“Progress,” as you may well have noticed,i is an intentionally vague term of moral dubiousness tossed around by equalitarians and socialistoids,ii largely to denote a degradation of anything and everything to a level accessible to the lowest common denominator. The theory goes that “progress” is that which increases accessibility, safety, and a raft of other non-concrete and therefore inanely unworthy social objectives. The idea is that this equality of outcomes – as opposed to the more reasonable, if still unrealistic, equality of opportunities – will bring forth a new era in human history, if not evolution, so very much improved from Barbarism v1.0.
However, via this manipulation of words comes about the damaging consequence that goodness and quality are sold down the river in exchange for a handful of magic beans that, once ingested, are said to imbue a warm and fuzzy and ever-so-happy feeling on the inside. Inevitably, of course, the beans just make you gassy, poisoning the air we all breathe. Not because of “reasons” either, but because humans haven’t evolved a lick in the last 10,000 years since the advent of agriculture. People are just people (even if not all “people” are people).
Counter to nature as the usual definition of “progress” is, I can no longer in good conscious tolerate this abuse of language and therefore intend to rectify it herein. Let’s start with this passage from the Durants :iii
Perhaps we should first define what progress means to us. If it means increase in happiness its case is lost almost at first sight. Our capacity for fretting is endless, and no matter how many difficulties we surmount, how many ideals we realise, we shall always find an excuse for being magnificently miserable ; there is a stealthy pleasure in rejecting mankind or the universe as unworthy of our approval. It seems silly to define progress in terms that would make the average child a higher, more advanced product of life than the adult or the sage – for certainly the child is the happiest of the three. Is a more objective definition possible ?
Yes, happiness is a stupid objective for an individual, much less an entire society to pursue.iv Also, yes, that doesn’t stop the morally and intellectually bankrupt fiat nation states from divining “happiness indexes” that put servile understates like Tibet on top, implying that becoming an inward looking monk who never takes arms against his oppressors is the noblest of aims. A better definition of progress is this :
We shall here define progress as the increasing control of the environment by life. It is a test that may hold for the lowliest organism as well as for man.
Progress is increasing control. Nothing more, nothing less.
So your new smartphone with the auto-update feature turned on ?
My well-worn desktop configured to my taste and needs ?
Your bank account that won’t let you withdraw $20k in cash at a moments notice ?
My bitcoin ?
Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Progress surely exists, it’s not entirely a fiction, but don’t be fooled into thinking it has anything to do with the rights railroad served to you in grade school. It has nothing to do with giving and everything to do with taking. And if you set your aim on taking, don’t settle for meaningless words on a page. That’s not the real deal. Progress, the real deal, is three things :
On the first count, progress is stochastic : unpredictable and chaotic advances define progress. It’s not something that “we’re due for,” or “we finally deserve in this day and age” or any other such entitlement. Far from it. A new invention that increases our control over our environment, even something as seemingly simple as being able to read books in the evening thanks to the advent of electric lighting,vii is a marvel – a once-in-a-lifetime-if-you’re-lucky occurrence that defines a generation and alters the course of history, inserting a schism into the record books between those who leveraged the progress and those who didn’t.
On the second count, progress is expensive : the cost of progress, before it scales (and if it scales), is so unimaginably, so eye-wateringly expensive that it’s inherently the domain of the few ; the best of us, really. This holds true whether we’re talking about spices from China in 15th-century Britain, space travel 50 years ago, or user-auditable TRNGs today. Progress, as with all things of beauty and value, is for some, not for all.
On the third count, progress is material : it’s quite entirely physical and not in the slightest bit social, despite the common misuse of the term so perversely implying the converse. No, I’m sorry to say, our dominion over the earth is not on the shoulders of pandering to weaker peoples and it’s not on account of pieces on paper that imagine the essence of our competitive nature to be something to be swept under the rug for the saying of it. Progress is control. Physical. Control.
Ultimately, this ability of man to reign supreme over his environment – an ability that has markedly improved over the millennia, for we now have effective vaccines and surgeries, climate-controlled apartments, underground tunnels stretching for hundreds of miles, intercontinental air travel, grocery stores stocked to the rafters with produce from the four corners of the globe, not to mention personal computers with robust encryption – is what distinguishes man and raises him above beasts.
If life has any point at all, an admittedly debatable point when you’re working from causes, it’s progress. This being so, if you’re not willing to die in the pursuit of complete control over your environment, you’re doing yourself and your children an unqualified disservice.
So what’ll it be ? To progress or not to progress ?
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- You do live in a socialist country that preaches the oh-so-proud principles of progress, don’t you ? My stats say… yes. And numbers don’t lie. Except for when they do, but this time I strongly suspect that the largely socialist and narrowly capitalist fiat nation states that are pretty much blanketing the portions of the globe for whom this level of English would mean anything at all can be used to provide a not inconsiderable level of confidence in my presumptions. [↩]
- Herpy-derp-derp and a bottle of rum, Red Lenin’s tomb, here they come ! [↩]
- “The Durants” being, of course, Will and Ariel, winners of the Pulitzer prize back before it was another meaningless piece of plastic refuse heaped upon unbecoming confederates of the welfarist nation-state. Y’know, like the Nobel. Seriously, Krugman and Obama !!11!1 [↩]
- Then again, what the fuck is “a society” anyways ? It’s not a culture, that’s too narrow, and it’s not a tribe or even a people either, for the exact same reason and in the exact same way. As best as I can see “a society” is a globalist trompe l’oeil intended to make stupid people think that other stupid people give a shit about them. Y’know, just like World Vision and the scores of other related scams work. [↩]
- Well, as long as it stays un-phuctored. [↩]
- I’ll concede, particularly to anyone who has ever had property seized by reds or whatever, that you can’t really “own” real estate. Don’t believe me ? Try slagging off on your property taxes for a few years and see what happens. You’ll see. [↩]
- Not that candles didn’t exist before, but they were an awful strain on the eyes. If you haven’t already, try it sometime to see for yourself. [↩]