We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
This is a summer weekend re-post from our dusty archives:
"Progress," like environmentalism, is a secular religion.
I have always been suspicious of the concept of progress. For Chambers of Commerces, it has always seemed to mean more asphalt. For Leftists it has meant movement towards international socialism. In the world of morals, it has seemed to mean less morality and self-discipline. In art and design, it often seems vain and meaningless. In the world of religion, it has seemed to mean watering it down. In the Sciences though - medicine, technology, etc - advances have of course added much to quality and ease of life - but nothing to the meaning and purpose of our lives unless we are scientists.
Wilfred McClay in Touchstone points out how the word has shaped our experience. Our words shape the way we think about things, sometimes in insidious ways and without our awareness, even as we use them: sometimes our words lead our thoughts instead of vice-versa.
History has become for our secular age what “fate” was for the Greco-Roman ancients, and what “providence” was (and remains) for many Christians. This is the sense of History that Hegel and Marx promoted, and the sense that Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy recently appealed to in justifying an opinion by “evolving standards of decency.” It is the sense that moral innovators are appealing to in promoting homosexual and polyamorous “marriage,” artificial wombs, bioengineered enhancements, and all the other delights of “posthumanity.”
The postmodernists who claim that we are beyond the sway of such metanarratives as History are speaking utter rubbish. (As usual.) “Progress” is the one article of faith that remains strong among us, the one torch in modernism’s darkening hall that still burns bright. To oppose it, even in the slightest, is to render oneself an “enemy of the future.”
Which is why the possibility that such innovations might ultimately fail is, literally, inconceivable to so many true believers, as inconceivable to them as a sudden revocation of the laws of physics. You see, there are certain prevailing winds in this thing called History, and the Path of True Virtue can only be found in discerning those winds, and aligning one’s skiff with them. Or so the partisans of conventional wisdom would have it. And their confidence is oddly mirrored in the dejection of the orthodox, who feel themselves on the losing side of History.
Mencius over at Unqualified Reservations has been repeatedly making this point for a year. He goes further, in fact, in identifying progress as a highly successful offshoot of mainline protestantism. Very interesting.
Progressivism begins with the existential experience of meaninglessness, absurdity and impending finitude that is common to all liberals. Out of this experience may likely come progressivism, it is just as likely that some variety of Islam will come.
There are many varieties of Islam:
The actual historical Islam of monotheism
The Islam of Racism
The Islam of Equality
The Islam of "Objectivism"
The Islam of "The Freedom of the Individual" (Freedom from all things that exist)
Someone who is in an Islamic state of mind has found some of the Truth and wants the whole world to bow down to it. You may call these people "dogmatists" and rebuke them on the grounds of their displaying of religious behaviour.
Progressivism may seem like a religion, but it is not a religion, there is no such thing as a secular religion, though if it seems like a religion it is because progressivism's motivation is primarily religious: Union with the infinite.
Written into all hearts is a desire for the infinite. Progressivists desire union with the infinite; a world without limits or rules or sadness; progressivists believe that one can evolve to this "higher" state.
That evolving to this "higher" state requires the abolition of all religion, gender, race, nationality, class, money, knowledge, morality, the concept of humanity itself, is not a reason against progressivism, because progressivism is a religious desire for the infinite.
Infinity, logically and phenomenologically speaking, has no boundaries. If one abolishes boundaries in the world, one seemingly gets closer to god.
Hey, I agree with the Bible. Jesus was the first Marxist...I respect that. He advocated leftist socialism in the Gospels. Funny most preachers rarely quote those versus anymore...I wonder why.
He was also for stoning people, including women and children. I would hasten to add cell-phone users in movie theaters, but they didn't have cell-phones or movie theaters back then, so God can be forgiven for the omission.
I also can't wait for the end of the world. To see Bush, Cheney, Rove and others judged by God would be a treat.
Progressivism requires the reevaluation of all values and is not just the same thing in borrowed robes of religion. Progressivism has not only an objective sense, but a subjective one as well, and that is new genetics where man will become the controlling agent in his own evolution. Now that is real progress!
clinton van keister