Social Question

rojo's avatar

Does progress have a liberal bias?

Asked by rojo (21217points) December 13th, 2016

As asked.

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79 Answers

cinnamonk's avatar

Yes, as do facts.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

In some ways but not in others. Progress is not so political and if left to a singular mentality of one political ideology would be progress to oblivion as neither side seems to display much common sense. Not too surprising as common sense is generally reserved for those who actually think and don’t hold political ideology as part of their identity. Progress is in the hands of these people and it is greatly hampered when their time and energy is subverted by those who do hold that identity regardless if they have good intentions or not.

zenvelo's avatar

Yes, by definition.

Progress is moving forward, away from old paradigms. Liberal comes from the word liberty, freedom, freeing.

Conservative comes from conservation, no progress, staying put. It means sticking to the old paradigm as best as possible.

And those who define themselves as “Conservative” but hearken back to an “older, better time” are the opposite of progress, they want to regress.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

^^and this is the very mentality that hampers such progress. Sometimes the new ideas are not roads we need to go down. Sometimes the old ways of doing things are better. Sometimes what looks like “progress” is wreckless and for progress to be well…progressive you need that conservative, questioning voice just as much as the one that is looking to do things a different way. There must be balance in the force. To separate wheat from chaff you need both gravity and wind.

cinnamonk's avatar

“Sometimes the new ideas are not roads we need to go down.”

Can you share some examples of this?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Eugenics, atomic warfare, boundless industrialization…history is jam packed with examples.

cinnamonk's avatar

None of those are progressive or liberal ideals.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

At the time, yes they were especially eugenics. This whole paradigm that conservative=bad and liberal=good all the time and that it’s not an admixture is the mark of those who cannot think for themselves yet or that again, use this mentality as part of their identity. True progress is a process that requires both liberal and conservative consideration.

cinnamonk's avatar

Eugenics if practiced in a limited way can be progressive (unpopular opinion). Some people should not have kids.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

At the cost of personal freedom, who decides who gets to reproduce? What end will it serve, what are the potential consequences? Not so progressive if you don’t ask grounded, conservative minded questions to address a liberal minded idea. Again…it’s a process.

cinnamonk's avatar

There is more than one way for the state to address social problems than enforcement…education is one of those ways.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

The only way eugenics works is through coercion or force.

cinnamonk's avatar

Then I guess we’re talking about different things, but coercion and force don’t seem to be in line with today’s progressive ideals, which include things like letting gay people get married and stopping the police from shooting so many black people.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

No it’s the same in the way it was approached. Back when eugenics was a movement people were sterilized by force. To those looking for a new way the ends justified the means. Fortunately the issues you mention are more defined and don’t require such an approach. You would be hard pressed to get even staunch conservatives to oppose those things.. again wheat from chaff. Opposition comes from fringe groups on the far right but not most mainstream conservatives. At least not the ones I know.
Most on the right are not going to hamper obvious things like that. There are plenty of hive minded folks on the right that will and because it is their identity they yell the loudest. Believe me, everyday rightleaners roll their eyes at them too.

cinnamonk's avatar

I would not describe such a movement as progressive then. I think of progressive ideals as those that increase personal freedom and civil rights.

So like, for example: forcing “undesirable” women to get sterilized = not progressive
Giving transgendered people the right to not be discriminated against = progressive

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

At the time it was, it held the promise to eliminate disease, suffering and increase the virility of the human race. Totally a liberal progressive idea. We scoff now but hindsight is 50/50, hence the need for the conservative naysayers. Yes we need them.
Sometimes “personal freedom” is stepped all over when it comes to progressive ideas. Look at affirmative action and hiring mandates, environmental regulations and business regulations like sarbane-oxley. What constitutes personal freedom is a matter of conflicting perspective.

cinnamonk's avatar

Can you give any modern examples?

thorninmud's avatar

Change is not necessarily progress, but progress is necessarily change.

