February 25, 2016

Slippery slope on a gravel road: The trouble with progress

David MacKenzieRebel Columnist

I once lived in Saskatchewan, back when their fiscal situation was rather slippery.

Government, at both the provincial and rural municipality levels, at that time, had little money.

And I remember watching with a sense of deflated novelty when a road that once was paved was turned back into gravel as a cost-saving measure.

It was the first time in my life that I could ever recall witnessing a deliberate public decision to take infrastructure backwards in time.    

Emotionally, I found the experiences rather sobering— even baffling. So, I should not have been surprised when, years later, I happened to ask a secular progressive about social decay and caught him rather off-guard. I might as well have asked him to describe a foreign film using interpretative dance. Despite his capable “intel”, the question just didn’t compute. Admittedly, the silence was only momentary, but the delay was palpable. It was rather like asking Spock, “How do you feel?” 

When it comes to decay, then, progressives appear to function at something of a loss. So, when trigger-sensitive universities organize “safe places” for students, progressives tend to think that the pampered pubescent paragons of political angst are finding good “coping strategies”. Are they?

It seems naïve. Since progressives admire both Darwin and Marx, they generally believe that the species (and society) must inevitably “evolve." They champion everything that can be wrapped up in the “flag” of progress — all while seldom questioning their own particular patriotism.

Like the Athenians of old, they spend much of the day musing on little but the latest trends. Progressives eagerly await the most recent gadget, or envelope-pushing cause célèbre. They readily swallow the most contemporary theory, or the newest sex and gender designations of the American Psychological Association. “It’s all good..." 

No. It isn’t. Have you seen Athens lately? 

When social conservative critics are fined for publicly questioning Islamic doctrine; when quirky street evangelists are being arrested for insisting on monogamous heterosexual expression; and when worshipful musicians are being banned (even temporarily) from Ontario public squares for mentioning “Jesus”, it’s actually rather alarming. 

When Canadian left-wing parties gag their pro-lifers, and right-wing parties vet-out their more outspoken social conservatives, not all is “progressing” as regards freedom in this land.

When Christian law schools cannot organize according to their own Biblical standards, and when the government of Quebec thinks it knows how to teach religion better than a Catholic High School, then one might humbly suggest that the proverbial canary-in-the-mine is already far too high on methane. Real danger— real structural decay— is not too far away.

Speaking of methane, if it weren’t for the dire warnings of dystopian doom coming from climate change enthusiasts of the progressive Left, would such a camp ever warm up to the idea of social decay at all? 

In late 2008, the American economic elite chose quantitative easing as the latest form of fiscal progress— eight years on, and suddenly a mountain of debt has become one hill of a problem for the next generation. But not to worry— nearly doubling the national debt has returned a four percent gain in employment.        

When the public square of Cologne, Germany, degenerates into little more than a grope-and-rape-fest, progressive media’s initial response is to deny the problem and then blame the victims — in effect, encouraging otherwise horrified European realists to just “lie back and think of Germany."

Not to be outdone, now even England can lie back and think of England, as multiple buildings in downtown London have lately become (by financial contract) Sharia-compliant. Yes, “havens of medieval progress” — as left-leaning spin-doctors might say. In other related news, buildings in Homs, Syria, have lately become Jihad-compliant.   

Europe once absolutely bristled with reformers who believed in such things as the “total depravity” of the human heart. Such reformers would easily have had the philosophical means to interpret New Year’s celebrations in Cologne.

But contemporary European politics, steeped as it is in utopian nicety and Statist civility, suffers from a deplorable inability to grasp the obvious: some demographics are as bullish on being brutish as others are proud of their “progress”. But don’t worry in either case — it’s all good in an evil kind of way. 

In any case, I now know why social progressives quickly dismiss the mere hint of “slippery slope” rhetoric as a logical fallacy. Clearly, they don’t like the fact that most metaphors have a basis in reality. Perhaps they have yet to fully appreciate the difference between believing “one thing inevitably leads to another” (fallacy) and suggesting that many things are capable of degenerating (truth).

The last time I gazed at a rusted pickup on a dirt road in Saskatchewan, I don’t recall assuring the local farmer that, with a bit more added moisture, the truck will naturally repair over winter.

Conservative farmers, after all, are often realists. 

They know, full well, that things can always get worse.             

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commented 2016-02-26 11:14:08 -0500
Progressives are irreverent, er, inelegant, er, irrelevant – or at least would be if they weren’t so disrespectful, graceless and the cause so much profound damage to our society through their chauvinistic narcissism and ovine-like willingness to blindly follow their authority figures right off the cliff like the microtines they all resemble…
commented 2016-02-26 10:56:29 -0500
Yeah, the global Elite would like to control all of us to react to their Levers’ just as Disney illustrates!
Now that is what one calls controlled thinking! Real authoritarianism and Totalitarian control - Ohhh! if only they could they’d love it?
commented 2016-02-25 20:01:45 -0500
One of my favorite scenes from the Star Trek movies. Spock was far more “human” than most lefties I know!
commented 2016-02-25 18:46:37 -0500
Excellent article, thank you.