Mr. Sandefur's statement in a previous post that:
Modern life has a great many hassles, but we have it incalculably better than our ancestors.
reminded me of my honeymoon in Belize with my wife. During the trip we heard a woman from Dangriga speak about the traditions and culture of the Garifuna. One topic she focused on was the tight knit community of the Garifuna women. Specifically, she talked about how traditionally women would meet to do their laundry by hand together in a central location, which turned a necessary chore into a social event. It was something they cherished and viewed as part of their culture.
Now if electricity was cheaper in Belize (the price is currently much higher than in the U.S.), some of these women might be able to afford a washer and dryer. If the electricity and appliances became cheap enough, it could very well be that each and every family would own a washer and dryer, putting an end to this tradition that so many clearly enjoyed.
But there is always a reason that people choose to give up something they value. They do so because they gain something they value even more. In this case they might gain time to spend with their family, time to spend earning extra money, or time to attend classes to further their education. There are endless options.
It's also important to remember that the point of living is to enjoy and better our lives. Thus, when an aspect of a tradition we enjoy is destroyed by an advancement in society, we need not give up on the ways of old completely. Free people can search out any aspect of a past tradition they value and try to incorporate it into their current lives. That is why today, although cars are more efficient, people still ride horses for entertainment. More relevant, that's why although the daughters of these women from Dangriga might not meet to do their laundry by hand years down the road, I'm sure they will still meet for coffee groups, book clubs, or events that have yet to be invented.
Although those who use the label today might disagree, to me, that's what being 'progressive' is all about.
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