I have never cared for the left hijacking the word “progress.” When those on the left use the word “progressive” to define themselves it, by design, implies those of us who are on the right are against progress.
Which isn’t always true, it depends on what you see as progress. I was reminded today of this quote by C.S. Lewis in The Case for Christianity that illustrates that if we are going down the wrong road (or toward the wrong policy) it isn’t progress.
“We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man. There is nothing progressive about being pig-headed and refusing to admit a mistake. And I think if you look at the present state of the world it’s pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistake. We’re on the wrong road. And if that is so we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on,” Lewis wrote.
These words penned in 1943 are true today. We can look at the present state of the world and see that it’s pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistake. Lewis was in the throes of World War II as the United Kingdom and her allies were at war with Nazi Germany with the future of Europe at stake. Today, we have our own challenges.
I am a fan of progress. I am excited by progress we make in medicine, technology, etc. I am a fan of moving forward provided we are moving toward what is good and right (or at least amoral). Then there is personal progress toward a goal, a milestone, or some achievement.
When we are heading down a wrong road culturally, where the left often want to take us, that is not progress. In that sense conservatives are the true progressives when we attempt to turn things around.