Thursday, January 01, 2009

Always look on the bright side of Life! 2008 wasn't all that bad!

Radley Balko:
Be prepared to see a lot of doom and gloom this week. Those year-end video and photo montages, year-in-review summaries, and "a look back" reflections are inevitably gloomy even in boom times. That's likely to be especially true in 2008, a year that, admittedly, wasn't particularly filled with hope (Barack Obama's campaign promises aside).

I recently heard a conservative talk show host bemoan the "lack of God in our society" as reason for, among other things, the recent "Santa shooting massacre" in Covina, California. The left, meanwhile, is pointing to the financial meltdown as indicative of a different kind of moral failing—the unbridled greed they associate with free enterprise.

Truth is, they're both wrong. The last 12 months may prove not to be the most fondly recalled in recent American history, but things aren't all that bad. Most social indicators are still moving in the right direction. In general, our standard of living continues to improve. Advances in technology are helping us beat the diseases most likely to kill us; giving us more leisure time; making us more comfortable; giving us more convenience; and with the Internet, putting much of the world—quite literally—at our fingertips.

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