Is This Progress?

Fri, May 9, 2014 - 6:45pm

We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.
C. S. Lewis

Bugzy emailed me with the following suggestion for a topic on "progress." He wrote:

"Are we progressing..... towards what?

What about the freedoms before technology? When used to talk to folk face to face. Or even telephone them.

Life is lived through a hand held screen for many. Counting likes, could be a random like generator. Would that work equally well?

Social skills reduced to some new lol text message.

Folks dragging themselves to work in some cubicle to generate revenue for some unknowable entity with person status, selling something that nobody would even think of buying 100 years ago. To take the pay check to pay the bank the interest on the money created via your own signature to pay for your house which no one lives in all day as everyone is in their cubicle, to come home to their cubicle condo (holding cell) and plug in - sleep and rinse and repeat. And all the time God looks on and shakes his head at the sheer stupidity of it all.

Maybe we are just meant to have fun and experience awe of everything?

Is progress always good?"

This is a great question. I think it would be easy to just respond and say "Oooh, things are so awful now!" but I'm going to attempt to look at both sides of things. Maybe there's a silver lining somewhere.

I am a Generation Xer, probably the last generation to grow up without a constant barrage of electronic media in our faces. I remember the massive cultural shift that took place between the 80s and 90s. The 90s was the decade that things really started going downhill culturally. That was the decade of Jerry Springer and Maury Povich. The explosion of cable and the Internet gave us more choices - but instead of choosing quality programming, Americans turned to trash.

Originally, the "A&E" network was about "Arts & Entertainment.* The History Channel actually had shows about history, instead of ancient aliens. (Don't get me wrong, I might find ancient aliens interesting, but not on the History Channel!) Heck, HBO used to be the more "family" oriented movie channel - it was Showtime that focused on the R-rated stuff. Now HBO produces television shows that might as well give up any pretense of plot and go full on porn.

Little did I know, when I tuned into the first reality show, "The Real World" on MTV, to watch my peers, that we would be bringing in a massive tidal wave of television stupidity that has now culminated in the once great Discovery Channel pandering with their Blue Lagoon island series, "Naked and Alone" - except, the "naked" consists of the flabby butts of dehydrated city dwellers. Nothing too sexy about that! Too bad they don't have young Brooke Shields to send there nude - instead they have pale, tattooed hipsters.

I seriously do miss the sense of innocence that permeated the 80s. Our culture has gotten downright mean and decadent since then. Heck, I checked out an episode of an 80s nostalgia show called "The Goldbergs" (yes, I'll admit I was sucked in by their Star Wars promo), and it totally got the 80s wrong. The kids in the show were talking in these ridiculous snarky voices with the perpetual snappy comebacks. The adults were generally mean and selfish. The teenage daughter was embarrassed to be seen in line waiting for Return of the Jedi.

I'm sorry, but this is not how the 80s was at all. Heck, we kids got excited over that schlocky show The Greatest American Hero! Every new blockbuster movie that came out in the 80s, from Indiana Jones, to Star Wars, to Back to the Future, was not met with tired cynicism or snark, but excitement. (OK, so maybe some of the Star Trek movies were seen as being too geeky for the average teen. But that was partly due to Star Trek III just being plain bad.)

I feel bad for today's teenagers, who are raised in such a culture of sewage masquerading as sophistication, that they cannot experience any wonder or excitement anymore. And then we can't figure out why they are turning to drugs in droves.

Certainly, I think a good portion of our culture has degraded to the point of stupidity, and I hope we start seeing some trends to reverse the idiocy. It is possible.

One of the perpetual memes that people don't actually stop to think through or question is this idea that culture inevitably marches "forward" towards some (false) utopian ideal, or that once a culture starts going in one direction, it will inevitably continue on that course.

Sorry, folks, but that is not backed up by history whatsoever. Wasn't the Roman Empire permissive to the point of an emperor marrying his horse? Weren't orgies the order of the day? What happened? The Roman Empire collapsed under the weight of its own decadence, and Western culture became more serious and conservative as a result.

Communist China has done its damnedest to silence and destroy Christianity, and what is the result? The fastest growing population of Christians in the world is in China.

Speaking of Christianity, I encourage you to read some of the great C.S. Lewis's writings on the subject of "progress." (Check out the following articles: "A Cancer in the Universe," "C.S. Lewis on Threats to Freedom in Modern Society," and "CS Lewis and Progress.") This is not meant to proselytize. Yet, even back when Lewis was alive (during his peak years in the 1940s), the inevitable march of "progress" was a big rallying cry. Lewis took great exception to the idea that just because something was "modern" that meant it was better. He felt that a lot of wisdom from the past was being overwritten simply because it was "old" and not because any rational thought went into it.

