Progressive vs. Liberal

Glade Ross

There is a critical and recurring tension between contributors to this magazine. It’s between those who trend toward a progressive/liberal view on the welfare state versus those much more on the libertarian side. It may be the strongest and most pervasive division our community faces. We are all humanists, but I believe there’s a very good chance those on each side of the progressive/libertarian divide view their counterparts as a little less pure and perfect in their humanistic expression.

Both sides are concerned with social justice and vary primarily in where their concentration (intellectual and emotional) is focused. Progressives stress the fact that, in a world of abundant if limited resources, it is shocking to any sense of reasonable justice that some persons squander hugely disproportionate large shares of what is available while others suffer in miserable destitution. Progressives reasonably believe society should be structured so as to at least moderately ameliorate such inequality.

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