The Misunderstanding Of The Terms “Liberal” And “Progressive”

A new debate is emerging over the use of the terms “Liberal” and “Progressive”.

There are those who think there is a real difference between these two political terms, but this blogger and author wishes to make clear that he sees no difference in reality.

The term “Progressive” became popular with the rise of President Theodore Roosevelt, and Senators Robert La Follette Sr of Wisconsin and George Norris of Nebraska in the early 20th century. This term became notable due to these Republican officeholders and others.

But in the 1930s, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal ushered in a different term, that the reforms of the 1930s were “Liberal”, and for the next half century, “Liberal” was the preferred term, promoted by President John F. Kennedy, and Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota and others in the Democratic Party, and by Republicans including Governor Nelson Rockefeller and Senator Jacob Javits of New York and others.

With the rise of Ronald Reagan to the Presidency, with the attacks on “liberalism” by conservatives, the term “Progressive” returned to favor, and this author chose that term for the title of his blog, when he began it in 2008.

But I consider the terms “Liberal” and “Progressive” to be interchangeable, as both represent the promotion of the virtues of government; the need for economic regulation; the promotion of social reform; and concern for human rights and environmental protection. Additionally, the importance of international alliances and agreements is paramount, and the avoidance of unnecessary wars and military intervention except if truly a threat to national security, is essential.

So for instance, World War II, the Korean War, and the Persian Gulf War were justifiable, while the wars in Vietnam and Iraq were not justifiable, and support of military dictatorships around the world suppressing freedom has always been unethical and immoral.

So as I stated on my Personal Profile page since August 2008, I am proud to call myself a “Liberal” AND a “Progressive”!