The thing about climbing up sand dunes is that you keep sliding downwards. If you slide downward one step for every step you take upwards, you stay in place and get nowhere. Worse, if you slide two steps down for every step up, you go backwards!
To climb a sand dune successfully, you have to take more steps upwards than you slide downwards. I’ve climbed sand dunes; it’s hard; it takes effort (or a dune buggy).
The thing about social progress is that, without real effort towards moving upwards, society tends to slide backwards. Or just stay in place.