Monday, April 17, 2006

A brief reflection on labels

The labels we choose to describe ourselves are becoming more and more paradoxical. Being a liberal or a Christian or a Rotarian just isn’t precise enough in a society growing more fragmented by the day. I came across a blog that claimed to represent the views of a “progressive conservative.”

Huh? A progressive conservative? Isn’t that an oxymoron?

Conservatism by its very nature is anti-progressive. Can there be such a thing as a progressive homophobe? A progressive xenophobe? A progressive anti-intellectual?

The site’s author is a university student, so it may be that he believes a few classes in political theory provide him with the intellectual authorization to spice up the generic “conservative” label.

From reading the site, however, I gain no insight into what constitutes a progressive conservative. The entries are not original, provocative or incendiary in any way, and the only blog roll he includes is of Methodist sites. Oddly, he includes a photo of his face completely in shadows, and no name. Of whom is he fearful? Campus Republicans or the Socialist Student Union?

I shouldn’t be hard on the kid. Hopefully the longer he’s in college the more emphasis he’ll place on “progressive” and the less on “conservative,” although he’s from Alabama so the odds are not good he’ll be able to let go of all of his baggage.

Yet I still can’t help but wonder why he keeps his identity a secret.

Here’s a frightening thought: maybe progressive conservative is the codename for a new generation of Bush-indoctrinated Über conservatives, fascist khaki-clad droids who make Cheney look like a VISTA volunteer.

Okay, label me paranoid…but wary. Note to self: Stop watching X-File reruns.

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