Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What is Progress?

Written : Mar. 6, 2013

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Since the end of the U.S. Civil War, Americans have defined progress as increased manufacturing on all levels, suburban sprawl, and technological advances, in other words, more of everything. We all enjoyed when the U.S. economy boomed. Thriving businesses, higher profits, leisure time spent on cruise ships, more travel, etc. Everyone tells me that they don’t look back; we must progress - and move forward. But, what do they mean?

The left conditioned us to think that moving backward connotes conditions worse than we experience now, and yet, some people secretly love them. While laying this groundwork, they used negatives like slavery, oppressive working conditions, and a time when women couldn’t vote as a way to define bygone eras. They also perpetuated a shocking myth, which more and more people believe: cretins, monsters, and most conservatives pine for such days to return! As a youth, I preferred to think of the past as a peaceful and simpler time - before machines made annoying, vibrating noises. But I lost. You can’t have it both ways (the past can’t be both good and bad), they said. So, I learned that progress is the combination of human, societal AND technological advances, all together. Progress, they said. So, we embraced the ever-increasing human population – more meant better, faster. Propeller planes died off in favor of quicker jets. We hailed mechanical inventions and new ways to use the earth’s abundant and self-renewing resources became a rallying cry. At some point I accepted this meaning, also my left-wing parents’ definition of ‘progress.’


Carly Fiorina, past president of HP, said this at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) meeting in early 2012: "If you looked up the word PROGRESSIVE in the dictionary, you would read words like change, forward motion, advancing. If you look up CONSERVATIVE, you will read opposed to change. The 21st century and the age of technology have turned these definitions on their head. It is progressives who fight to preserve a system of big government and institutional power that is increasingly anachronistic (backward looking) and ineffective – not to mention too expensive. It is conservatives who are fighting to limit the power of bureaucracies and unleash the power of the individual (this is the way forward). Progressives are fighting against the tide of history and the power of technology. Conservatives embrace the principles upon which our great nation was founded and upon which the new world of the 21st century must be built: empower the individual, unleash the entrepreneur and truly unlock the potential of this great nation."

Long ago the left revered freedom and individual liberties. Today it unknowingly works to remove them, as many as possible, for some “greater good.” This is communitarianism; the community is more valuable than the person. Cleaning up the earth and keeping it pristine for future generations is a good idea, but, as I’ve shown in this blog, idealistic concepts have been molded into cases for command and control. The creators called such perversions their “Agenda 21.”


The sweet dream of living in a large house with two (or even, God forbid, three) cars with lots of kids became a sort of horror for some. Instead of viewing inspirational stories as moving on up, the elites see these formerly progressive lifestyles as wasteful and destructive. Doing well for yourself and the family? Not so fast, they consider this selfish, not successful, optimistic, or refreshing. The ideal is now a small apartment, light rail, and a timid, small family. How did this happen? Why?


The environmentalists re-defined the original definition of progress the left taught many of us. Instead of enjoying one’s time off by ‘taking a drive,’ they now frown upon the burning of gasoline and favor trains over cars. Take a moment to notice: they frown a lot and favor the pessimistic outlook. Instead of celebrating people and society, they think that human populations spoil the world’s finite resources; they want us to return to the time of horses and buggies. Living in more compact confines, using fewer kilowatt hours, smaller and smaller footprints save the earth, they say. Freedom be damned, so instead they ask, “Is it sustainable?” Environmentalists have the gall to tell us that “the future is the past.” But, how is moving backward a valid definition of ‘forward?’

I ask you, “What is progress?”


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Keywords: Conservatism, Conservative blog, Mark A. Cohen, From The Left to the Right, Progress, What is Progress?, Environmentalists, Agenda 21, suburban sprawl, liberty, the way forward

Keywords: "Conservatism", "Conservative blog", "Mark A. Cohen", "From The Left to the Right", “Progress”, “What is Progress?”, “Environmentalists”, “Agenda 21”, “suburban sprawl”, “liberty”, “the way forward”

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