Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Progress And The "Progressives"

     The abstract notion of progress, which is the implied goal of the “progressive,” is seldom considered analytically. What is it, after all, that we mean by progress? Is it something we can seek in a confident way, at least in specific contexts? How do we know if we’re achieving it? Would an analysis of its opposite, regress, provide any clues to the puzzle? Is there some more fundamental concept to which we must recur before we can grasp either one?

     All those questions are answerable. However, there are persons who would move heaven and earth to prevent you from doing so. And yes, they style themselves “progressives.”

     When I was leafing through my archives a little earlier, I stumbled over this excellent piece by Thales at The Declination. A couple of snippets:

     This is the Progressive vision for the future, where fat and unhygienic is beautiful. This is a world in which John Scalzi is the pinnacle of writing talent, where Michael Moore is your script writer and Ben Kuchera is your journalist. Your State Department official is a moron who claims the unemployment numbers in Syria are largely responsible for global terrorism. Your own President cannot name who the terrorists are.

     Utopia for Progressives is Hell on Earth, possibly worse than any the Bright One who Fell could think up. Your live entertainment will be based on vaginas. Your art is a Crucifix in a jar of piss, or period blood on canvas. Paul Krugman will be your personal banker, with every Western government worth mentioning so far in debt that the entire population could work for well over a year doing nothing but paying it, without coming close to discharging it....

     I want to make this as abundantly clear as I possibly can with words, I’ve had enough of the destruction of Western Culture. Progressives have ruined all that is good and Holy on this planet. Wherever there is ugliness, you can be sure to find one of their ilk behind it. Not only do they loathe standards of conduct, beauty and comparison, they actively promote anti-standards. They deconstruct so far, they’ve tunneled straight through civilization and into barbarism, they are the men digging in the ground all the way to China.

     They elevate diarrhea to fine wine, while pouring the good vintage down the drain. A beautiful woman in a bikini is an ugly demonstration of sexism, to them, instead of a wonderful example of femininity. A strong man is a patriarchal, heteronormative oppressor. The intellectual is a “mansplainer.”

     [Emphasis added by FWP.]

     Thales has bull’s-eyed the critical fundamental concept that makes it possible to talk sensibly about progress: the acceptance of a standard. That it should be necessary to drag this notion front and center and demand that it be examined closely says a great deal about the deterioration of Western culture...none of it good.

     Without a standard, we cannot determine whether progress is occurring. But the “progressive” agenda demands the elimination of the standards on which Western culture is based. Do the “progressives” have alternate standards to propose? They do not. Rather, they posit that there shall be no evaluations whatsoever – that their decreed outcomes must be accepted without question. Whether we would like those outcomes is immaterial to them.

     Kevin Cullinane of the Freedom School once proposed a definition of progress that I find highly appealing:

     Progress is the improved satisfaction of human desires, morally, with less input.

     Concise! The relevant standards, human desires and human morality, are clearly stated. The criteria for evaluation are equally clear: improved satisfaction and less input. However, as with any human concept, one must take care to remain within its domain of applicability. Some desires don’t quite make the cut.

     Consider one of the puzzlers Thales called out: the “progressives’” attempt to redefine beauty so that grotesquely fat women would qualify. That a woman would want to be thought beautiful despite being dangerously overweight should come as no surprise. All women want to be thought of (and treated) as beautiful. But that desire cross-cuts the existing standard for beauty. Therefore, say the “progressives,” the standard must go! But what would take its place? By what criteria would any woman determine whether she is progressing toward beauty or regressing from it?

     And answer comes there none. “Progressives” don’t propose standards; they demand specific outcomes. Indeed, “progressives” are actively hostile to standards of any sort. A standard implies that their agendas might be evaluated and found wanting. That is unacceptable. So all standards must go – and be damned to those whose desires or interests would be harmed by losing them.

     Several commentators have remarked upon the absurdity of Leftist attitudes in the U.S. at this time. To one with traditional standards for prosperity, justice, and beauty, the absurdity is plain. But the “progressives” are straining to destroy those standards. For prosperity they would substitute “equality;” for justice, “social justice;” for beauty, “diversity and inclusion.” Discussion of the actual meanings of their shibboleths is forbidden by “political correctness,” as is discussion of the departure from their proposed norms by their standard-bearers and mouthpieces.

     The maintenance of our standards requires that we treat them as property: i.e., we must defend them when they’re attacked. That, too, is a target of the “progressives.” Property is inherently exclusionary, and they can’t abide that. But it’s the only workable attitude toward what they’ve been trying to do to us in the name of “progress.”

     The overwhelming majority of us are with Thales. We share venerable standards about prosperity, justice, and beauty. They allow us to know when we’re making progress. If we are to protect that condition – an absolute necessity to a project pursuer — we must never compromise, even slightly, with those who seek the destruction of our standards. “Progress” must not become an empty sound once uttered by benighted savages in a forgotten age.

1 comment:

Warmongerel said...

Marxism 101 states that Socialism is the path to "perfect" Communism, where the State withers away and everyone is happy. Lenin said that, "Socialism is the path to Communism".

When a Leftist speaks of progress, he is speaking of progress being made along the path to Communism, not progress as defined by rational, normal people and societies.