It’s conceivable that, for a given situation, the status quo may actually be the best way to go about things, in which case change would not be progress. So sure, change just for the sake of change is stupid (as we’re currently discovering).

For progress, what counts is the ability to leave open the possibility that there might be better ways of doing things, and exercising our imaginations, in combination with the wisdom of past experience, to assess the costs and potential benefits of a new approach. Then, if benefits outweigh costs, you have to be willing to make a change.

I’m no doubt biased, but it appears to me that conservatives are more likely to assign a premium value to established ways of doing things, so that in making their cost/benefits calculations of new ideas, the cost of breaking with those old ways carries substantial weight. It takes a whole lot of potential benefit to move the needle against that counter-weight.

To liberals, there is less aura of value surrounding the established ways, so the calculation is more easily moved toward change.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

^^Yes and I think the difference is the amount of risk someone is willing to take. Fear also plays a role, so does the ability to see detail and consequences. Also the overall positive/negative outlook someone has of the world.

cinnamonk's avatar

@thorninmud “don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a long time making it” should be the progressives’ credo.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

^^don’t confuse liberal/conservative thinking with what our political landscape has become. The best decisions are not usually made under a circus tent

stanleybmanly's avatar

ARE you kidding me makes a valid argument. After all, it was technological progress that allowed for the very efficient extermination of the Jews. But overall progress around social issues is clearly on the side of liberals. Thus the very word PROGRESSIVE. The right in this country has a tough time with the fact that the promotion or “conservation” of discriminatory practices MUST be labeled conservative, but there it is. Conservatism in this country is about resistance to change and those changes promulgated from the right are invariably regressively conspicuous about “turning back the clock.” From my point of view, it must be a frustrating game resisting progress.

thorninmud's avatar

@AnonymousAccount8 Right, but that does work against some pretty well-established cognitive biases. In general, people are very reluctant to let go of strategies in which they’ve invested time, effort or money, even when it’s clear (to an impartial observer) that it’s a losing strategy.

cinnamonk's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me can you clarify what you mean by your last comment?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Liberal/conservative thinking is not exactly represented by what our political left and right have become or what the democratic and republican talking points currently are.
The term “progressive” has been cleverly hijacked by the left.

cinnamonk's avatar

Giving transgendered people legal protections against workplace discrimination is progressive.
Letting gay people get married is progressive.
Eliminating laws against interracial marriage was progressive.
Expanding medicaid and welfare, and giving healthcare to people who can’t afford it, is progressive.
Mandating paid parental leave is progressive.
Giving women bodily autonomy is progressive.

How many of these policies do those on the “right” support?

stanleybmanly's avatar

@ ARE you kidding me That’s equivalent to stating that “progress itself has been hijacked by the left”. Liberals are not responsible for the more stinky aspects of conservative politics. It’s a tough case to make that you aren’t personally in league with racist klansmen when those folks are so decidedly restricted to your own entourage.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

“Progress” is not exclusive to the left. Some elements are arguably regressive. It’s a matter of perspective. To be a true progressive all of those perspectives need to be heard and considered. This is not something we are seeing from the left or right right now. Civil rights are indeed weighted to the american left right now though. Unforseen consequences to some of these policies that enforce civil rights are harder to spot. The basic premise is a good one but don’t ignore the voices that are telling us potential issues. America turning its back on uneducated white men who often are negatively impacted by some of these policies and are bitter just elected Trump. I would call that a negative consequence.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Actually,i think it depends upon which side of the change you are sitting.
When the Taliban took over Kabul i have no doubt they considered it progress when they tied women up and lashed them for sharia dress code violations.
“Achmed. Last year we beat 30 women for this violation. This year we lashed 225 women on their backs and legs. Now, that’s what i call progress!”

