups settled in France. Again this is a reality. Today, we celebrate the Italian and Polish immigration that took place in the 19th century, then in the interwar period. However, at the time, these populations experienced the same rejection as more recent immigrants, cf. For example,
The Polish miners arriving in the mining area in France did not integrate, for multiple reasons and it was not until the post-war period and the 30 glorious years.
For me, the limit of multiculturalism lies in a few ideas, in particular those of human rights and secularism.
From this point of view, as a progressive, I feel closer to a secularist Muslim who believes in the idea of equality in the rights of men, than to a fundamentalist and racist Christian.
If we come to globalization, we see the high level of confusion among those who use the word progressive as an insult.
Indeed, globalization is defined as the “free exchange of goods, capital, services, people, technology and information. It designates the process of integrating markets and bringing people closer together which results in particular from the liberalization of trade, the development of means of transporting people and goods, and the spin-offs of information and communication technologies (ICT ) on a global scale. It manifests itself, in addition to the growing interdependence of economies (economic globalization) and the intensification of competition, by the expansion of exchanges and human interactions. »
Economic globalization is a fact, with its obvious limits. It is wanted by the capitalists. It is also cultural.
It is viewed positively by some proponents of capitalism who believe that globalization will bring peace. Recent history is a scathing denial.
Many “progressives” do not recognize themselves in it. Indeed, for them, globalization means the free field given to the most savage financial capitalism. This does not prevent them from seeking cultural exchanges and cooperation between peoples.
Still, putting together the proponents of the two conceptions is absurd.
Finally, progressives would be “immigrationists”, that is to say supporters of total freedom to immigrate for any individual who would have the right to settle anywhere he wishes, unconditionally. Proponents of this idea exist, an ultra-minority, for obvious reasons.
Between the impossible immigrationism and the impossible total closure of the borders, all nuances are possible. Bosses who cannot be regarded as “progressive” are in favour of significant labour immigration, if only because immigrants, preferably in an irregular situation, provide cheap and undemanding labour.
That said, the current migratory movements are only a prelude. With climate change, hundreds of millions of people will have to move, including Americans and Southern Europeans, in the worst case scenarios. We should prepare for this change, which will have migratory consequences other than those currently known.
Curiously, people who use the term “progressive” as an insult either deny this phenomenon or refuse to see its consequences.
I would add that secularism aims to guarantee respect for freedom of thought, conscience and religion as well as respect for the equal treatment of citizens. It presupposes the separation of Church and State as well as the neutrality (in the sense of impartiality) of the latter, of its institutions, officials and representatives.
It is therefore a condition of living together in a country whose inhabitants are of different faiths or non-believers. It is not an instrument of combat against one religion for the benefit of another.
In conclusion, I come back to my starting point, people who use the word “progressivism” as an insult, are in fact positioning themselves as against:
The very idea that all men are born free and equal in rights,
The idea that advances in the fields of science, technology, economic development and social organization are essential to improving the human condition.
They build a monster to fight what they say are his ideas, more or less concealing their objective.
In fact, either they don’t know what they’re saying or they show who they are.