He also warned of the dangers of science being put on too much of a pedestal:

"Again, the new oligarchy must more and more base its claim to plan us on its claim of knowledge. . . . This means they must increasingly rely on the advice of scientists. . . . Now I dread specialists in power because they are specialists speaking outside their special subjects. Let scientists tell us about science. But government involves questions about the good of man, and justice, and what things are worth having at what price; and on these a scientific training gives a man's opinion no added value. . . . On just the same ground I dread government in the name of science. That is how tyrannies come in. In every age the men who want us under their thumb, if they have any sense, will put forward the particular pretension which the hopes and fears of that age render most potent. They 'cash in'. It has been magic, it has been Christianity. Now it will certainly be science."

Lewis was very prescient, I believe, as we see "science" and "progress" being used to justify all sorts of tyrannies today, from NSA spying to drones flying over our cities. Without a solid base of morality behind government, Lewis might argue, such scientific "progress" will lead to our downfall.

Lest we only look at the negatives of all our new technology, I do believe the Internet has had tremendous positive effects. The one huge thing the Internet has done - in the midst of all this media consolidation - is give average people more of a voice. It is the Gutenberg Press of the 21st Century.

The little guy and gal can now start a blog and generate an audience that rivals that of mainstream news audiences. This breaks the monopoly on truth of the old school media. And what a blessing this is!

If it were not for the Internet, I might still be a sheeple and voting straight ticket without really researching candidates. I might not be aware of what's really going on. OK, maybe I might be a little more cozy in my ignorance, but I was never the type of personality that preferred comfort to truth.

While we do need to be vigilant against attempts at censoring the Internet, there are many signs that the elite is starting to run scared. (And of course, this is why they are trying to damper Internet freedom.)

For a good example of this, read Tina Brown's pathetic, whiny article blaming Matt Drudge and Monica Lewinsky for ruining the media. She also speciously tries to blame Drudge for the loss of privacy - what a joke coming from a woman who made her name being a gossip tabloid queen.

Politico (which I am not a fan of) actually did an excellent piece on the rise and fall of Tina Brown. There were a couple of things I got from that piece - 1) Tina Brown truly is a talent-less hack who just happened to be at the right place at the right time when she was younger and b) big money still has the ability to fund failing mainstream news sources way past their expiration date.

The media, which clearly has taken a major role in the degradation of our culture, may possibly be the vehicle through which we might be able to salvage things. But that takes citizen media supported by the grassroots.

Otherwise, we are most certainly headed down the path of imperial Rome - our decadence will lead to a massive collapse and the withdrawal of the American and Western hegemonies - and a new Dark Ages will be born.

But at least, if that happens, people will be too busy trying to feed and clothe themselves to be wrapped up in stupidity. I guess that will be one blessing of a potential collapse - no more "reality" shows. We'll be too busy living it.

Stephanie blogs sporadically at a number of websites, including Freeople and Free Thinking Christianity.

About the Author


May 9, 2014 - 6:55pm


In on a Friday night and nothing to do but call second.

Oh Well :-)


May 9, 2014 - 7:14pm

Ted Butler GAO article

Not sure if this Butler info has been posted yet - Read the whole thing

A Real Surprise

Theodore Butler

|May 8, 2014 - 10:06am

"First, here’s some background. Two years ago this month, a subscriber (Dr. Jeff Lewis – had a chance social encounter with an employee of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and as a result suggested that I contact the agency about the silver manipulation and the CFTC’s role in it. Having taken an oath to myself never to pass up any opportunity to help expose and terminate the silver manipulation, I promptly wrote to the GAO on its Fraud Net complaint hotline and just as promptly forgot about it. I admit to having grown weary of waiting for a regulatory remedy in silver.

Seven months later, in December 2012, I received a phone call from the GAO and that led to me providing documentation about the silver manipulation and the CFTC that led to a number of conference calls with the GAO....


What’s next? I can’t know for sure, except that the GAO prides itself on thorough, fair and impartial investigations. That’s a dream come true for me as it is all that I have ever asked the CFTC to do. Based upon the GAO’s letters to elected officials, I don’t find it unreasonable that this special agency just might get to the bottom of this sordid affair. A complete and impartial review by the GAO of how the CFTC has conducted itself in matters related to silver should be welcomed by silver investors everywhere.

