Ever since Hillary Clinton distanced herself from the word “liberal” in the YouTube debate, bloggers and commentators have been discussing the leftist retreat from “liberal” towards “progressive.”

I think people should be able to call themselves whatever they want (short of intentional fraud), so I don’t really care that much about it.

But, I have always thought that it was interesting that the left has chosen labels that mean the opposite of what they actually stand for. And, it seems like now that they have completely ruined the word “liberal”, they’re moving on to the next one.

I agree that they have some social views that are progress when compared to the worst of conservatives, but their economic views are progressive only in the Marxist sense (“progressing” from capitalism to socialism to communism). I don’t think that moving from individualism towards collectivism is progress. It’s regressive!

I like Don Boudreaux’s take:

Of course, when medieval superstitions, stasis and status eventually gave way to individualism, society did not collapse. It thrived as never before. Great cities were built. The profit motive led entrepreneurs to invent lifesaving medicines, more abundant food supplies, vibrant cultural products available to anyone who wished to partake in them and creature comforts undreamed of by even the wealthiest medieval monarchs.

In short, individualism — and the freedom and free markets that it entails — sparked and sustained progress as never before.

Today’s “Progressives” seek a return to the status and static society in which the few direct and “protect” the many. That, of course, is the
opposite of genuine progress.


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