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I write as a progressive who no longer believes in progress.  This is an embarrassing thing.  But progressivism was born in the apparent abundance of rising empire, and in the idea that if wealth is plentiful, then it OUGHT to be shared out (rather than horded by a few), but as abundance visibly disappears, the spiritual aspects of progressivism (to me, the most important part) lose their material support.  Now what?

Of course, the pollyanas in the United States will argue that there has not been any disappearance of abundance in the United States in this last decade ... it has not gone away, its just gone into the hands of the top 1% on the wealth ladder.

However, where I depart is the observation (from social science or biology, take your pick) that the problem of a new system organization emerging and the problem of persistence of the descendants of that system organization are quite different things. For any given system organization, its emergence is, everything else equal, extraordinarily unlikely, and so its emergence is typically the result of everything else being very much unequal, combined with a healthy dose of luck.

But survival in some form ... that is much less unlikely.

So while I am not sure that a Progressivist of 1900 would recognise it as progressivism, I suspect that progressivism will not go away to be replaced by some other metaphysics ... it seems more likely that it will evolve into a new form ... of course, possibly accompanied by a new metaphysics that emerges in the same, dramatically different, circumstances.

BTW, I took the Laoist route.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 at 07:38:21 AM EST

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