Liberal Democrats have taken to using the term "progressive" to describe themselves and their policies. Now, understand that I am not in the least interested in attacking these people as disingenuous or as harboring any evil intent. I truly believe that they feel the term is an accurate and genuine descriptor of their ideology. It struck me, this morning as I read a quote from an article by Bob Tyrell, that it is the conservatives in this country that are the true progressives. I realize the terms seem to be in complete opposition, but let me explain.
Progress is the moving forward toward a positive goal. It could be argued that the term "conservative" means the resistance to change. If change were always the "moving forward toward a positive goal", it would certainly mean that conservatives would be in opposition to progress. This is, apparently the context in which progressives (liberals) tend to view the two words. The problem with this view is that the term "positive goal" is subjective. What some people think is positive, others find objectionable.
Today, we find America embroiiled in a controversy regarding the appointment of judges to our nation's courts. Democrats are doing everything they can to block certain judicial nominations from being brought to a vote. The level of the obstruction of these nominees is unprecedented. Democrats are doing this because they feel the nominees will interpret the law in a manner they feel is regressive. They feel the country has proceeded toward this day in a progressive manner and that it should continue in that direction. The appointment of strict constructionists or judges with strong moral or religious temperaments would be antithetical to those progressive ideals.
The moral and political climate of the country's electorate is changing, however. The country as a whole is moving toward the center. This is evidenced by the "redness" of the political map and by the "Republicanization" of our elected officials. Few would argue that fact, since the population of both houses of the legislature is predominantly Republican as is that of the presidency and a majority of the legislatures of the states. As a conservative, I would argue that this is progress.
The people are progressing toward a more conservative allignment. The views of our elected officials are following suit. The positions in the judiciary are appointments. They are not elected by the people but, rather, are appointed by the elected officials. For this reason, in terms of the flow of ideology from the more liberal electorate of the past to the more conservative electorate of the present (and future, I believe), the judiciary is the slowest to move and the last to follow suit. As the country moves to the right, it is the judiciary which is clinging to the ideology of the past; resistant to the ideas that have won the electorate over in much of the country; conserving the ideas of a previous electorate.
I do not begrudge the minority party it's attempts to hold onto that which they think is best for the country nor do I feel that this process is anything but good, in the strictest "checks and balances" sense. I do feel that it is doomed to failure and that the enmity which results will further dampen the cooperative climate between the two parties. This is also inevitable and perhaps good for the country.
It may even be progressive.