There’s no progress without control.

“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 ?
Not progress.
My well-worn desktop configured to my taste and needs ?
Progress.

Your “encrypted communication” app on your iOS device ?
Not progress.
My PGP.
Progress. v

Your bank account that won’t let you withdraw $20k in cash at a moments notice ?
Not progress.
My bitcoin ?
Progress.

The house you “bought” but will never own because you have a 35-year mortgage and have no insurance against rising interest rates ?
Not progress.
My paid-off rental property ?
Progress.vi

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 ?

___ ___ ___

  1. 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. []
  2. Herpy-derp-derp and a bottle of rum, Red Lenin’s tomb, here they come ! []
  3. “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 []
  4. 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. []
  5. Well, as long as it stays un-phuctored. []
  6. 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. []
  7. 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. []

46 thoughts on “There’s no progress without control.

  1. brendafdez says:

    Reminds me of the awesome introduction to Loper-OS, The Illusion of Progress:

    “As a child, I obsessively devoured books on the history of science and technology. They all lied to me. The lie, of course, was a subtle and almost certainly unintentional one. These books painted a picture of a ‘wheel of progress’ which could be counted on to turn strictly forward, however slowly. Except for a token mention of the Dark Ages, none of them let on just how wobbly the ratchet on that wheel really is. I formed the impression that knowledge could never be truly lost, except in cataclysmic upheavals like the ancient barbarian victories or a future thermonuclear war.

    I was not fully cured of this illusion until I became interested in programming computers. Like many others, I spent many years immersed in the Microsoft universe and eventually broke free. My escape, like that of others, led me to Linux and a fascination with the ‘Unix Way.’ For several years, I believed that personal computing has languished in a decades-long Dark Age, and that the work of Torvalds and the GNU project were the beginning of a new enlightenment. Then I discovered that software could be capable of a lot more than simply not being Microsoft. And so my quest began.

    I am not fascinated with the past for its own sake. It is of interest solely because disturbingly good ideas are buried within it. I have gathered them, mixed in some of my own, and am now ready to cook something delicious.”

    http://www.loper-os.org/?p=4

    • I agree that the past isn’t just interesting for its own sake, and that there are indeed disturbingly good ideas buried within it, and well, I also agree with most of the rest of Stan’s passage there, even if I’m not yet ready for any cooking myself.

      Thanks for posting this and I look forward to seeing you back in #b-a soon !

  2. Thomas Jennings says:

    Pete,

    Nice article and I’m enjoying your blog.

    If you haven’t already, check out John Gray’s latest book, The Silence of Animals: On Progress and Other Modern Myths. It was rather illuminating for me and I’d like to hear your take on it.

    If you are unfamiliar with John Gray, and to serve as an endorsement, Nassim Taleb called him “the greatest and most lucid thinker on the planet” (!)

    Tom

    • Thomas,

      I very much appreciate the comment and the book recommendation. It just so happens that I ordered Gray’s book a month or two ago on the strength of Taleb’s praise, though I’ve yet to actually crack the thing. It’s currently sitting patiently on my bookshelf, waiting in the line-up somewhere between Edmund Burke’s essays, Candide (en français), and a collection of Warren Buffet’s annual letters to his shareholders. It’ll be a busy summer if I’m to make it to this as well!

      Cheers,

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  4. […] Progress is defined by man’s increasing ability to control his environment and assert his will over it. It’s as simple as that. This, we know. […]

  5. […] a newborn babe and forever a part of the imbecilic komoonitee. “Sustainable” and “progress” are but a few of the victims of the strong-retard-powered perversity calling itself […]

  6. […] dynamic and “who can possibly keep up with all the progress in the world” that isn’t really progress so much as furious activity masquerading as such, I get that. But forced software updates […]

  7. […] people as heretics ? You gotta laugh at the creativity of those guys sometimes. Dignity, progress, you name it and they’ve probably twisted it around for their own impossible […]

  8. […] of the human condition. The Industrial Revolution has brought about real progress – increased control for man over his environment – that has awfully little to do with the instability of social […]

  9. […] is therefore anti-progress, but in the name of progress, of course! […]

  10. […] individual to lift himself above the group as never before in human history if and only if he takes ownership of his private keys. Moving […]

  11. […] you just like *that*, without batting so much as an eyelash, because you don’t own them !vi Own or be owned, mkay […]

