Progressiveness in Amateur Radio

The third clause of the original Amateur's Code reads:

The Amateur is Progressive. He keeps his station abreast of science. It is built well and efficiently. His operating practice is clean and regular.

The 2022 ARRL handbook is similar:

The Radio Amateur is PROGRESSIVE...with knowledge abreast of science, a well-built and efficient station and operation above reproach.

The ARRL website adds in some pronouns and removes the science from the clause:

The Radio Amateur is PROGRESSIVE...He/[She] keeps his/[her] station up to date. It is well-built and efficient. His/[Her] operating practice is above reproach.

I'm not sure what prompted this alteration and frankly, I'm not a fan. Pronouns aside, science is at the heart of what it is that we do and that has been the case since the very first amateur went on air. It's also bewildering to me that knowledge and science has been transformed into keeping your station up to date, which means something else entirely.

The original is about learning and education, in my opinion the ARRL website version is about shopping and frankly it's distasteful in a world where we as amateurs are renowned for experimentation and constructing a solution from parts.

It raises another question.

Who actually made this change and what process exists to actually implement it? Is it the whim of an individual, or is there a committee that was elected to investigate and update the code? If it was an elected body, how does it represent me in Australia and how does it represent any amateur beyond the shores of the United States, or even beyond the membership of the ARRL?

Consider the scope of amateur radio as a global activity. The Amateur's Code has spread far and wide in the past century, well beyond its apparent origins as a page in the third edition of the ARRL handbook in 1927.

In my opinion this code is not an ARRL owned document, it belongs to all amateurs across Earth and it should be treated as such. As I've said before, it's a living document and it has evolved over time, but that doesn't mean it can be changed on a whim. There should be rigorous discussion in a public forum that informs any such change and at present I see no evidence of that at all.

To illustrate its reach further, the IARU has a document called "Ethics and Operating Procedures for the Radio Amateur", with Edition 3 published in 2010. It contains a copy of the code with yet another version of clause three:

The Radio Amateur is PROGRESSIVE... He keeps his station up to date. It is well-built and efficient. His operating practice is above reproach.

Clearly change is being implemented somewhere and it might well be that this version informed the current version on the ARRL website, 12 years later. I'll also note that there is a copyright statement in that IARU document that contains a whole lot of, in my opinion, unenforceable verbiage, including the requirement that any copy or portion is required to include a copyright notice, which in the case of the included Amateur's Code is murky at best. I also note that it credits Paul Segal in 1928, something which we've already established is wrong, given that the code appears in print in 1927 and has been credited to him as far back as 1923.

Back to the clause, I think that keeping science as an integral part of the conversation is essential. I'm going to repeat the original clause as published for reference.

The Amateur is Progressive. He keeps his station abreast of science. It is built well and efficiently. His operating practice is clean and regular.

In addition to science, there's a statement about how to build and how to operate. It's a little curious to use the word progressive, but it means to happen or develop gradually or in stages. In other words, you don't need to be perfect on day one, but you do need to strive for the objectives as part of an evolutionary process.

So, progressive, science, well built and well operated. That seems like a recipe for lifelong learning, in my opinion a lofty goal to strive for.

What if we lost the last century pronouns, removed the shopping imperative and kept the tone:

The Radio Amateur is PROGRESSIVE...keeping abreast of science, striving to build and operate their station above reproach.

Would such a clause inspire you to do better, to build and grow as an amateur, to improve and learn?