This will be the only political blog entry I will ever make. And it really isn’t so much political as it is sociological. I’m not going to stand on one side of the Party dichotomy here, or rail against policies I don’t like, or push an ideology. Rather, I desire to simply ask a question:
What about America in 2016 was not great?
I’m in the middle of reading a long and admittedly rather pedantic book called Enlightenment Now, by Steven Pinker, a Harvard psychology professor. In it, he extols the advances of modern civilization from the 1700s (the era of the Enlightenment) to the present, supporting his optimistic outlook with a myriad of studies that have been done in the last century on a large number of underlying factors. (Although he applies his data to the entire world, I’m only going to focus on America here.) Halfway through this work, it is obvious to me what his ultimate conclusion is going to be: We have never been richer, healthier, freer, safer, longer lived or happier than we are now.
Think about it: The economy was booming. Women and minorities had achieved unprecedented levels of equality and opportunity. Civil rights, women’s rights, and gay rights were at an all-time high. People worked far fewer hours, had much more leisure time, and were monetarily well off enough to be able to afford material possessions, travel, and recreation. Even poor people could buy cars, flat screen TVs, computers and smart phones. We could not only talk to, but could see, people from all over the world. Education levels were phenomenal, and as a result, overall IQ had risen dramatically. The Internet provided us with limitless opportunities for research, social interaction, consumerism, and entertainment. Instances of drug abuse were plummeting; so was violent crime.
What about all of this was so wrong? Why did it call for a radical political movement to fix what wasn’t broken?
I’m not going to give my opinion on this. I just wanted to lay out a few facts.