02 October 2021

Is the US in decline?

Atheist Revolution blog posed this question on Monday, and it evoked a few thoughts.  From any viewpoint, things are getting better in some areas and worse in others.  It has always been so.

People over-estimate the importance of politics.  Look beyond that.  Crime has been dropping steadily since the nineties.  The non-religious percentage of the population has exploded over the last two decades.  Acceptance of homosexuality and even same-sex marriage has gone from fringe to mainstream in even less time.  Drug decriminalization is gaining support.  Technological progress is accelerating -- the speed with which vaccines were deployed against covid-19 is an example.  Technological work-arounds offer hope of being able to circumvent "de-platforming", hate-speech laws, and other enemy efforts to restrict disfavored views.  Politics is lagging behind cultural change because of arbitrary flaws in our system, such as the senate and the electoral college, which over-empower a backward minority.  Those flaws are not new, they are just looming larger because they're all that that backward minority has left.

I would rather face the combination of opportunities and problems the US has than the combination of opportunities and problems almost any other country has.  The few countries that are better off than we are in substantial areas are mostly smaller and have drawbacks in other areas, such as less-robust protections for free speech and personal gun ownership.

The political sphere shows some signs of decline (though it was robust enough to survive Trump and remove him), but in general the country beyond the realm of politics shows the opposite.


Blogger Bohemian said...

This was such a refreshing Glass Half Full Post my Friend! I needed that, because some things are so devolved that it gleans the most Attention and the Minority Morons are always the loudest and the most clueless, so really some things never change much when you think about it objectively. Thanks!

02 October, 2021 15:52  
Anonymous Nick the Geek said...

I hope you're right. But the Republican gang in Wisconsin have a full list of words they're trying to ban.

Read here .

With the current Supreme Court, they might just get away with it.

02 October, 2021 17:20  
Blogger Kwark said...

"...drawbacks in other areas, such as less-robust protections for free speech and personal gun ownership." So, I take it you think "personal gun ownership" is in the positive column? If that's the case I'd be interested in an explanation of that bit of perversity.

02 October, 2021 18:26  
Blogger Kay said...

It’s good to know it’s not hopeless here. With all the horrible news we hear these days and people too selfish or prejudiced to help others, it was feeling pretty sad. I’m feeling gratitude for what we have and hope for a better future for our kids.

02 October, 2021 19:22  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Bohemian: Glad to provide some encouragement. Unfortunately pessimism and cynicism are fashionable these days, and people tend to wallow in them.

Nick: I know there are various people out there trying to ban things. I never said that there are no bad things happening at all, just that there are more positive things happening on balance -- particularly if you lift your gaze from the narrow realm of politics and legislation and look at the broader picture.

Kwark: That's always been my position and it's come up on the blog on a fairly regular basis.

Kay: The bad that is going on always looms largest, but it's easy to see that the further back things go, the worse it gets. 30 years ago being gay was still illegal in much of the country. 70 years ago racial segregation was still the norm. A little over 100 years ago women couldn't vote and lynch mobs were normative. 140 years ago the Indian genocide was in full swing and 160 years ago we still had slavery. Things are not perfect now, but they're probably better than at any previous time in the country's history.

02 October, 2021 23:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, also listening to corporate lobbyists. In the 90s, the Democrats were basically owned by the Libertarian Party because apparently imitating a perennial "distant third" is how you win.

03 October, 2021 07:58  
Blogger Infidel753 said...


03 October, 2021 08:41  
Blogger Jack said...

I updated my post with a link to this one because I think this is a good perspective even if I tend to be a bit more pessimistic.

03 October, 2021 13:39  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Thanks for the link!

05 October, 2021 00:36  

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