|Source:Biographics- TR: The Old Progressive Lion|
Source:Biographics: Simon Whistler- 'Theodore Roosevelt: The Old Lion'
During the 2020 presidential primaries in the Democratic Party especially with the rise of socialism ( or democratic socialism ) in the Democratic Party, we're going to hear labels like Progressive, Socialist, and Democratic Socialist thrown out a lot. Especially thrown around like they're all the same things, or thrown around the difference between a Socialist and a Progressive is the difference between powerful and strong, or tiny and miniature, shrimp and dwarf, etc: when the fact is Progressive, is not just different from Socialist ( democratic or communist ) but clearly different. Which is what I'm going to layout with this piece.
When people think of Progressives, they tend to think of Teddy Roosevelt and his square deal which gave America its regulatory state. Or they think of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, which gave America its public safety net. Harry Truman and his Fair Deal, which would've been an expansion of the New Deal. Lyndon Johnson and his Great Society and the expansion of the New Deal. And today's so-called Progressives ( Democratic Socialists, actually ) say what they want to do with their welfare state agenda is simply just expand it and give Americans more welfare state benefits.
There a lot of problems with comparing today's so-called Progressives, with the Progressives of before who truly are the Progressives: Progressives like the men that I've already mentioned and we're just talking about government economic policy so far, but Progressives are not anti-capitalist, not anti-individual, not even anti-individual freedom: if anything Progressives believe more in individual freedom than even Conservatives and even Libertarians, because Progressives believe that individual freedom should be for everyone and not just to people that are born to wealth.
And where Progressives really separate from Conservatives and Libertarians, as well as Socialists, is that they believe government should be used so that everyone can achieve individual freedom. Instead of Socialists, who view individual freedom as selfish and you need a big national government to take care of everyone else instead. And Conservatives and Libertarians, who believe that government has no role in expanding freedom, that freedom can be achieved by everyone on their own.
If you look at what Progressives have truly accomplished and what they believe in, instead of looking at what Socialists have accomplished ( democratic or communist ) and what they believe in and have accomplished, you know that Progressives are actually very different from Socialists: the Square Deal, which gave us our regulatory state. The New Deal, which was a public safety net for people who truly fall on hard times and in real need of financial assistance. And the Great Society, which was an expansion of the public safety net ( not welfare state ) where every senior American is guaranteed health insurance and more financial assistance for low-income Americans.
The other thing about Progressives and progressivism and why at least I believe it has real national appeal in America, is because it's bipartisan and very practical: people who are supposed to be Centrists in America, are actually very Progressive. Like Republican Senator Susan Collins, or Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, former Vice President and current Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden and I could go on. America has moved so far to the Right and Left now that Progressives look like the New-Centrists, with progressivism perhaps becoming the most mainstream political philosophy in America. Progressives, are Progressives, not Socialists and the there's a big difference.