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When the USSR collapsed, in 1991, some Western historians and political scientists began to speak confidently about the “end of history”. Now, only less than 30 years later, it is regarded as good, academic tone to consider all this nothing but nonsense, fantasies of some not all too serious intellectuals, very far from life, naive and over-optimistic. But back then, a considerable number of intelligent, well-read people believed that this was indeed the case, history had finally ended, and the world was going to be united, there would be no more conflicts and everyone would live free and rich. Many just wanted to believe that the world, that is, the world of a united humanity, was already entering a perfect new era. One can say this is a typical weakness of intellectuals: they want to believe that they live and create history and participate in unique historical moments. For this reason, otherwise clever people are often ready to believe in fairy tales, provided these are well written, of course.
“There is a feeling that modern believers in this cult of endless progress love humankind as an abstract concept more than real ordinary people, because people are stupid, ignorant and brute. If only people were not so, then everything would be fine”
After the end of the Cold War people began to talk more and more about globalization. And if the idea of the end of history did not pass the test and turned out to be too simplistic and utopian, the idea of globalization and the absolut necessity of such a phenomenon began to be perceived, especially by the intellectual elite of Western countries, as an axiom.
After all, why does the Western intellectual elite so profoundly and demonstratively despise the American President Donald Trump and almost every day accuses him of fascism, racism, and sometimes even compares him to Hitler without showing much embarrassment? Because Trump insists so much on building a wall and acting against the flow of illegal immigrants from Latin America. If one cannot speak out against illegal migration at all, why do there still exist borders and visa? Why do countries have migration laws at all then? Trump is violating the spirit of free trade in order to protect American goods and jobs from competition from countries where production costs are much less than in the United States itself. But in the 21st century, and to act against the greatest and almost the only ideal of our era, that is, the unification of the entire world humanity, is the greatest sin of all. And who can possibly want to be against the unification of something, the unification of the whole of humanity, the unification of the whole world? Only retrogrades are racists …
And yet it is not necessary to deny that, in what is conventionally called the Enlarged West, that is, in America, in Europe, in Japan and in Australia, life is, if compared with many other countries, in material terms at least, not so bad: living in London is more comfortable and maybe even more interesting than in the capital of Egypt, and few would disagree that life in Denmark is easier and more comfortable than in Nigeria or in India. But then one question arises: can the whole world become like the West? Would it be technically possible? Is there a country on our planet where everyone is rich and happy, and can all countries become like this?
Our idea of civilization is deeply rooted in the ideal progress and this ideal is necessary for our contemporary civilization to function. Our civilization has made progress the ultimate good and has popularized the idea that human life must be constantly improved, as if human life and the world as they are now were somehow less perfect and complete. Our civilization is constantly awaiting some epochal breakthrough, after which human life will never be like before and will be, without any trace of doubt, much better. In the 60’s, people dreamed of space exploration. Today, not a day goes by without some article on how artificial intelligence will change everything, which will solve all problems, and this will be much sooner than expected. Robots will work instead of humans, and people will live only for personal pleasure and prosperity.
“Our idea of civilization is deeply rooted in the ideal progress and this ideal is necessary for our contemporary civilization to function. Our civilization has made progress the ultimate good and has popularized the idea that human life must be constantly improved”
This sort of permanent revolution is the newest form of colonialism the modern world has come up with. For the modern world cannot accept the existence of backwardness. The modern spirit of progress is unbounded in its ambitions of universality. And what would this breakthrough, that will make life on our planet unrecognizable, consist of? It can be robots, the Internet right in your head, life without death (but only for those who can afford it), universal democracy, anything, and in principle it doesn’t even matter: you can just say that people will work less , but at the same time they will live richer and get more pleasure from life. And such progress can be facilitated only by one united global humanity, needless to say.
The fact is that often there is a feeling that modern believers in this cult of endless progress love humankind as an abstract concept more than real ordinary people, because people are stupid, ignorant and brute. If only people were not so, then everything would be fine. It sounds like the argument that was often used by supporters of utopian communism in Europe, disappointed with the experience of communism in the USSR: communism as a philosophy and ideal was incontestably good, they say, but human nature is too imperfect and this is why the experiment failed. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and high ideals.
But why, actually, should humanity as a whole start to change everything now? Was the way we lived until yesterday so essentially and profoundly wrong? What is wrong with people as they are now, that something must be done to reshape entire peoples and cultures? Progress is more important than anything and doesn’t look at anyone in the face and forces of progress should not be bridled. If some people are left behind, well, worse for them, the globalists appear to say. But why then does mankind need such a totalitarianism of progress, that supposedly emerged to bring happiness to the whole world once and for all, if this totalitarianism of progress, like any totalitarianism, has so little humanity to show for?