On Progress

Lately I have heard a number of terms thrown around, such as “progressive”, “the progressive left”, and “the regressive left.” Each encompasses different ideas, which I think are worth exploring.

Before looking at progress, which is inherently a state where we are not, I’m curious about the state where we are. To do so, first we must describe as best we can the state in which we are, and then the state from which we have come. Finally, we must describe the process by which we left the previous state and arrived at the present state, that is, why. What seems like such a simple step is nearly always left out of modern dialogue.

If we are to entertain an idea like “progress”, this inherently implies that there is an element of discontent with the present state, and there is some future state that would be more ideal. To this, we must attach two elements: first, the reasons why we are currently in discontent, and second, why the proposed change would satisfy said discontents.

In order to attain this in a most objective manner, we must abandon one very primal and comforting assumption: that we are correct. If we are unable to question this, then the entire process is one of deceit, both to ourselves and others. After all, if we even briefly entertain a view in which we are not correct, it should be fairly easy to quickly spot the errors in our thinking, and the resolutions which help us to arrive at our first view.