The productive people who made... progress possible are often painted as villains. I'm talking about the innovators and the risk-takers, in a word -- entrepreneurs. Today's heroes are often seen as the people who attack entrepreneurs -- among them lawyers, politicians, media people, leftist organizations, college professors and others who often contribute little or nothing to human progress....
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Williams is right, of course. We do take progress for granted, and are far too willing to glorify the critics and undervalue the people and the institutions who have brought significant improvements to our lives. In fact, as Gregg Easterbrook has shown in his marvelous book, The Progress Paradox : How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse, we are all too willing to believe, despite all contrary evidence, that progress has taken place.
Of course this is not so paradoxical if you consider how many people in the media, in law, and in the academy have built their careers on incessant criticism.