Four Types of Progress

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Progress has always been a goal of the United States and of the world. In our eagerness to define and measure progress, we have created a plethora of meanings and measures. The Gross National Product and the Dow Jones Industrial Average measure economic progress. Other, more general forms of progress are more difficult to discern. To find broader meanings, I choose to break progress down into technological or material progress and moral or metaphysical progress.
It seems clear that technology is advancing. Merely by observing the designs of cars one can see the advanced features: light, streamlined, energy saving, and quick. Each year the racing cars and military jets go faster. Computers become smaller, faster, and more affordable. In terms of technology, our culture is progressing at a rate never seen before.
Technological progress, however, is not always good. The ability to build an airport or a shopping mall in a marsh or over quality farmland does not represent a positive cultural advance. Similarly, the world would be much safer if nuclear physicists had not developed the Bomb. Therefore, technological advance does not invariably change the planet for the better.
However, technological advances have far outstripped moral gains. In fact, the moral, humanitarian beliefs of Americans, which form the base of this metaphysical progress, have slipped in recent years. The idea of supporting other people who cannot support themselves is what raises humans above the beasts. This idea has been challenged lately, representing a major loss of progress in the late twentieth century.
The rights of the common person are also not progressing. Affirmative action and civil rights, both signs of a progressive society, are no longer emphasized. Attacks against such organizations are increasing. Society is more primitive, hostile, and selfish consequently.
A hawkish attitude prevails over the diplomatic approach in
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