There is a marketplace for ideas. It doesn't necessarily reward more effective ideas. It does seem to reward ideas that are easy to explain. Often, simple explanations that are wrong will triumph over more complicated explanations that are right.
One thing that is easy to understand it villainy. Bad guys and good guys, heroes and chumps. We love the movies that show the lone guy against the system, Bruce Willis taking on bad guys, bad officials and an entire skyscraper.
As it turns out, systems do more to define people than people do to define systems. I speak English. I never chose that. I was born into it and even the question of whether I would learn another language came to me in English. So much of who we are is not even our choice.
Much of what happens is the consequence of systems, not the people within them. Stories lend themselves to blame or credit to the people in these systems, though, and so those are the explanations we offer.
Progress doesn't really impress people. We make about 6 to 8 times what people made a century ago and can buy things that they couldn't even imagine. The thing is, nobody is really impressed with that. We don't compare ourselves with our great grandparents. We know that they didn't have smart phones. What matters is whether our smart phone is two years older than our friends. We compare ourselves with our peers. We have this tendency to care less about progress than status.
How we are doing relative to our grandparents is a variable sum game. It is possible for all of us to do better than all of them.
How we are doing relative to our peers is a zero sum game. It is impossible for all of us to do better than all of us.
The more we teach kids to focus on relative status the more unhappy and disengaged they will be. Not only is that a lousy way to walk through life in terms of happiness but even in terms of progress it is bad: unhappy, disengaged people will be less effective at making life better relative to their grandparents.
The politics of status will be fear-driven and angry. It promises villains, heroes and quick change.
The politics of progress is slow. It actually works across generations. It is less concerned with villains and heroes than the systems that throw people into such a role. It is a less engaging, less simple story. That doesn't mean that it'll always be rejected, though.
Progress is boring. I suspect that people are ready for that now.