Thursday, April 19, 2012

Got to admit it's getting better

This is the President sitting on the same bus where Rosa Parks kicked off the civil rights movement. In my parents' lifetime, we have gone from a nation where black people had to give up their seats to a nation led by a (half-) black man.

I'm increasingly optimistic about the direction of our world. Of course it's not perfect. There remain a multitude of improvements to be made, but to say that no progress is being made is silly. Gitmo is bad, but we are not locking up whole ethnicities of Americans like we did to George Takei and other Japanese-Americans in the 40's. The Vietnam and Korean Wars would make Iraq and Afghanistan look like minor border conflicts. We retain the power to annihilate ourselves, but the number of nuclear weapons in existence today is a fraction compared to the height of the Cold War, and the main nuclear threat is a terrorist organization getting one or two devices, not two superpowers shooting tens of thousands at each other.

There is a lot of doom and gloom in our political discourse these days. The parties fall over each other to convince voters that we are all doomed if we don't enact their policies immediately. There's this tendency to believe that things were better years ago, whether it's the 90's or the 80's or the 50's or, for Ron Paul, the 1880's. But today, the world is healthier, richer and, as demonstrated by the picture above, more fair and ethical than it has ever been.

1 comment:

NWest said...

In many ways, yes, the world is getting better. Individual liberty has seen a Renaissance, at least from the so-called "social" side. The world is mostly at peace. Life expectancy is reaching all time highs. Nutrition is better than ever.

Political discourse being "polite" was an *aberration* of the baby boom era.

The danger is that the institutions that have created this prosperity are becoming corrupted, and the gains will stop coming an reverse themselves.

- Property Rights erode as property taxes rise and eminent domain laws remove even the illusion that you own your property

- The police are increasingly militarized via the "war on drugs". Police brutality is nothing new, but now they have many more weapons at their disposal.

- The financial system relies on both consumer and government debt, fractional-reserve fraud, and thus never-ending growth & monetary inflation.

- The *ism's has taken on a new form, "group membership" based on superficial attributes. For the most part cries of "*ism" are now cries for special privilege.

- The reduction in US military and economic hegemony will allow for regional conflicts to heat back up (The South China Sea, the Caucasus, the entire Middle East & Africa, the inevitable break up of the EU, etc).

- Regulatory regimes implemented for the good of all become subverted by those they regulate. Why bother innovating if I can instead force my competitors into the same cost structure that I have (or even better, pass a law that forces consumers to buy my product in the name of "safety").

One can make the case that the advances in the standard of living have been made in *spite* of the institutional decay. There will be a tipping point. It may be in our generation, it may be the next.

:) Aren't I just a glowing ray of sunshine?