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The Difference Between Progressives & Moderates


What are the differences between Progressives and Moderates?

Progressives and moderates differ in their orientations, particularly as progressives tend to be more ideological, whereas moderates tend to be more practical. Indeed, progressives are more comfortable taking extreme views on various issues, whereas moderates generally do not.

How are Progressives and Moderates similar?

These two types sometimes do share similarities, but those similarities usually arrive on a case-by-case basis. For example, you might find a moderate who ‘leans’ progressive, even though the moderate’s position is usually less extreme and more focused on the pragmatism of any given proposal.

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More About Progressives

Progressives (sometimes referred to as “liberals”) score lower on economic freedom but higher on personal freedom. That means progressives are quicker to embrace values of personal choice but place a comparatively lower value on private property rights or investment, production, and exchange. Many progressives think capitalism is a system that allows the strong to prey upon the vulnerable.

Most progressives are committed to the administrative ordering of society along economic lines. Because progressives view themselves as advocates for those they consider dispossessed or disenfranchised, progressives favor wealth redistribution. Such redistributive policies include high taxes and revenues to fund centralized social programs or welfare schemes.

In recent decades, many progressives have moved away from supporting civil liberties such as free speech, and legal doctrines such as equal treatment under the law. Instead, more progressives think that social justice requires abandoning civil rights in favor of “equity,” which means equality of outcome. More contemporary progressives are willing to curtail the freedoms of certain groups -- such as the wealthy -- whom they view as oppressors operating in an unfair system.

More About Moderates

Moderates (sometimes referred to as “centrists”) score neither particularly high nor particularly low on either economic or personal freedom. That’s because moderates tend to be pragmatists or otherwise think about issues on a case-by-case basis. As with any other type, moderates can ‘lean’ progressive, conservative, libertarian, or authoritarian -- it’s just that those leanings aren’t extreme.

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