How could "progressive" ever be a derogatory term? Life is progressive. Psychology has been around long enough for us to grasp the implications of being anal and regressive, to prefer stagnation over forward movement. Conservatism by this definition should be regarded as a pathology. And that's how it behaves. Look at Trump's inaugural speech: project fear on steroids; the sky is falling and only the wall of all walls will stop it.
In Scotland we know all too much about such walls. This kind of block in the way of reflective thinking convinced older Scots during the last referendum to deny their country the chance to govern itself. It took to heart the colonial imperative for natives to stay down in their lowly box. Scotland, so the wall-grafitti reads, was "too wee, too poor, too stupid."
Fear as a state tool is effective because it has a swift conduit into inner fear. In this civilisation, still heavy in the aftermath of a religion that ruled by fear, it is all too easy for the masters to pull that trigger. It's what Theresa May is up to with her snap election. It's the path religious conservatives now ruling America have taken against all reason. It is anti-fact, and therein lies its regression and grand cynicism.
But we should be wise by now to the fearmongers. Fear gave us Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, Brexit England, Trump - you get the fear going and then you offer a solution. You can't govern yourselves, it says, so let me do it for you.
The challenge is to break through that wall. Resist. Pull out a brick or two and discover that, far from doom, there's sun and fresh air on the other side.
A wise American president once told us that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Why? Because fear cripples, erodes your ability to move and eventually turns you to stone. Fear makes of us easy ornaments to store in a box. Trump, Theresa May, the conservatives, all the fearmongers of history, are counting on you staying down.
Empires rise, but it is because of the fearless that empires fall.