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Some have protested that the left’s self-rebranding from “liberal” to “progressive” is no more than a way to shirk ownership of the well-documented havoc “liberals” have wrought on American society, and they may be right.

Still, “progressive” works better. A liberal can have a fixed set of values, much as conservatives do. But progressives, by definition, are always progressing. Like the Panzers across Russia, if they stop moving, they freeze and die.

So advance they must, subverting democratic will through the courts and sapping it through their control of the media and the academy.

So perverse is the progressive instinct to advance that ground, resistance only inspires them. The more stubbornly red-staters uphold a tradition, the more progressives pride themselves in opposing it.

This moral preening leads progressives to advance on fronts fully at odds with one another: none more paradoxical, of course, than gay rights and Islamic tolerance.

On the gay-rights front, the underestimated book, “Still Standing,” by former Miss California Carrie Prejean, offers a surprisingly useful look at the progressives’ take-no-prisoners march through the institutions.

In April 2009, at the finals of the Miss USA contest, the extravagantly gay contest judge, the self-named Perez Hilton, asked Prejean whether every state should legalize same-sex marriage. Prejean offered a polite and tolerant response with which most Americans are entirely comfortable:

Well I think it’s great that Americans are able to choose one way or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And, you know what, in my country, in my family, I think that, I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, no offense to anybody out there. But that’s how I was raised, and I believe that it should be between a man and a woman.

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Hilton did not appreciate Prejean’s tempered nuance. “She gave the worst answer in pageant history,” he immediately blogged. “Miss California lost because she’s a DUMB B—H, okay?”

Hilton reportedly gave Prejean a “zero” vote, which likely cost her the Miss USA crown. She was first runner-up. “If that girl would have won Miss USA I would have gone up onstage, I s–t you not,” Hilton continued, “and snatched that tiara off her head.”

Hilton’s rants grew progressively more obscene because no one of consequence in his world objected. Hollywood’s anger was directed instead at Prejean.

“A lot of people are mad at you,” her gay manager texted her in discouraging her from attending the coronation ball. “I’m afraid of what might happen to you. You really shouldn’t come.”

Over the next several months Prejean would suffer any number of insults and indignities, culminating in the loss of her Miss California crown.

The pretext for this anti-Christian coup was that Prejean did not cooperate with the Miss California executives who were scheming to take her crown away when not busy disowning her stance on gay marriage.

Activists on the same-sex marriage front have been moving at blitzkrieg pace. To confirm, consider what Barack Obama had to say in the 2008 campaign in his response to a Human Rights campaign questionnaire: “I do not support gay marriage. Marriage has religious and social connotations, and I consider marriage to be between a man and a woman.”

Emboldened by Obama’s victory, his own troops have forgotten the cautions of their commander in chief. Obama, however, had already prepared an exit strategy to accommodate the gay-marriage shock troops.

“I must admit that I may have been infected with society’s prejudices and predilections and attributed them to God,” observed the Obama writing committee in the 2006 book “Audacity of Hope,” “in that Jesus’ call to love one another might demand a different conclusion.”

A serious Christian, Prejean allows herself no such convenient sacrilege. She will endure, but her public pillorying sent a not-so-subtle message to those who might stand in the way of progressive advance on the gay-rights front: You, too, can be steamrollered.

On the Islamic tolerance front, during a recent episode of the dumbly subversive TV show “The View,” regulars Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar had their own Perez Hilton moment.

In opposing the proposed Ground Zero mosque, Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly made the undeniable point that “Muslims killed us on 9/11.” In a public display of affectation (PDA), the overstuffed divas stormed huffily off the set.

Like Hilton, they hoped to use their media power to shame the opposition. Like Prejean, O’Reilly will survive, but others more vulnerable will think twice before offending their own in-house thought police.

“I think my whole ordeal,” writes Prejean prophetically, “reveals just how the culture of political correctness uses shaming, blackmail, and other forms of emotional abuse to force people and organizations to either stick to our beliefs and suffer the consequences, or throw away our beliefs just to be left alone.”

Conservatives who seek détente on any front misunderstand the enemy. Progressives progress. Like the scorpion who stung the life-sustaining frog halfway across the river, they have no choice. It’s in their nature.

On the two fronts in question, if conservative resistance collapses and the advancing armies meet, my guess is that they will not be sharing shots of Vodka at a metaphoric River Elbe.

Tempting as it might be to welcome the sheer spectacle of an LGBT-Shariah dust-up, traditional virtues compel us to resist.

There may be a price to pay, but when we rescue Perez Hilton from a public stoning in West Hollywood, his apology alone will be worth it.

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