History can be seen as a long struggle to make progress, as a battle between progressives and regressives. In the previous post, we saw how regressives are driven by a dislike of change, or a greed for what’s working for them. In this, we’ll look at the challenges facing progressives. And perhaps they can achieve more by a change of marketing.
Progressives accept the way things are. They are simply trying to see how to keep the progress we’ve made and still enable people to have better lives. They face challenges.
Many people find change hard to fathom
Progressive solutions aren’t easy to understand in terms of yesterday’s culture. Whether ending slavery or giving women equality, these were tough concepts for many people in their day. For two thousand years Christianity inculcated most westerners with the acceptance of slavery and the subservience, even ownership, of women.
One way of looking at this is that a person’s notion of the world can’t stand change. If you change something, it disturbs the world. The notion that “women are equal” makes the whole biblical history wrong. Maybe it was okay for Abraham to have multiple wives, but only if they both agreed. Did they? Did they have a choice? What does it say about Solomon’s thousand wives and concubines?
Many people can’t stand cognitive dissonance. Either the Bible is true or fiction. And many people believe it’s true. They don’t realize the fluidity of world views and that a lot of good and evil is defined by humans. Killing a friend out of anger may always be wrong, but owning your spouse was once right and is now wrong. That’s a challenge for many.
My point is that a lot of people are uncomfortable with thinking. So they don’t want to do any more of it. They don’t want to revisit what they’ve known to be true.
The lure of philosophy
And often, progressives get caught up in philosophy instead of solutions. They may even fight against each other. Like the “small government” or”states rights” progressives who end up siding with regressives.
Another example is the libertarians who confuse the usefulness of motivation and competition with the notion of an ideal “free market”. They often think government can’t be efficient if it’s a monopoly. So they work to eliminate it instead of figuring out how to motivate it or provide competition for parts of it.
Or the socialists who oppose capitalism when they really object to the abuses of capitalism due to inheritance, abuse of corporations and the tax system. Inequality isn’t bad, but huge inequality is, especially when it leaves many people destitute and suffering.
Progressives handicap themselves in marketing
The biggest handicap for progressives is self-imposed, in marketing. Progressives often market solutions to problems instead of pictures of a better future.
Giving women equal rights sounded horrific to many. But allowing women the freedom to work safely and be paid fairly sounds great.
Giving rights to homosexuals and transexuals sounds weird! But it’d be great to let people express themselves and their sexuality without fear of bullying, ostracism or shame.
Getting rid of coal for heat and electricity and getting rid of gas for cars sounds dreadful. But it sounds great to build up our green energy production, create jobs, become energy independent and end funding of radical-muslim countries.
Stopping climate change seems hard and expensive. But restoring the environment of the 1900’s seems wonderful.
Similarly, fixing politics sounds impossible. But it’ll be great to have our politicians to be truly accountable to citizens. If this kind of political accountability is appealing to you, please add your email address to our mailing list.