After more than 25 years, I know better than to place all hope for ending the silver manipulation on any one government agency. Besides, I know the coming silver shortage will accomplish that in time anyway. Still, the apparent interest on the part of the GAO should not be minimized in its potential importance. It’s not every day such a pleasant surprise comes along. In a special note to subscribers, I feel an obligation to make this article public, as so many non-subscribers did write to their elected representatives as a result of the public article last year and I don’t know of any other practical means of letting them know their efforts may have had an impact."

May 9, 2014 - 7:18pm

One of the most brilliant quotes...

From one of the most brilliant men of the 20th century!

Thanks Stephanie!

May 9, 2014 - 7:19pm

good material for our weekend discussion

Thanks Stephanie.

I better get out to the garden and make some progress or I may be hungry later this year.

Mr. Fix
May 9, 2014 - 7:36pm

Progress report:

In an age where things that used to last, are now disposable, (far more things than most people are aware of),

people are being drained of their wealth simply because no one knows how to fix anything anymore.

Also because most things have a self-destruct built into them, (called planned obsolescence), so that we just have to buy new stuff all the time.

Of course, this is not progress, but I seem to be uniquely situated in a position, with a skill set from an era gone by. There simply isn't progress anymore, because everything now is engineered towards a societal collapse.

Progress is going to have to entail turning back the clock, actually talking to people again, actually living within one's means, actually knowing how things work, and actually being able to repair them when they don't.

Progress for me is a 60s era car that has no computer that can fail inspection. A wood-burning stove instead of a high-efficiency oil burner. Staying up late with my daughter to make sure she comprehends the lessons that need to be learned, the things that are not taught in school.

If I don't pass this knowledge on, she doesn't have a chance, because what they teach at school is designed to be absolutely useless.

Progress for me is looking up old friends, and taking the time to talk to them.

Stephanie, I enjoyed your article, it made me think of how society is doing the exact opposite of progress.

The sooner people realize that they can and must take control of their own lives,

society as a whole will progress. What we really need to do in so many ways is turn back the clock.

(The clock being turned back is inevitable, doing it by choice, will leave you well prepared for what is unfolding.)

In the meantime, it's going to get much worse, and most of society will never know what hit them when what passes these days for progress turns out to be a highway to hell.

My advice for anyone interested in progress, is to seek out some one who is self sufficient,

and learn how to do what they do, it might be the only lesson worth learning.

These are the things that are essential in being properly prepared. It is also a decent way to live.

Are you prepared?

Have a nice weekend everyone, and a very happy Mother's Day, make the best of it.


There is no such thing as bad Star Trek!

sierra skier
May 9, 2014 - 7:36pm

Progress can be a Good Thing

When used in the right context. Excellent post Stephanie.

Just last night my son was bemoaning that he has little companionship with his peers. He is 26, working in one of the menial jobs available in todays world in his marketing field. He learned in college and shortly after that drinking and partying left him depressed for a day or two after. He just doesn't wish to drink anymore and that leaves him on the outside with many of his peers. That is what the younger folks do while they are staring at the screens on their phones and texting back and forth. Most don't understand his not desiring to alter his consciousness and feel poorly tomorrow.

Companionship and first hand social interaction is becoming rare these days because of the instant gratification available through progress. He loves to fish, hike, shoot, ski and hunt but finds few who will spend the real time to join into these activities,,, they are too busy staring at the screen.

By taking first hand interaction out of the picture they have broken the fabric of society and no good will come of it.

May 9, 2014 - 7:37pm

Planned obsolescence circumvents everlasting materials

Mr Fix: Your comment reminded me of "The Man in the White Suit" a wonderful 1951 satire with Alec Guiness before he became an international star.

Video unavailable
cliff 567Mr. Fix
May 9, 2014 - 7:38pm

Great read

Excellent Stephani

​And yours to Mr. Fix

Nick Elway
May 9, 2014 - 7:53pm
May 9, 2014 - 8:08pm
Key Economic Events Week of 10/14

10/15 8:30 ET Empire State Fed MI
10/16 8:30 ET Retail Sales
10/16 10:00 ET Business Inventories
10/17 8:30 ET Housing Starts and Bldg Perms
10/17 8:30 ET Philly Fed MI
10/17 9:15 ET Cap Ute and Ind Prod
10/18 10:00 ET LEIII
10/18 Speeches from Goons Kaplan, George and Chlamydia

Subscribe or login to read all comments.


