by Marco Malaguti

The progressive religion

In recent decades, the word progress has taken on an almost religious significance.

There was a time when progress was, rather than a reality, a promise. Progress, as well as "the best possible society," was always just around the corner, a North Star that, however unattainable, nonetheless pointed the way. As in any self-respecting religion, progressivism could not admit that it had won, could not proclaim the substantial orthogonal correspondence between the earthly Jerusalem of progressives and the heavenly Jerusalem of realized Progress. If, in short, the Kingdom was already, there would be no need for the apparatus designed to propitiate and hasten its coming, the progressive church precisely. Progress, as in a grotesque caricature of the Christian religion, is always in the making but the enthronement and coming of the Kingdom is always located in an unattainable hereafter.

This does not deny, however, that a certain part of the Kingdom is already realized, and this small sacred enclosure is, as already mentioned, the Progressive church and the areas of the world, this time physical and earthly, under its control. Whether one denies that a part of the Kingdom is already here, among us, albeit amidst a thousand faults and incompletenesses, or whether one affirms that the Kingdom has already come and Progressivism has definitively won its battle, this would mean, albeit from opposite starting points, that there is nothing to defend. In the first case there is nothing conquered, and therefore defensible, in the second everything is achieved, and therefore there are no more enemies to defend against. Both scenarios deny, flatly and without appeal, the necessity of the existence of a pseudo-religion, with its priestly apparatus, of progress.

The false problem of time linearity

Necessary prerequisite for the existence of this "church" - which we well know to be constituted by the galaxy of political parties, large media groups, NGOs and so on - is thus, in addition to the obvious existence of an antagonist (right-wingers and, more generally, identities), a linear view of time.

If in regard to progress there is one certainty, among progressives, it is that it, like the Marxist rising sun and the Kingdom of God for Christians, constitutes an ineluctable destiny: history travels on tracks from which it is impossible to escape; not adhering to these Weltanschauungen is, before being wrong, profoundly illogical, irrational. Unlike the traditional civilizations' perspectives, in fact, in the progressive vision time is a line, an inclined plane at the end of which there is the establishment of a utopia with mystical and fabulous contours, about which the only certainty we have is that its coming is, precisely, certain, albeit without any temporal indication.

Temporal linearity and inevitability may appear to be purely theoretical arguments but they are, in fact, of close practical, and therefore political, relevance.

Woe betide you for sharing the enemy's cosmology

To adhere, through intellectual laziness or psychological conditioning, to the idea of the inevitability of the concept of progress propagated by the progressive church is indeed a symptom of adherence, albeit unconscious, to the church itself. From this problem, unfortunately, "suffer" (a misnomer since such a symptom is essentially painless) many members of the conservative Right around the world.

In election campaign times this is a topic of the closest relevance. Indeed, there is a widespread feeling among many conservatives that the advent of the society hoped for, albeit in very vague terms, by the progressive priests is indeed inescapable. Whether this depends on an erroneous assessment of the forces of progressivism rather than on a personal pessimistic attitude the conclusions do not change; one remains in any case mired in the shifting sands of the heterogenesis of ends, and conservative politics becomes a mere selfish perspective aimed at safeguarding small and isolated safe spaces before the supposedly ineluctable Kingdom is realized in its historical dimension.

Elon Musk seen from the right
Emerging from hypnosis

Things, of course, are not and should not be that way. Like any other historical phenomenon, the historical realization of progressivism is far from ineluctable, and it would remain so even if this assertion were not corroborated by the simple fact that progressivism reigns, ever worse, over less than one-fifth of the globe and less than one-seventh of its population.

Like any alienation, that of conservatives hypnotized by progressives subsists only as long as one is hypnotized by it. It is therefore the task of a revolutionary philosopher, that is, one who aspires to influence and foster a re-volution of history, to denounce the artificial nature of such a state of hypnosis. Revolvere, i.e., re-turning, even before mutating, is not a conservative process, but a bluntly affirmative one: coming out of the conservative perspective in a revolutionary key implies naturaliter access to an affirmative position, a reflection of a will that posits the world and is no longer satisfied with inheriting it conservatively. Here the affirmation of identity accords with the will; it ceases to be a worn-out legacy.

But the first step, the sine qua non, is precisely the rejection of the inevitability of the progress utopia. For too long conservative forces have almost always accepted as their inheritance the innovations imposed by progressives. This has occurred in the family, ethical and economic spheres, and has affected the whole of society. For some reason, conservatives, once they inherit the "advances" of progressives, end up conserving them as well (after all, calling themselves conservatives, could they possibly act otherwise?).

The achievements of the progressive church end up becoming, falsely, the "shared heritage" of society as a whole. Think, for example, of what the referendums promoted in Italy by the Radical Party in the second half of the twentieth century, now considered secular pillars of the progressive faith, achieved. But this idea of patrimoniality, this presumed inevitability of such social upheavals - it should be remembered once again - are actually illusory conceptions and perspectives of a historical reality that exists only in the very partisan and very little rational will of those who pose them. To change things requires, primarily, an equally partisan and equally determined will to re-turn them, to erase them.

What secular god will descend to punish the former conservative now revolutionary? The one always denied by progressives themselves? The one of history that was supposed to realize even the Marxist rising sun? Allow us to have doubts about this.

Let us also begin to attack: too long have we remained on the defensive; and let us remember that every conquest, whether one's own or the enemy's, is always and only a conquest, never a milestone that adorns a track from which it is impossible to deviate.

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Research fellow at the Machiavelli Center. A philosophy scholar, he has been working for years on the topic of the revaluation of nihilism and the great German Romantic philosophy.