stanleybmanly's avatar

@ARE you kidding me I disagree. Everything from gay marriage through the fight against voter suppression is about painfully dragging the right into the future. In the end, conservatives inevitably must yield all of those notions fashionable in bygone ages. They are irrevocably on the wrong side of history.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Give it another 50 years there will be even more examples. Neither side has any monopoly when it comes to the right side of history. The future will be better if we all let go and work together to find the best solutions to our problems. All I seem to hear now is “you’re a doodie head….no you are a doodie head” We don’t work together, we don’t police the unsavory elements out our political systems, hell we hand it over to them. You can bash the left or right all you want but it wasted momentum. I deeply, deeply deeply despise the two party system and it’s associated polar.ity

cazzie's avatar

Don’t confuse extreme ideas with progressiveness. Eugenics was NEVER a liberal idea. It was imposing the will of the State and that is not libertarian. You may as well say that ‘The Final Solution’ to eliminate Jews from the face of the Earth as a ‘Liberal’ idea. It just isn’t. Never was.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

^^ jesus, of course it was. Back then it was a capstone of liberal ideology. Germany then was one of those unforseen consequences. This is what happens when we don’t allow dissenting views into the conversation. No better example than that.

cazzie's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me No. It was not liberalism. It was the state telling the people what needed to be done. That is the opposite. Do NOT mistake extreme ideas with ‘liberalism’.

Jaxk's avatar

Every change comes with good and bad. Welfare has given the poor a chance at survival. Unfortunately it has also created dependency. A permanent underclass dependent on government assistance. How do you retain the benefits without the drawbacks? We haven’t been able to figure that out but you’ll never do it without considering both sides of that equation. We tend to line up on opposing sides and yell about the benefits on one and the draw backs on the other. Neither side acknowledging the validity of the other. You call it progressive, I call it regressive. There’s no end in sight.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@ARE you kidding me I agree that Trump’s election is indeed a blight for conservatism. The fact that frustrated white men are responsible for the disgrace is in itself irrelevant. The Trump flag is footed in the conservative camp simply because there’s nowhere else to go. And those of you conservatives capable of abstract thought are going to pay an excruciating price from the association. Say what you will, and blame whomever is convenient, but no amount of rigamarole will allow the claim that Trump is the choice of liberal voters

cinnamonk's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I know it is tempting to paint those that disagree with you as literal Nazis, but please, try to keep a level head. Liberal values were not the cause of Hitler’s Germany.

cazzie's avatar

Show me the permanent underclass dependent on government assistance? Show me how the system doesn’t at all help people with a leg up with education and a simple roof over the head and some food. Can you show me that EVERY child born into a dependent single mother ends up in the same situation? And if that is the case too much to your liking, then why aren’t you fighting for a why to IMPROVE the help?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Who is it that has the state mandate these progressive ideas cazzie. Liberals are constantly doing this. It’s not always a bad thing either.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Anonaccount8 read up on history a little for proper context

cazzie's avatar

Eugenics was driven from an angle of saving the State money and purifying the gene pool. Historically, Eugenics has been defined as a Conservative Political position. There is, now, a Liberal Eugenics and that has to do to with the current science revolving around improving offspring. Liberal Eugenics isn’t about destruction, per se, but about enhancing. And it is a real thing and it is understood within scientific circles, for good or bad, but there is a difference.

stanleybmanly's avatar

But @LuckyGuy The Taliban is at the very front of the conservative movement. The necessity of “keeping women in their place” is hardly a liberal dictum.

cazzie's avatar

@stanleybmanly I think that might be his point. Just like keeping that ‘disease DNA’ out of our gene pool is.

cazzie's avatar

Right, every change comes with good and bad ideas, but those ideas have a political bent to them. They are extreme to benefit the right (like voter suppression laws) or the left (like internet and social media pressure to get an oil pipeline off Native American Land). Extreme ideas have a political bent and they are NOT all Liberal or Progressive.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Okay I agree that the dissonance between the 2 camps is a primary reason that we are all being screwed. So once again the question must be asked “who is it that profits from the turmoil?” Why all the distraction and deflection from the bottom line issues to concentrate on flag burning, gender correct bathrooms, etc?

