Sometimes I think it is important to just think about yourself. It gives you some distance and some perspective on who you are. Now, given that the majority of people not only in Europe but also in the US believe in a two-way system to describe all people (either they are left or they are right – either they are progressives or they are conservatives), which is sadly far too simplistic and obscures a whole bunch of people.
Now, would I myself call me conservative or progressive in my mindset, I’d dare say that depends where I would be judged. In the US I’d most likely be a true conservative, meaning I want to conserve the bill of rights and the Constitution in a fundamental way. Make no mistake, most “conservatives” or “Republicans” are not that principled in their defense of this founding documents. They only use it when it serves their cause.
Now, if I would be judged in Europe, than I am most likely a progressive, because my believe in freedom and less government is mostly unheard of in Europe. It is an idea that is mostly new, dangerous and foreign to most Europeans. Even the mentioning of a country that hadn’t a drug regulation agency would have cause a fundamental fear in those people. They are very conservative, but conserving the historic past of Europe: Serving the elites and trusting in a god (may the god be Christian or a perfect omnipotent state, both are not in the physical reality). So, their conservatism is the opposite of the American kind and while the US is growing to be progressive, the Europeans are longing back to the conservative past. That means they journey together, at least in my opinion.
Now, of course, many people would lament that this is not true that Europe also has its Conservatives that are more like the US Conservatives and I agree. They are like the Republicans, but they are not conservatives. So just to equate something with a mistaken identity of a second group doesn’t make it better.
A prime example would be the CDU. For decades it stood of small business and middle class combined with religious “freedom” of the catholic kind. Now, as culture changed and Germany rose from the immediate constraints of a war-torn country, this changed and so changed the party. Now, it has more in common with leftist parties like Gruene/SPD/Linke and thus is even more conservative, but of the European kind.
This can get very confusing, but so can a discussion with an American about what liberal means and who liberals are. In the US this word was “raped” and twisted in a fashion that let it say something totally opposite to the meaning in the rest of the world. Is this what they mean by American exceptionalism?
Well, as a footnote of this rant: I am neither conservative nor progressive, but I am all for some progress towards individual liberty, which has been outsourced to the internet and shown that it can bring miracles to live.