Pursuit of progress inevitably leads to destruction of society. This might seem weird, as progress is by many seen as ultimately positive thing – progress after all brought us Internet and its huge library. However, progress as a term is in intself ambivalent, and in many – vast majority, in fact – of areas it is a rather dangerous and destructive force. Reason is simple.
Fact is that any question has only limited number of answers, and any problem a limited number of solutions. Of those, only a minority actually lead to a positive outcome. And of solutions which lead to a positive outcome at all, only a minority will actually lead to a positive outcome for society in question.
Therefore, endless pursuit of progress – that is, of change – is always destructive. While society might have to change in order to account for new conditions, pursuit of progress for progress’ sake is an inherently self-destructive course of action. Tradition serves as foundation of a stable society. Destroying tradition for the sake of progress is like taking material from foundations of a house in order to build an additional level – such a process will sooner or later cause the entire building to collapse.
Pursuit of progress also causes changes in mentality and psychology. Progress is an inherently destructive force – it destroys tradition and old in order to introduce new. Left unchecked, this nature of progress can expand, leading to destruction of society in general. It is a very short step from progress being its own purpose to destruction being its own purpose. This is seen with modern-day progressives. In order to stay progressive, they have to pursue progress and push boundaries. Result is a continual removal of social restrictions, social norms and inherited boundaries. Today’s progressives are tomorrow’s conservatives, so progressives have to keep progressing to stay relevant. Consequence of this is that politics achieve life of their own, independent of logic or social or personal needs. Progressives have to keep pushing boundaries, even if it ultimately leads to disaster.
Problem is that, unless balanced out by an opposing force – Reactionarism or Traditionalism – progress will just keep happening. Conservativism is not an opposing force, it is a neutral force. It seeks to keep the existing, the status quo. This is a major problem. Newer is not necessarily better. And something that was better in one set of conditions may be worse in another set of conditions. If society is to survive, it has to keep the ability to move the balance as required. This means that it has to keep political balance – balance between tradition, conservation and progress. But this is a triad – and thus inherently irreconcilable with prevalent two-party system. If something in triad has to go, it should be conservatism – yet it is traditionalism that has been rid of. Result is that progressives are steadily pushing society into abyss (on their preferred side) while conservatives are applying brakes, slowing progress but not stopping it.
Technological progress is no less destructive. It exploits resources, thus destroying environment. It connects societies, thus destroying peoples and cultures. While these dangers can indeed be managed, too often is technology allowed to rule humans instead of the reverse. This is definitely the case in modern Western civilization, which treats humans as mere resources and where regard for economic growth has transformed from mere societal goal to religious idolatry.
Orthodox narrative holds that optimism and scientific know-how of Enlightenment fueled new generation of inventors and thinkers to push back against tradition, laws and customs, against economic regulation and traditional guilds which shackled invention. By the mid-19th century, they managed to implement a laissez-faire economy which centered around urban factories and working class, bringing Europe to plateau of civilization. Europe had thus rescrued itself from a pre-industrial pit of misery, and then went and exported freedom and industrialized modernity to other parts of the world. This led to increased happiness, wealth and productivity – technological progress and liberalization were ultimately beneficial to humanity.
But this is not true. Narratives are moralistic by nature. Technology, as well as so-called “liberty” and “human rights” are considered important because that is what current ideological narrative considers important. Narrative always includes ideas about what is right and what is wrong, but how can those ideas themselves be measured? Today, more economic growth, more technology and more Marxism are considered to be progress.
If progress is measured by average human health, then trend was clearly downwards – only after World War II did human stature (a good indicator of general wealth) reach that of medieval man. Yet in modern society, as a consequence of processed food and omnipresent technology, there is not a single person who is truly healthy. Cancer rates are on perpetual rise, as is obesity, diabetes, and other “diseases of modern society”. Fertility is going down in developed world due to various poisons people are surrounded by, leading to slow genocide. Globally, incidence of cancer increases on average of 1% per year, with obesity and environmental poisoning – processed food first and foremost, but also exhaust gasses – being primary causes of new cancer cases. Children are developing Type 2 diabetes, and allergies are epidemic.
