Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The verbal irony of "progressive" thinking, part 2

(Click here for Part 1)

Many in my generation, and the current one now breathlessly awaiting its own entry into the "real world" were left to start from scratch as they discover the world for themselves. Some were left there by those who told them they did not need to listen to authority, and never heard anyone say otherwise. Many others listened to that message and clung to it for their own convenience. These found themselves stranded by their own refusal to listen to wisdom when it was offered.

In both cases, they are now moving in any random direction, often anywhere but forward.

It is forward one must go in order to be "progressive" by definition, as Chesterton explains.

"Progress, properly understood, has, indeed, a most dignified and legitimate meaning. But as used in opposition to precise moral ideals, it is ludicrous. So far from it being the truth that the ideal of progress is to be set against that of ethical or religious finality, the reverse is the truth. Nobody has any business to use the word "progress" unless he has a definite creed and a cast-iron code of morals. Nobody can be progressive without being doctrinal; I might almost say that nobody can be progressive without being infallible--at any rate, without believing in some infallibility."

Here is where many modern progressives run into a snag. Their fear of all authority, whether it be their own in their homes and classrooms, or someone else's in the workplace or the government, makes them balk at the notion that anybody else can advise them, much less authoritatively direct them, in any matter--especially in matters of faith.

No journey is going to lead anyplace if one refuses to decide where to start.

Fortunately, not all who wander stay lost. Some eventually find common sense (or have it knocked into them as St. Paul did). Some even find Chesterton. Ultimately, they begin to find Truth.

And that is when they find God.

Related posts by Alan at Ad Altare Dei:
Independent "free" thought can never be progressive.
Is Dogma so Constraining?
Dogma is a Progressive Good!

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