Donate Shop

Get Your Subscriber Benefits

Private iTunes feed for all TF Metals Report podcasts, and access to Vault member forum discussions!

Key Economic Events Week of 10/14

10/15 8:30 ET Empire State Fed MI
10/16 8:30 ET Retail Sales
10/16 10:00 ET Business Inventories
10/17 8:30 ET Housing Starts and Bldg Perms
10/17 8:30 ET Philly Fed MI
10/17 9:15 ET Cap Ute and Ind Prod
10/18 10:00 ET LEIII
10/18 Speeches from Goons Kaplan, George and Chlamydia

Key Economic Events Week of 10/7

10/8 8:30 ET Producer Price Index
10/9 10:00 ET Job Openings
10/9 10:00 ET Wholesale Inventories
10/9 2:00 ET September FOMC minutes
10/10 8:30 ET Consumer Price Index
10/11 10:00 ET Consumer Sentiment

Key Economic Events Week of 9/30

9/30 9:45 ET Chicago PMI
10/1 9:45 ET Markit Manu PMI
10/1 10:00 ET ISM Manu PMI
10/1 10:00 ET Construction Spending
10/2 China Golden Week Begins
10/2 8:15 ET ADP jobs report
10/3 9:45 ET Markit Service PMI
10/3 10:00 ET ISM Service PMI
10/3 10:00 ET Factory Orders
10/4 8:30 ET BLSBS
10/4 8:30 ET US Trade Deficit

Key Economic Events Week of 9/23

9/23 9:45 ET Markit flash PMIs
9/24 10:00 ET Consumer Confidence
9/26 8:30 ET Q2 GDP third guess
9/27 8:30 ET Durable Goods
9/27 8:30 ET Pers Inc and Cons Spend
9/27 8:30 ET Core Inflation

Key Economic Events Week of 9/16

9/17 9:15 ET Cap Ute & Ind Prod
9/18 8:30 ET Housing Starts & Bldg Perm.
9/18 2:00 ET Fedlines
9/18 2:30 ET CGP presser
9/19 8:30 ET Philly Fed
9/19 10:00 ET Existing Home Sales

Key Economic Events Week of 9/9

9/10 10:00 ET Job openings
9/11 8:30 ET PPI
9/11 10:00 ET Wholesale Inv.
9/12 8:30 ET CPI
9/13 8:30 ET Retail Sales
9/13 10:00 ET Consumer Sentiment
9/13 10:00 ET Business Inv.

Key Economic Events Week of 9/3

9/3 9:45 ET Markit Manu PMI
9/3 10:00 ET ISM Manu PMI
9/3 10:00 ET Construction Spending
9/4 8:30 ET Foreign Trade Deficit
9/5 9:45 ET Markit Svc PMI
9/5 10:00 ET ISM Svc PMI
9/5 10:00 ET Factory Orders
9/6 8:30 ET BLSBS

Key Economic Events Week of 8/26

8/26 8:30 ET Durable Goods
8/27 9:00 ET Case-Shiller Home Price Idx
8/27 10:00 ET Consumer Confidence
8/29 8:30 ET Q2 GDP 2nd guess
8/29 8:30 ET Advance Trade in Goods
8/30 8:30 ET Pers. Inc. and Cons. Spend.
8/30 8:30 ET Core Inflation
8/30 9:45 ET Chicago PMI

Key Economic Events Week of 8/19

8/21 10:00 ET Existing home sales
8/21 2:00 ET July FOMC minutes
8/22 9:45 ET Markit Manu and Svc PMIs
8/22 Jackson Holedown begins
8/23 10:00 ET Chief Goon Powell speaks

Key Economic Events Week of 8/12

8/13 8:30 ET Consumer Price Index
8/14 8:30 ET Retail Sales
8/14 8:30 ET Productivity & Labor Costs
8/14 8:30 ET Philly Fed
8/14 9:15 ET Ind Prod and Cap Ute
8/14 10:00 ET Business Inventories
8/15 8:30 ET Housing Starts & Bldg Permits

Recent Comments

by seneca sam, 8 min 2 sec ago
by Angry Chef, 12 min 51 sec ago
by Libero, 25 min 1 sec ago
by Blankone, 32 min 18 sec ago

Forum Discussion

by Green Lantern, Oct 16, 2019 - 9:53pm
by zman, Oct 16, 2019 - 8:51pm
by NW VIEW, Oct 16, 2019 - 7:31pm
by ancientmoney, Oct 16, 2019 - 5:23pm