Magical Progress is my name for the American idea that everything just naturally gets better all the time without anyone trying too hard. Not just in science and technology but even morally, culturally, intellectually, politically – in every way!
How to tell if society is progressing:
- Only consider how well-to-do white people are doing, like the kind who appear on television or write for the New York Times. What goes on in your neighbourhood does not count, unless it is white and has a median income of at least twice the national average.
- Eurocentrism: Judge other cultures, countries and civilizations by the West. That way the West always seems to be best! And Westernization always counts as progress.
- Period thinking: Judge other periods of Western history by your own. That way the West always seems to be getting better!
- Science, technology and consumer goods: Count every advance, even if it leads to widespread destruction and suffering (genocide, slavery, colonialism, global warming, etc).
- Political rights and morals: Only count advances, never reverses. Freeing the slaves counts, enslaving them in the first place does not. Or: civil rights reforms count, but weakening those rights does not.
- Art and architecture: Any change counts as an advance.
- Religion: Decline in religion counts as an advance.
That means stuff like this does not count:
- The George Zimmerman verdict makes it feels like 1955.
- Gutting the Voting Rights Act by the Supreme Court makes it feel like 1965.
- Minimum wage adjusted for inflation makes it feel like 1978.
That means you do not have to concern yourself with:
- Voting and activism: because things are always getting better on their own! Cool!
- All Americans: because only well-to-do whites matter. So to keep up on the news you only have to read the New York Times.
- Other cultures, peoples or periods of history. So no need, say, to read and take seriously books written by people of other times, places or races.
- History. We are way better than the past! What could we possibly learn?
The progress is so magical that professors are left amazed, wondering what the secret to the West’s success is! Some white people, unironically, say it is their “values”.
In fact, though, Magical Progress is neither Magical nor Progress:
- The “magic” comes from the barrel of a gun. White Americans got rich by robbing Indians of their land and blacks of their labour. Britain robbed a fourth of the world.
- The “progress” is largely an ethnocentric illusion, one that takes in not just one’s own culture as the measure of all, but one’s period in history too.
- By the period thinking of most Americans in 1900, America in 2013 is falling apart due to lack of religion. It has shockingly high rates of crime, abortion, illegitimacy and broken homes. What good is a video game, say, if you have no father, if you are going to hell?
- Apocalyptic Regress: Whites have torn Black and Native Americans from their land, broken their families and destroyed their culture.