cazzie's avatar

BOTH sides see progress from their point of view. ‘Progress’ is, in the most obvious and extreme definition of bias point of view. Your ‘progress’ is not my ‘progress’.

cazzie's avatar

@stanleybmanly For one, Here are three questions, ‘How much does media make on selling conflict?’ Number two, ‘Who benefits when people aren’t looking or acting on the real issues that face them on a daily basis?’ Number three, ‘Who profits from a large population who are told to be nothing but fearful and scared?’

stanleybmanly's avatar

Of course it’s all relative, but my point is that the arc of social progress favors the left, and for understandable reasons. In 10 years the great majority of us will look back on the gay rights issues with the same regard we have for legalized segregation. Today it seems incredulous that those living through the age of slavery failed to understand the intolerable evil of that institution.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

To be fair, there were conservative factions at the dawn of the eugenics movement but it was a largely a liberal social movement. The idea itself was about as liberal and a “new way of doing things” mentality as you can get.

cazzie's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I think you are over inflating the weight the left had for the horrible developments that were happening in the bogus field of ‘psychiatry’. It was EXTREME and about as extreme a mentality as you can get, but it was not, in any way, ‘liberal’.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

You can refuse to acknowlege that it was indeed a liberal idea and movement but that cannot change the facts.

Sneki95's avatar

Progress is going neither left nor right. Going too left can be destructive and devastating as much as going too right. (Look at communist countries). When you think about it, going too left may have a consequence of bouncing back to the right. (like a pendulum; take it, move to the left as much as possible, and then let go. It will go to the right as much as it can, until it rests at the middle. Kinda like progression from neoriberal to Trump.)

Thus, progress should stick to the centre, neither too left nor too right. The golden middle.

Coloma's avatar

From a personality theory perspective yes. The innovative, creative and forward thinking types tend to be the personalities that champion change and progress. The risk takers and inventors.
Much of what we call liberal and conservative are based, as @zenvelo mentions above, on a persons particular temperament style.

Nature vs. nurture. A more conservative personality is less likely to be influenced by a more liberal thought process but an innovative personality will not just lie down and blindly accept their conservative conditioning. The nature of the liberal beast. You better believe it was a more liberal personality that decided to eat that first poison tomato as their tribesmen looked on in horror firmly entrenched in their conditioning that those bright red berries were poison.

If it weren’t for the liberal personalities we’d all still be living in caves. haha
Liberals are all about change and challenge and conservative personalities are all about the status quo.

Sneki95's avatar

Also, @cazzie How is right for progress? I mean, it usually relies on traditional values and seems more like “let’s go back to the old glory days” rather than “let’s go into the bright future”. Seems like going back to what is perceived as being good rather than progressing towards new ideas.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Thing is, the best innovators, the most successful people and some of the best human accomplishments are spawned out of the froth where the two mentalities meet. Risk and caution must be balanced properly. Not having elements of both in your cognitive style is basically a mental illness. We all think this way even if we don’t realize it.

Coloma's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me True, but, when it comes right down to deciding to take that leap of faith or being brave enough to run the mastodon to the edge of the cliff, well, it will always be the more bold amongst us, the visionaries, that invent the sharper spear. haha

cazzie's avatar

@Sneki95 BOTH sides see progress from their point of view. ‘Progress’ is, in the most obvious and extreme definition of bias point of view. Your ‘progress’ is not my ‘progress’.

Coloma's avatar

@cazzie true again to a degree, but in the broadest definition of “progress” it would incorporate the greater good, always.

cazzie's avatar

@Coloma but the idea of ‘the greater good’ is always… ALWAYS relative.

Coloma's avatar

@cazzie Yes and no, but alas, human ego always thinks it’s right so yes, from that angle, everyones idea of what progress is is going to be different. One mans progress is another mans downfall and vice versa.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Coloma isn’t that in all of us to a degree though? I mean without some bit of restraint and sense of danger that mastadon may have simply stomped that liberal thinker with a spear to death. Progress is a delicate balance of ideas, risk, caution and sensibility. There is no reason why conservative thinkers can’t have visionary ideas or liberal thinkers can’t display caution. It depends on what each situation is if we respond with risk or restraint.

