Ben Meyers wrote an interesting piece on society’s worship of progress and reading as a subversive act to undermining the cult of progress. Anthony Paul Smith responded with a critique of the non-belief in progress.
For what it is worth, I am sick of hearing anti-progressive rants from the Glenn Becks of the world. Child labor laws were an evil thing? Seriously? Such dualistic thinking, I believe, speaking as a principled libertarian, should really have no place in theology in the 21st century, but alas, it does. I suspect that the Christian “realism” of the mid-20th century still has his tight grip around American Protestantism’s throat. Thus, we have a war-mongering President who won the Nobel Peace Prize. Seriously, I think that the Left is wrong when they claim that their victory is inevitable and the Right is wrong when they say that we are all doomed, inevitably. I take my cues on the meaning of progress from two intellectuals who actually witnessed progress: Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr. MLK Jr once said, “Nothing is inevitable,” meaning nothing is predetermined or left to fate. Let us not consign progress to some distant future in abstract notions of history, but in the current struggle, as Douglass suggested, that without struggle, there is no progress.
But you don’t have to take my word for it; according to some, I am actually a fundamentalist.