Is there any merit to the philosophy of progressivism? Could it be true that human society has a certain linear path which it will always advance upon? Or is it just enlightenment bullshit?
Human societies tend to adapt to different circumstances.
The circumstances that humans exist under today are changing at a lightning pace.
There isn't an obvious, linear evolution, but simple logic dictates that our society must be able to adapt.
Mostly just Enlightenment bullshit. It's the easy to make mistake wherein a person sees not the fundamental character of thing but only it's ornamentation. Progressivism sees the technological advancements and what not which are, fundamentally, ornaments which can improve and relax what is at the heart of humanity but does not define it. At the heart is a sort of amorphous, highly capable thing which is unending in its complexity, the greatness of it being in evil and goodness. Which is all say, there's nothing new under the sun honestly, just different forms.
pretty much this
if you want to get down to, OP, it the "path" is only a biological and hierarchical development, where humanity may become conceivably less individualistic and more like a eusocial ant colony over extremely long periods of time
I suppose I should clarify,
Is there a certain state of the interactions between the individuals, classes, and ethnicities in any nation which must inevitably occur over periods of change?
(that certain state being defined by liberal ideas through the enlightenment and following reforms)
>Could it be true that human society has a certain linear path which it will always advance upon?
Could be true. Could be also true for human societies or cultures, because there's really no such thing as overall "human" society that shares the same values and developments, at least not yet. Could be also true that literally everything is pre-determined in the universe. But then you can't do anything about it - it's not your choice if you're "progressive" or "reactionary."
My father once gave a good argument that human development is pre-determined. In China, there's various kinds of tea, and black tea isn't really the most popular. Yet, in every instance where Europeans got tea from China, it was black tea, leading to it becoming the most popular. And you can count at least four (IIRC) instances where tea was introduced to the West - via Russia, via Persia, and twice through unrelated European merchants. That's a pretty big coincidence.
I think if you took modern, say, Anglo societies, and compared them to the Assyrians or the Aztecs, you'd have trouble believing it was the same species. The Abrahamic religions managed to eliminate human sacrifice and severely clamp down on infanticide.
The societies of the developed world have eliminated starvation, eliminated warfare, reduced infanticide from ubiquitous to anomalous, created nearly universal literacy, reduced infant mortality from one in two to one in 1000, instituted universal adult suffrage, and created instantaneous, uncensored communication around the globe.
These are not merely technological adornments. These are fundamental changes in human society the likes of which haven't happened since the Neolithic Revolution.