  12. […] you have control, if you have agency, this all might seem painfully obvious. But if you don’t, did you notice […]

  13. […] eyes were opened to the first-class luxury, the unbridled progressviii – which is to say the complete control of variables – and the absolute five-star decadence offered by a home birth. Does the mother-to-be want a […]

  14. […] that crates full of Z80s and Pogos weren’t ‘capital goods.’ Because sure, if states can play with definitions, why can’t we all ? […]

  15. […] to what the progre think progress actually is, it sure as fuck isn’t material domination. Eschewing this most reasonable and accurate definition therefore opens the door to any number of […]

  16. […] with a view towards the long-term.” This is as objectionable an abuse of language as the libertard definition of progess […]

  17. […] of which haven’t been seen for millennia, and it represents true technological change and legitimate progress, not the consumeristically perverted interpretations […]

  18. […] he had a chance, because the dad’s a scared loser who may or may not identify as a “progressive,” and so now his son is in turn a scared loser. And so it goes, leaving each man-shaped pile […]

  19. […] “voter” that dreams he’s represent-ed Imagining himself more progress-ed Pops his ticket in the box at the polls Just like any other one of the proles Expecting his power […]

  20. […] it’s that it’s a fuckton of work to be master and after a few generations of “progressive” ideas, it just wasn’t worth the bother anymore. Luckily, and I do mean that […]

  21. Mitchell says:

    I love when I revisit a post 2-4 months after I first read it, and it takes on an entirely new, realistic perspective. This bad boy has sunk in, and I love it! Thanks Pete.

  22. […] is this ?! Well-heeled professional women buy themselves all the goddam time ! This is a “progressive” society after all, is it not ? Seriously, last I checked,xii women were outright purchasers […]

  23. […] it inequality,vii patriarchy,viii or aristocracyix – will be contested by man in the name of Progress before he accepts that nature is what nature does ? The answer is : indefinitely. For man, having […]

  24. […] for looking out for numero uno instead of whatever sympathy pr0n soup du jour the “progressives” are pumping. Oh wait…vii fur hat and you’d swear you had deja vu. […]

  25. […] cause and effect. While it’s true that we’re shaped by our environments, the very definition of progress (despite the sullying of the word by liberalists) is that we increase control over our […]

  26. […] the entire fraudulent conception of “social progress” is exactly predicated on, as Disraeli describes, the natural equality of man. A steaming […]

  27. […] all large agglomerated Nations of Africa since time immemorial,ii that cultures have histories and progresstards have New Ideas is about as newsworthy as the sun rising in Japan. That there’s no longer a […]

  28. […] of similarity between the pre-91ers and the post-91ers, hurling their cookies over the fact that so many mistakes could be repeated so soon afterwards. Different language, sure, but same playbook. Seriously, the […]

  29. […] nary a corner of God’s green earth that doesn’t stand as a beautiful affront to the progressive mantra of absolutely enforced equality of outcome,i the green earth carpeting private golf clubs being no […]

  30. […] Definitely The Future but has meanwhile been quietly forgotten, brushed under the rug  of “progressive” history. Exactly like The Internet of Things… And Moore’s Law ad […]

  31. […] was a time when honour enforced military pacts, but nation states have “progressed” to the point where they’re drone-bombing their own citizens like something out of […]

  32. […] votes. Amerika has spoken and she’s articulating loudly and clearly that, sorry “progressives,” but the proud white middle class won’t be sailing quite so quietly into the night on […]

  33. […] suppose you probably thought it was more progressive to wipe clean the slates of history, to start afresh without the Bible or Torah as your touchstone, […]

  34. […] the pursuit of ‘apenis – but most every positive production, invention, or innovation in the history of human progress to date has been the result of continual dissatisfaction. Examples of this phenomenon are almost too […]

  35. […] the salt, gravel, slush, and snow typical of the streetscape from months spanning October to May. Progress! […]

  36. […] – I’m not convinced that social progress can ever be anything more than an ephemeral fashion – but we can say with a healthy degree of confidence that the whole monogamous marriage […]

  37. […] the ancients have much wisdom to impart to us, but wrapping ourselves in the flag of “progress” is the surest fire way to miss the lessons of history and to repeat its gravest mistakes. […]

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