Have you noticed how gloomy progressives can be? Nothing is ever fine. There’s always some injustice to spoil the day. (Conservatives can be sour, too, but it’s usually over being pushed around by aggressive progressives.)
At dinner with friends, someone mentioned a TV show the jist of which is animals band together to save the earth because, well, we humans certainly will not.
I wondered, but didn’t say, save the earth from what?
A WSJ review of Ron Bailey’s new book The End of Doom has this:
Mr. Bailey has little difficulty demonstrating that, despite an explosion in world population greater than Thomas Malthus could possibly have envisaged in the 18th century, global living standards are higher than ever. “Food,” he writes, citing statistics from the World Bank and other organizations, “is more abundant today than ever before in history.” In the past 50 years alone, global food production has more than tripled.
It is also more than likely, in the opinion of most demographers, that world population will peak in the relatively near future and then start to decline. Mr. Bailey attributes this to the related phenomena of growing personal wealth in the developing world and the advance of education, particularly for girls, in those countries. He underplays, I suspect, another factor: Perhaps the most striking aspect of global development is the dramatic migration of population from the country to the city. Of course, this population movement is excellent news for wildlife and biodiversity.
It is even easier for him to show that a fear of the world running out of natural resources, popularized by scaremongers like Stanford demographer Paul Ehrlich, is wholly without foundation, as an elementary understanding of markets clearly shows. No doubt the age of oil will one day come to an end. But as my old friend Saudi Arabia’s Sheikh Yamani used to point out, the Stone Age did not come to an end because we ran out of stone.
As for the alleged perils of biotechnology and genetic modification (which is simply an improved form of the age-old practice of the selective breeding of plants), if there was any substance to the fears of Frankenfoods, these practices would have stopped decades ago. What the green revolution has done is feed the world and reduce poverty on an unparalleled scale.
A couple of days ago, Jim Geraghty reminded folks on the right about some positives:
Hey, Conservatives! Look on the Bright Side!
There was a strange, almost gloomy vibe among many of the National Reviewcruise-goers last week. Yes, the cruise arrived shortly after Obama’s announcement of the Iran deal, the Chattanooga shooting, and the Supreme Court decisions on Obamacare and gay marriage. A lot of folks on the right feel like they’ve been smacked around by political events.
From the way conservatives talk, one would never know that Republicans have 54 U.S. Senate seats, 246 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives (a majority that the party could easily hold for the next decade), 31 governors, and 68 out of 98 partisan state legislatures. Republicans control the governorship and both houses in 23 states; Democrats control only seven.
Abortions have dropped 12 percent nationwide since 2010 and are down in almost every state. The divorce rate declined significantly in the past generation and is staying down, while the marriage rate is up a bit. Slate concedes, “Most Americans have given up on achieving meaningful gun control in their lifetimes or in their grandchildren’s lifetimes.”
As James of England observed over at Ricochet, total government spending, which includes federal, state, and local, is 34.63 percent of GDP — which sounds bad, until you realize that in 2010 it was 39.7 percent of GDP. In 1990, it was 34.84.
This year Wisconsin became the 25th Right-to-Work state. Public-sector unions did pick up some members in 2014, but they still represent just 35.7 percent of public sector works.
School choice has expanded dramatically in our lifetimes; now there are “21 voucher programs, 16 scholarship tax credit programs, one education savings account program, and two individual tuition tax credit of significant size” with “$1.2 billion in dedicated funding available for school voucher and scholarship tax credit programs nationwide in 2013-14.”