"This is much too complex a community to be summed up in the word 'progressive' and I count myself out of that circle," writes Charles Jeanes. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

LETTER: Don’t label me progressive

From reader Charles Jeanes

Re: LETTER: Questioning women’s centre’s lack of action on community consultation, April 1

This letter-writer appears to believe that appealing to Nelson’s supposed reputation as “a progressive community” (twice) is a strong argument in favour of their recommended policy for the board of the Nelson and District Women’s Centre. In simple logic, this is not so. The argument is not helped in the least by appealing to some idealized picture of what Nelson represents for the letter writer.

Leaving aside all the questions being debated at the centre, I wish to say only that I do not wish my inclusion in progressivism to be assumed merely because I live in Nelson. This is much too complex a community to be summed up in the word “progressive” and I count myself out of that circle.

I am not denying that a community is real, that it is more than merely a sum of individuals, but I am denying that I and many people I know want to be included in the label of “progressives.” The word is loaded with self-righteousness. People in the progressivist camp assume they are “on the side of history” and I most certainly object to that.

I apologize for beating my drum again to oppose progressivists, but I am trying to mount a small cultural counter-offensive against political labelling. Labels of this sort are not merely of no value in many contexts – such as this one – they are positively unhelpful and obstructive to the functioning of community politics.

I hope others might see merit in what I am trying to do, and join me in the effort. We do not need to have these great generalizing labels – progressive, leftist, conservative, fascist, etc. — in our public conversations, at City Hall, in newspapers, and so forth.

Charles Jeanes

Nelson

Nelson Star

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