History can be seen as a long struggle to make progress. It can be viewed as a battle between progressives and regressives. A regressive is someone who wants to keep the status quo or “return” to a simpler time.
Regressives come in two flavors.
There are two kinds of regressives. The first are people who can’t accept the world the way it is. They live in old, simpler stories and want to minimize or evern reverse change. The second are people who are prospering. They want the world to stay as it is now, even glue it to its current state so their prosperity is assured or grows.
Can’t accept change
Many people can’t accept the world as it is because they have low intelligence. Trump supporters are a great example. They are angry about Hillary’s supposed lies, yet ignore Donald’s obvious ones. They accuse Hillary of crimes she’s been proven innocent of, but ignore Trumps bankruptcy’s and lthe many times he’s been sued. They even ignore the current allegations of bribery and tax violations with his foundation. Plus there are the allegations that Trump is a rapist including of minors, and his diagnoses of being narcissistic and a sociopath.
These people look to a warped view of a “great” past. They easily commit the sin of pride. Many have pride in America, ignoring Bush’s lies that started the Iraq War and its huge costs in money and misery and the huge evil it created in ISIS. They ignore the America that lost the Viet Nam war (which was also started with a lie). Many ignore that America is racist, obviously in the practices of slavery and in butchering native Americans. And blatantly racist in the 1940’s in locking up Japanese Americans, and in the 1960’s fighting about jim crow laws.
Many of them idealize a simpler past. Why was it simpler? Maybe only because they were younger and had simpler thoughts. Plus, knowledge has appeared to blossom over the last 20 years as people have used the web to publish, search and communicate more easily.
And many of these people have been listening to Republicans tell them how horrible America is and how liberals are a threat. They’re worse off economically as tax laws favor moving more money to the corporations and the wealthy, while they’ve believed their party line that it’s due to central government and high taxes.
The desire for nostalgia does not lead to solutions
The world of the past led to today’s problems. We can’t expel half of our citizens to reclaim the days when there was still plenty of desirable property to homestead. Nor can we go back to pre-World War II days when fewer women wanted to work, nor the 1950’s when manual-labor jobs paid well. Not even to the 1960’s when homosexuals and transvestites kept to the shadows so rigidly religious people could pretend they didn’t exist.
America’s founders laid the path to “All people are created equal,” though they were not wise enough to say it. In their little world, about 1/100th the size of America today, they had no notion of cars or phones, much less television, airplanes, computers, nuclear or solar energy, or even America spanning the continent.
In particular, we can’t return to the days before science. The Earth is not flat. Creationism and trickle-down economics are childish fantasies. And the planet is warming. Denial and impractical desires may be winning formulas for many Republican candidates, but they don’t help us design our future.
The second kind are the greedy. These are led by the wealthy. This includes those that inherited the base of their wealth, and those newly wealthy from business.
Some are insecure and want to protect their wealth. Many feel entitled to a decadent lifestyle paid for by their previously-earned money working for them. Others want to multiply their wealth no matter what the cost to society. These are people in industries that protect future oil, gas and coal profits with climate change denial, steal tax money by controlling congress and elections, and try to get society to eliminate business risk by passing the TPP.
For these people, morality is expendable. Newt Gingrich lies on purpose. An example is his claim that “the truth” is all about what people believe, rather than the facts. And he’s been spreading lies for years that keep Republicans in power, like the lies about Hillary.
A better life means going forward
We can’t go back. As we’ve seen with our society, prejudice and bigotry lead to oppression, hate and backlash. As we’ve seen with the environment, unrestrained industry leads to pollution and global warming.
And it’d help to accept the facts. Rather than stick to naive slogans, we need to accept what we’ve learned. For instance in our economy, trickle-down economics just makes the rich richer and the debt greater.
To create a better life, we must go forward. We must accept the world the way it is now, and build on it to create the world we want. We must progress. The next article will be about the challenges facing progressives.