Coloma's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Of course, you are right, but…in terms on an individuals particular orientation of personality most humans lean one way or another most predominantly in most cases. Also, lets not forget how many truly progressive types have been labeled crackpots and have had their visions and ideas totally dismissed by the more conservative and timid.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I think that goes beyond left/right politics and cognitive style. To say that liberals tend to be the ones with visionary ideas and that conservative thinkers are not seems more of a play into ones ego and identity. Politics and ideas are bipolar. There are plenty of inventors and innovators in business and traditionally conservative based power structures like the church. Ideas and inovation do not occur more frequently in the liberal population.

To be fair my perspective on this comes from my profession. We are largely conservative in thinking but we implement and invent the infrastructure we use and rely on daily. The conservative thought process has been beaten into us because it’s 100% necessary to ensure public safety and security. To do so takes an enormous responsibility that must be respected heavilly with massive doses of caution. Yet these things are usually new, hard for people to grasp and often misunderstood.
Where I see liberal ideas taking the cake is with people and their role in society. I also share those ideas so I would be hard pressed to identify either way at this point in my life.

Coloma's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Of course that can be true and is, but, again, creative, innovative and visionary personalities are more likely to have a larger degree of vision and imagination than those possessed to a lesser degree of that cognitive function.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

That’s just you attaching that attribute to your identity as a liberal. It’s not really true.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Let’s ignore the visionary aspects for a moment and consider just old fashioned basic justice and the delineation of right from wrong. Without exception, every major social advancement in this country that I can think of has involved “visionaries” from somewhere on the left dragging kicking and screaming conservatives toward the light. Sure conservatives have their versions of progress, but their remedies inevitably boil down (without fail) to some version of lifting the crippling burden of government torture of and rapacious theft from the long suffering rich. While on social matters the argument draws down to such matters as prohibitions against lynchings being little more than thinly disguised rabid usurpations of “states rights”.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I would say that is outside of the scope as well. Who is to say which perspective is right?

olivier5's avatar

Progress is relative to one’s political opinion, as already explainex by many here. And until you try something, you don’t know whether it’s overal effect is positive or negative. It’s called trial and error. The ideology of progress – positivism – is totally passé. The future is uncharted, it’s not like we always move towards something better. We could nuke ourselves to oblivion tomorrow, or the effects of the industrial revolution on climate could send a lot of us back to the stone age. What progress then?

rojo's avatar

“I think that goes beyond left/right politics and cognitive style. To say that liberals tend to be the ones with visionary ideas and that conservative thinkers are not seems more of a play into ones ego and identity.”

@ARE_you_kidding_me I think you are looking at it backwards. It is not to say that liberals tend to be the ones with visionary ideas but that those with visionary ideas tend to be more liberal in their outlook on life. Perhaps it is the ideas and visions that give people a more liberal mindset in the first place. Radical ideas and paradigm shifts come to those who think outside of the box; who go beyond the norm; who occasionally ignore or bend the rules. Those who do not tend to be more staid, more conservative in their thinking and therefor in their mindset. They plod along making small adjustments to the status quo while not upsetting others with change. Things improve (hopefully) by this method but it is a slow arduous process with many opponents at every modification.

I do agree with you however on two points; not all change is for the better and that we are better off with a combination of the two outlooks and perspectives.

From my point of view we are better off with two steps forward and if necessary one step back rather than the other way around.

olivier5's avatar

By definition, “conservatives” are against change. They want to conserve things as they are.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@rojo I’m not so sure, I still think that is a more of a baseless generalization.

Coloma's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Actually no, my sharings are based on certain psychological studies and as a student of personality theory.
I do not politically identify with any side. I am liberally liberal and conservatively conservative depending on the issues, mostly I am liberally apolitical. lol

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

What would you consider “personality theory”? Just curious.
I’m firmly a social liberal but conservative on many other things. I’m quite fluid on others.