If progress is measured by freedom / liberty, then trend again was downwards. Technological advancement has enabled government much tighter control over society. Further, consolidation of society into larger and larger political groups has decreased differences. Larger and larger groups are forced to accede to ideologically fuelled measures of “human rights” and similar “civilizational requirements”. But that is no freedom; rather, it is just a (relatively polite) tyranny. While end of (official) slavery had meant some progress towards more liberty, on the other hand “free citizens” are much less free than even medieval serfs used to be, under danger of control, censorship and oppression not just by the government but also by large corporations (banks, media corporations – Google etc. – and so on).
Neither is general situation in the world rosy. Technological progress which started with industrial revolution is founded on mass exploitation of the environment. But this has many side-effects. Probably the least dangerous of them is the rise in greenhouse gasses which (among other factors) has led to increase in average temperature. Greater concern is general pollution. Much of modern-day production is based on plastics – plastic bags, plastic packaging… and much of that ends up in the environment. And it should be understood that plastic does not actually decompose. Plastic products break down quickly – especially in the sea – but this merely means physical breakdown into microscopic particles of plastic. Time for plastic bags to decompose can vary from 10 to 10 000 years, and plastic bottles take 450 years at least. Batteries are better, at “only” 100 years. But styrofoam and tinfoil do not biodegrade at all. Industrial agriculture, artificial fertilizers and genetically modified organisms have destroyed soil fertility, making entire food production dependant on chemicals – and if that collapses, consequences will be massive. Rivers and oceans are treated as dumps for industrial toxins-
There are also too many people, in Third World in particular. Population growth had been increasing since 1900. at almost exponential rate, and most of it in Africa, Latin America and Asia (white people now number maybe 10% of world’s population, and are rapidly reducing). This rampant population growth has already lead – and will lead even more in the future – to migrations, conflicts and genocides. At the same time improvements in transportation technology had made it much easier for different people to come into contact – and thus into conflict.
Neither are humans more happy than they used to be. Humans are disconnected from nature, from each other. We no longer pay attention to our surroundings, and cities we build – geometric, artificial and cramped – have caused a massive increase in psychological problems such as depression, propensity towards suicide and lack of socialization.
And what about social progress? Everything that is believed to be “socially progressive” is both evil and disastrous. It is considered progress if one promotes slaughter of innocents before they are even born, destruction of family and society in general. It is considered progress to promote individualization and enstrangement of humans from everything which makes them human – their family, their tribe, their origins, culture and heritage. It is considered progress to turn humans into mere resources for hungry economic machine.
It is easy to be an utopian idealist, to imagine that if things were just “so-and-so” the world would be perfect. That is what progressives imagine: a world without racism, without discrimination, without conflict. But everything has a price, and in some cases cure might be worse than a disease. Utopian ideologies (Nazism, Communism, Progressivism) always lead to genocide because they imagine that world would be perfect if it just weren’t for these pesky humans (Jews / capitalists, burgoeisie / white people). Thus they cause mass devastation without managing to “improve” situation at all.
Due to ideal of progress, modern society is in the state of constantly chasing stuff – more “freedoms”, greater living standards, greater technological advancement. It is a race without brakes, and seemingly without end. But everything has an end, and this can only end in destruction of human society and possibly humanity as a whole. Chasing of economic well-being has led to, in order: warfare, genocides, colonialism, and nowadays depletion of natural resources. Chasing of freedom from social and traditional norms and normal boundaries has led to the state having to step in, leading to gradual establishment of authoritharian police states even in self-proclaimed democracies, as customs had to be replaced by laws. Chasing of equality has led to stagnation, hatred and conflict – humans are naturally inequal and different, and having equality as an ideal and something “normal” means that people feel cheated due to simple fact that individuals (or groups) are not inherently equal. Progress, no matter how defined, is not a linear upwards path: sooner or later, it will come to a stop – and a drop. Or, rather, a quick drop and a sudden stop, for everybody involved.