Recently George Will took a shot at identifying the core tenets of progressivism. I think he got pretty close. Here they are:
Four core tenets of progressivism are:
First, history has a destination.
Second, progressives uniquely discern it. (Barack Obama frequently declares things to be on or opposed to “the right side of history.”)
Third, politics should be democratic but peripheral to governance, which is the responsibility of experts scientifically administering the regulatory state.
Fourth, enlightened progressives should enforce limits on speech in order to prevent thinking unhelpful to history’s progressive unfolding.
The fallacy in progressivism is embodied in the first tenet. History is the past. The past doesn’t have “a destination.” It shows us where we have been – not where we are going.
That is not to say there aren’t lessons in “history.” But the history of “progressivism” is tied to the history of socialism. The lesson I learn from the history of socialism is “tried and failed.”