Intro to Politics – Conservatism vs Progressivism

An image showing the separation between conservatism and progressivism.

An image showing the separation between conservatism and progressivism.

Karina Shah, Photojournalist

In today’s day and age, politics has become a key interest for many people. Sam Loza (10), says that “I have seen politics rise in importance throughout the past year alone.” Politics has something to interest everyone from the justice system to economic systems. Due to the various types and vast amount of people who have piqued an interest in politics, there are different types of opinions. These opinions can tend to fall on either side of a political “spectrum” otherwise taken as two sides – conservatism and progressivism.


Political conservatism is defined as the philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. The central ideas of conservatism tend to fall in line with traditional cultures and civilizations. Conservatism has a preference for historically inherited ideals rather than abstract and new ideals. In terms of government, conservative ideology favors a limited government that serves the purpose to be a servant to society. A common way to distinguish conservatism would be that conservatism rejects the optimistic view that human beings can be morals improved through political change. Many point out that throughout human history, under almost all imaginable political and social circumstances, humans have been filled with a great deal of evil at one time or another. From individual and community perspectives conservatives lean toward the advocacy of independence and individualistic controlled policies. Conservatism has often been associated with traditional establishments of religion. The Roman Catholic Church, being the religion with the most conservative followers, shows a connection between religious values and conservative values. Property is considered personal freedom to conservatives. Things like guns, land, and money are all things that conservatives feel should have no limits. 


Political progressivism is defined as a movement to reform the American government based on social progression. The central ideals of progressivism tend to fall in line with new ideas and revolutionary movements. Progressivism has a preference for the newly introduced ideas in society that can be abstract from conservative traditions. In terms of government, progressives can vary on ideals. Some progressives advocate for a stronger government to be able to limit the extent of capitalism and other policies that are uncapped. Progressivism is optimistic toward humans within society; these ideals put belief in the fact that humans can develop and change based on changes in the environment and government. They point out that there is always something new that hasn’t been tried with humanity. From individual and community perspectives, progressives say that governmental ideals should benefit everyone as a community. Property can be seen from various perspectives. Things like guns, land, and money are differentiated in opinion based on the amount of area of progressive someone is.


The political spectrum has a variety of opinions; conservatism and progressivism are one of the common ways of describing them!