Excellent article, Joe.
An additional feature that comes from the Progressives seeing their goals as a moral crusade, is that they have a direction and specific goals (even if they won't be open about the specifics and need to couch them in fuzzy soundbites). And that empowers them - they are motivated and purposeful.
The conservatives, by contrast, are trying to slowdown or stop the movement to the left and that isn't a moral argument - not in the terms they use to phrase their arguments. Especially when they are at the same time accepting the moral base of altruism. And that makes their opposition weak.
Another feature of this fight between progressives and conservatives is that the progressives want Progressivism to be held as a religion, and they see the Christianity which is so often prevalent among conservatives as direct competition. And whatever the Religious Right's effectiveness is in politics has to do with their moral motivation and purposeful actions. Adopting the stance of moral crusaders means seeing the left's intentions as anti-Christian and then demonizing them for that reason.
They are both right in that they are both fighting to establish government power to enforce their religious views and the other side is their 'intentional' enemy in that.
The moral premise is that with the right intentions and enough power, good people can accomplish their moral goals.
So true - for both the far left and the religous right! How different from an Objectivist version of that moral premise where the right actions and with freedom from initiated force, good people can accomplish their moral goals.
Once intentions become the moral currency, everything becomes a question of intentions. If we could accomplish altruistic goals with enough power, then the lack of utopia is always due to some people opposing the goals.
Collectivist oriented views will always devolve to more and more intense focus on finding and destroying the enemies who are the cause of problems, and will always move further away from a view of individual actions and freedom. Just as moderate liberals found the ground disappearing from under their feet as power moved to the progressives, the progressives will find themselves losing ground to the violent, radical left. And the farther one goes in that direction, the more it becomes about intentions and enemies. That might be, in some twisted way, why the progressives always seem attracted to, and tolerant of the terrorists of the left (who best exemplify the purest version of the view that what is needed it to kill the capitalists and utopia will be available). Notice that it doesn't matter if those terrorists are ISIS, Guy Fawkes anarchists, or communist revolutionaries.
....the formula is always the same. The negative results are always a product of not enough will.
Look at how true that is with Islamists who call for sending out people with bombs strapped to their bodies. And if these living bombs show the will to make this sacrifice, then they will go directly to their utopia. And if the decadent west doesn't capitulate to Sharia, then more jihad is required.
If the anarchist/revolutionary who sets cars on fire at riots doesn't cause enough chaos to force the system to somehow tranform and get rid of their enemies, then they need to be more violent, so that the evil corporations will be toppled.
If the progressives gain control of the internet with the Trojan Horse FCC Net Neutrality regulations and there are still enemies who are opposing them, then they will need to make stronger laws - until there is enough control that the enemies of social justice and equality will stop their oppression and people will be liberated from need.