The word “progress” is root of the word “progressivism”, one used to describe an ideology supposedly engaged in improving the lives of Americans. The very idea of progress is a change for the better – forward movement toward something that enhances human existence.
If one looks at this so-called “progressive” ideology, one could legitimately redefine it as “change-ism” because its adherents often – I would say most often – confuse simple change with actual progress. Change-ists always eschew metrics or any attempts to measure their “progress” for fear that they will be weighed, measured and found wanting when compared to actual results.
Legendary college coach, Darryl Royal (Mississippi State, U of Washington and Texas), was quoted as saying “When you throw a pass, three things can happen to it, and two of them are bad.” See, that’s the thing about change – it isn’t always good. Change is like a forward pass in football, three things can happen – two of which are bad. Change can go forward but it can also go in reverse or sideways. I always thought Obama’s slogan “Hope and Change” was imbecilic because it implied change was always good (or maybe he just hoped it was) – but the fact is, even if change doesn’t harm, change for the sake of itself is simply a waste of time and energy.
There is a reason social norms became social norms. There is a reason cultures create, adopt and/or perpetuate certain mores (the essential or characteristic customs and conventions of a community). There is a reason certain economic systems are adopted by nations.
It’s because these norms, mores and economic systems are more successful than other historic or contemporary models and therefore render actual progress for the individuals who practice them.
In 1956, Ludwig von Mises proposed the reason intellectuals/academicians and public sector folks detest people in the private sector is that measurement is central to existence in the private sector as much as avoiding measurement is in academia. When academics and public “servants” are compared to accomplished individuals in the private sector, they can’t measure up (pardon the pun). It also explains why academics and most in the public sector adopt progressivism.
I think this is a big reason the progressive left, the academic world and the establishment NeverTrumpers hate Trump. He represents a return to traditional views of our institutions and that scares the hell out of them because if we go back to what works, they will be exposed as the frauds they are.
Progressives (i.e. Change-ists) prefer the instability of constant change because constant stirring of the pot prevents anyone knowing what is in it. A society in a constant state of flux on the most basic of levels is a confused society (one that can’t even decide if having a penis means one is a male of the species). This is the “progress” the progressives have wrought…but it isn’t progress, it is merely change. In most cases over the past few decades, this change is simply a deviation from societal norms, cultural mores and economic systems that have been proven successful. This is change for the sake of change and is not “progress” by any definition.
2 thoughts on “A Considered Opinion”
I use Coach Royal’s observation all the time when explaining to patients why something they think they want might not be the best option for them. BTW, his first name is spelled “Darrell.” He sat at the right hand of God when I was growing up in Texas.