An important part of what I want to explore on this stream is the difference between the three concepts. I don’t think it’s going to be nearly as easy as it seems, and I look forward to all y’all’s comments.
For this first non-introductory post, I just want to take a second to go over what I, initially feel should be the differences, and then we’ll move on to exploring in more depth.
First, liberalism means maximizing the freedom of individuals. This can take on different focuses, and different voices. It’s always been that it includes a belief in a free market, but I think the case could be made that such support only lasts as long as that’s the best way to maximize freedom. Right now, it is – we allow people the freedom to trade freely with each other. But could it turn out that such isn’t the best way to really maximize their freedom? I think, theoretically, yes.
Which of course leads to socialism. Now we’re talking about cooperatively managing the economy. Democratic socialism? A belief that our current democratic system should be pushed towards the social direction. There are also associated values, and I think there’s at least a relationship with liberalism – socialists believe this shift away from free market capitalism will finally mean freedom for all.
Finally, progressive has become the bigger, mushier term. I think a big root for this is the American use, in which Democrats panicked about being “tarred” with the term “liberal” and tried to go in another direction. I think it’s now just a broad term meaning “more left than others”. I’m not sure how it helps us when we talk about socialists, but I think it helps with a distinction amongst liberals. Progressive liberals would be liberals who identify a need to deal with structural challenges in society to actually make people more free, whereas liberal liberals might be unsure.
I’ll dig into this more, but what do you think?
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