Related rabble.ca story:
You have to be careful about declaring progress in history. Think of poor Hegel. In 1806 the matchless German philosopher was in the streets of Jena when the emperor Napoleon rode by. "I have seen the world spirit on horseback," he wrote. He meant that after millennia of lurching around, human history had come to its senses and reached its pinnacle — embodied in a leader who personified the spirit of the French Revolution: liberty, equality, solidarity. Above all: freedom. Our species had finally achieved its potential.
So how’d that work out for him and the rest of us?