Coloma's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me There are many works on personality/temperament theory/typology based on integrated theory and research. No time to expound gotta go now.

Cruiser's avatar

@stanleybmanly I really love your revisionist history lessons you give here on Fluther. Time to sit for one of mine. Those darned “backward thinking” Conservatives in the mid 1800’s saw slavery as bad…very bad for our country and the Republican Party was founded in the 1850s by northerners who wanted to abolish slavery. The “forward thinkers” of the Whig Party and the split in the Democratic Party over slavery gave the new Republican party firm ground to advance on. Another “backward thinking” backwoods Republican named Abraham Lincoln got elected President and signed the Emancipation Proclamation. When Lincoln was assassinated, his successor Andrew Johnson…another “forward thinking” Democrat did everything he could to undo the progress of Lincoln’s efforts to abolish slavery. Lesson for today is over unless you are hungry for more.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I suppose to be fair if we measure social liberals then as we do today Lincoln was certainly a social liberal.

@Cruiser I would consider you to be a risk taker, one of those folks who is not afraid to try new things like start a business. Kind of scuttles the whole premise of it being a “liberal thang”

Here is the difference for those who can’t see it yet. Conservatives have no problem taking personal risks. We do it all the time and many of us are quite successful for it. Conservatives however, take great pause when those risks involve everyone else. People on the American left have no problem taking risks but often will shy away from personal risk. Frequently the locus of control of people on the right is internal while external is expressed more on the left. Odd though, certain demographics on the left and right this phenomena will be inverted. Often I really think political identity has more to do with social interaction, location and parental influence in youth.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Cruiser

The problem there is that you seem to regard the Republican and Democratic parties of 2016 as interchangeable with the Republican and Democratic parties of 1860. Do you think you could pluck Lincoln and Douglas from their time and plop them down in those respective parties today and they’d feel at home?

The Republican party of Lincoln’s time has far from conservative, and the Democratic party of Douglas was hardly forward-thinking.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Cruiser let’s try a little more revisionism as I remind you that Lincoln and his ilk were products from the bygone days of the now extinct LIBERAL Republicans. It was only with the passage of the Civil Rights Act that the GOP embraced racists psychopaths, survivalists, birthers, snake handling bible thumpers…well you know the crowd. Yes indeed. It is that large collection of aberrant personalities that lends your movement its many charms, and crackpot reputation. And don’t bother me with that lame retort of “those aren’t REAL conservatives”. We all know how they vote as well as why you put up with them.

Cruiser's avatar

I won’t touch the last 2 comments with a 10 foot pole as they represent a perspective that is a no win argument no matter how hard I try. I will though ask the last 3 to consider this. The last election demographically essentially was this….Republicans were 30% of the electoral voters, the Democrats were 30% of the electoral voters and the Independents were a historical high 40% of the voters.

The infighting between the Dems and Reps are politically speaking essentially rendering them less and less relevant. The absolute power they once possessed is eroding. Winning the us vs them fist fight is no longer a guaranteed ticket to first place. Both the Democrats and Republicans threw copious amounts at Trump and guess what?? HE WON! From the rhetoric I read here we lost. Trump won because this growing Independant base despises both parties….despise it really not a strong enough word. Why was the Independents such a force to be reconed with is because of one person…Bernie Sanders. He gave millennials and rank and file Liberals a real taste of hope…the DNC shut him out and beware of a Liberal scorned. I am not suggesting those immediately crossed the isle to Trump….that is the farthest reason in my mind but it was Hillary’s growing level of untrustworthiness and Comey’s knife in the back 9 days before the election that tipped the scales of the Independent vote and not the will of either party.

The Dems thought they could cake walk their way to the Presidency with their self perceived power and the Republicans thought they could defeat the celebrity who crashed their party….both parties lost out BIG TIME! The 2 party system is officially now on life support.

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