And so it was fascinating to run into an article at the very conservative National Review by Kevin Williamson titled: Take a Bow, Species. The whole thing is positively brimming with optimism and good news. Here's a list of the things he mentions:
* Polio has basically been eradicated from the globe
* Measles and rubella will be next
* The global rate of “extreme poverty, currently defined as subsistence on less than the equivalent of $1.90 a day, is now the condition of less than 10 percent of the human race. Take a look at how the World Bank recently plotted that change:
* The overall rate of violent crime in the U.S. has fallen by about half in recent decades.
* U.S. manufacturing output per worker trebled from 1975 to 2005, and our total manufacturing output continues to climb
* General-price inflation, the bane of the U.S. economy for some decades, is hardly to be seen
* I just filled up my car for $1.78 a gallon
The reason that you're not likely to hear any of that from Republican presidential candidates anytime soon is because it is their job to convince us that their presidency is needed to overcome the myriad of ways that President Obama has ruined everything.
But those candidates will also be tapping into the doom-and-gloom felt by Republican voters. Williamson quotes Tyler Cowen in an attempt to understand what fuels that mood.
It seems to me that people are first choosing a mood or attitude, and then finding the disparate views which match to that mood and, to themselves, justifying those views by the mood. I call this the “fallacy of mood affiliation,” and it is one of the most underreported fallacies in human reasoning.You can count me as pretty surprised to find myself basically agreeing with Kevin Williamson and Tyler Cowen. It's not that we've reached some kind of nirvana where all is well with the world. But consider this as an antidote to the "we're all going to hell in a hand basket" that we're hearing so much about these days.