Progressive

Progressive: a person advocating or the characteristic of advocating PROGRESS away from the jungle toward civilization and therefore away from brutal competition for survival toward cooperative social/economic equality.

    The common blather that "you can't stop progress" is a classic example of equivocation, arguing one thing while seeming to argue something else. Actually, we aren't going to live long enough to find out (and it doesn't matter) if progress, meaning just continuous movement in one direction, can be or ever is incurably inert, but that's irrelevant to the kind of progress that means at least constructively deflecting and channeling the course of human events, and at best actually planning and progressively shaping social evolution to make life better.
    In fact, still uncivilized human governments are forever clumsily stopping and half-ass altering that kind of progress. So the problem with progress isn't unstoppability; it's that the word progress, like the word freedom, is ambiguous and, to the world's still jungle oriented (i.e. capitalist) misleaders and the lumpen they mislead, it is a matter of commercial growth. The predictable idea, in a nation of bookkeepers and shopkeepers fighting to "survive," that progress, to be progress, HAS TO BE quantitative, and HAS TO INCLUDE profitable GROWTH in quantity (or sellable technological complexity) and, once in motion, in a moral universe created for their greed-based philosophical convenience, HAS TO BE inevitable, is a careless idea that needs some analysis under a brighter light than you get from religion, sales brochures, or a mathematically based ethic.
    Johnny Rocco's ideal of progress as spit-flying "M-O-O-RE!"(bigger, taller, faster, shinier, costlier), in a closed ecosystem or a real-world economic system, wherein additions here require subtractions there, should certainly be rejected, along with all the gang leaders, developers and official story editors who cherish it. And, in a theoretical civilized or budding civilized state, even benign qualitative progress should always be weighed against its consequences, sorted and compared, and constructively culled.

    Progress (to a progressive) means progress away from the jungle toward civilization and therefore away from brutal competition for survival toward cooperative social/economic equality.

    A civilized state aimed at making life equally good for all its participants, besides ensuring them more than adequate food, shelter and clothing, and the best health care and education attainable, in the interest of minimizing pain and at least sensibly enhancing (not foolishly maximizing) pleasure, should certainly also provide them the benefits of an intelligent level and selection of technological progress. But only if it's realistically relevant to the purpose of a civilized state. Realism, according to both Epicurus and modern ecologists, entails defensive moderation. Every home may need a refrigerator, a stove, a water heater, a TV set, and a telephone; but it does NOT need a giant refrigerator or deep freeze; a private bakery and grill, a 32-gallon tank that reheats that much water over and over again around the clock, a wall size TV screen, or a phone that also makes ice and cooks and takes pictures and plays 5000 songs.
    Civilization owes everyone a pretty, modern, comfortable, spacious enough home, with a yard and a garden and maybe some fruit trees - but not an estate. Civilization needs excellent transportation and recreational facilities, but like sets of encyclopedias and rototillers, these things can be public and shared. Acquisition of property may seem progressive to a greedy individual whose goal is to dominate others. But it's counter-progressive to the purposes of civilization.
    All civilized people have the right to comfort, convenience, beauty, health, education, and pleasure; but in the context of a civilized social/economic contract, a growing (progressing) capacity to exploit and dominate others, to have too many kids and cars, and to accumulate wealth isn't progressive - it's ethically regressive to the jungle and barbarism, and destructive to the common good and to the eco-system.

    Freedom, the favorite word of both right-wing and left-wing simpletons, is seldom progressive. Freedom to move away from the jungle toward civilization and freedom to figure out how to do that are great and, anyway, by definition, progressive. And any existential freedom that does not disrupt a civil state and is respectable should be respected. But the forfeit of freedom that must be forfeited so that civilization will work is the key to social progress, which IS progress toward civilization.

-Glen Roberts

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