Every once in a while we face the question: Should we be conservative or progressive. Limits have been well established: no one who identifies with conservatism will promote any idea related to progressivism and vice versa. This has created a huge polarization in our societies.
Does this have any logic? Apparently we are being victims of a sort of mechanical way of thinking, maybe a binary system of yes or no with no other choices. We tend to classify people, even ourselves, in one of these two groups. When speaking about morality, economics, politics or religion, the gaps between conservatism and progressivism grow even more.
If we deepen into the logic of this way of thinking we might get new surprises. Usually those who declare themselves progressives prefer not to use moral arguments in topics such as abortion or family. When it comes to the realm of economics, progressivism could have opinions against free market or international free trade.
On the other hand, those who identify themselves with conservatism would show their opposition against abortion or any issue that questions morality. But when it comes to economics, they would give no attention at all to the social devastation caused by the vision of self-regulation in economy. Another example can be easily seen on the type of clothes one group wears or the type of products the other group usually gets. Could we be facing a point where we should ask ourselves what is right: being progressive or conservative? But going further: can we choose to be in both sides?
For giving an answer to such question we have to consider a reality that every time is more and more ignored: the existence of truth. And at some point we have to choose how to encounter with it.
That said, logic gives us a hint: there are things that are essential (if not they turn into other things, or simply they don’t exist) and other things that are accidental. The interesting thing about accidental issues is that they are subject to changes, we can differ about them, have different opinions.
So, conservative or progressive? If we try to avoid such mechanical way of thinking by doing it in an organic way (yes! Very trendy: organic) we can see the whole, we might even help building bridges between the two isolated positions in our society. How helpful would it be to unify criteria in politics, religion, economics, and environmentalism? To see clear what is essential and what is accidental. What if we started thinking that in the middle of these disputes there are persons involved. Yes, the human person, with its physical and emotional reality, as well as its spiritual one.
By Fernando Álvarez, a former Intern at WYA HQ.