Diana Manister wrote:
> Dear Rick,
> I don't believe in progress and only use the word sarcastically.
O.K. This is promising. You state a propositon rather than reciting a
rewarming inrumor of what some ism says.
What do you mean by Progress?
The Idea of Progress, i.e. of more or less steady "improvement"
structured into history, is an 18th-c invention, and the ideology of
Progress emerged from the rapid technological growth in the 19th & 20th
century. When Clugh wrote "Westward the sky is bright" (or something
like that), he didn't mean that through (never guaranteed) struggle
human coditions could be made more human, he meant that there was an
inevitable process a foot which guaranteed that through smallsteps the a
utopian goal coudl be arrived at.
This is the ideology that informs the liberal's fond hanging on to their
false expectations from Obama -- e.g. the claim that _any_kind of health
plan now, no matter how destructive, is a step that can be built on!
There's an interesting anecdote about a French woman and an American
woman on a torist bus in Spain. The American woman wants to know why the
French health system is so much better than the American. The French
woman replies, "You see, in Ameria the people are afraid of the
government; in France, the government is afraid of the people." For just
a few yars in the '60s we made the government in this country afraid of
the people. Hence Nixon did not use nuclear weapons, as planned, on
Chinese installations in North Vietnam, and from that point on adopted a
double strategy (as Bismarck had a century earlier: On the one hand a
whole pile of "progressive" measures; on the other hand rapid
intensifying of repressive machinery throug the War on Drugs, the War on
Crime, etc., which on the ideolgoical front generated immense fear in
the populacee of insecurity (on the principle of where there's smoke
there's fire: i.e. the "war" on crime had as its central purpose the
convincing of the population that the war on crime was needed. Then
Clinton used the Oklahoma bombing as an excuse for the Effective Death
Penalty and Anti-Terrorism Act. The result, a populace terrified of
individual crime on the one hand and dependent on state repression to
protect them and equally terrified on the other hand of the government
doing anything useful, like build a decent rail system or a decent
health service. Repression is Freedom. Serice is Slavery!
So I don't believe in Progress either. There was, shall we say, progress
from about 3000 b.c.e. to 1000 b.c.e., and then from Greece to China
that bronze-age civilization more or less disappeared -- even the art
of writing had to be reinvented.
So I don't believe in Progress either. What do you mean by saying you
don't believe in it?