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Social progressivism is the view that the basic concepts of social mores, human nature, and morality are not fixed throughout history and should be revised as new scientific knowledge becomes available. The term is most commonly associated with an international political movement on basis of this view. Particularly in developed countries, social progressives are secularists, and believe that science and secular philosophy have discredited most traditional beliefs to the point where they no longer hold any inherent value. Thus, all current interpersonal social constructs, such as marriage, the family, monogamy and gender roles and gender identity, must be legally challenged whenever such a change is deemed to be for the greater good of society or is desired by those who wish to engage a social arrangement not currently sanctioned by law. They are generally averse to inequality in all of its forms, and seek to institute egalitarian norms. They are opposed by social conservatives on grounds of positive vs negative liberties.

Social progressivism is not to be confused with social liberalism. Although generally in agreement on what rights are necessitated by the situation, social progressives tend to concentrate more on defining the rationale for having them than do social liberals.

In the United States

In the United States, social progressives advocated the abolition of slavery, right to vote for women and civil rights reforms. Current positions associated with social progressivism in the United States include legal recognition of same-sex marriage, access to contraceptives, public funding of embryonic stem-cell research, and abortion rights. Public education is a subject of great interest to social progressives, who support comprehensive sex education in public schools and the distribution of condoms to high school students, but are strongly opposed to school prayer (on grounds that it violates separation of church and state), school vouchers (on grounds that it distracts from the problem of public school under-performance and deprives them of funds), and opposition to intelligent design in curriculums.

Today, a majority of social progressives in the United States are associated with the Democratic Party. The Congressional Progressive Caucus in the United States House of Representatives works together to advance liberal issues and positions. The group advocates "universal access to affordable, high quality healthcare," fair trade agreements, living wage laws, right of workers to organize, abolition of significant portions of the USA PATRIOT Act, legalization of same-sex marriage, campaign finance reform laws, a complete pullout from the war in Iraq, a crackdown on corporate welfare and influence, an increase in income tax rates on the wealthy, tax cuts for the poor, and an increase in welfare spending by the federal government. Fringe segments of the movement remain opposed to faith-based initiatives and the war in Afghanistan but are not endorsed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

The Progressive Democrats of America is a progressive political organization and Political Action Committee operating inside the Democratic Party. They support progressive taxation, a single-payer health care system, fair trade, election reform, and energy conservation.

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