Do liberals want everyone to feel as hopeless as they do?
Good News: The World Gets Better
In political life today, you are considered compassionate if you demand that government impose your preferences on others.
But what's compassionate about that? Compassionate is “live and let live.”
Brink Lindsey, author of the new book “The Age of Abundance: How Prosperity Transformed America's Politics and Culture”, says that a growing number of Americans agree. They are increasingly tolerant of other people while still holding firm values of their own. Lindsey writes at the Cato Institute website: “Core commitments to family, work, and country remain strong, but they are tempered by broadminded tolerance of the country's diversity and a deep humility about telling others how they should live. …
“Liberal attitudes on race and the role of women in society have now become subjects of overwhelming consensus. Consider interracial dating, once among the most ferociously enforced of taboos. According to a 2003 survey, 77 percent of Americans agreed with the proposition, ‘I think it's all right for blacks and whites to date each other,' up from 48 percent in 1987. … Some 9 in 10 Americans endorsed equal job opportunities for gays and lesbians as of 2003.”
Lindsey, whose book is getting favorable attention in The New York Times, The Economist, Los Angeles Times, Times of London and National Review, is not the first to point this out, but he emphasizes that the “live and let live” ethic arose only when material security could be taken for granted. As people worried less about where their next meal would come from, they had time to contemplate and develop more enlightened attitudes.
“American capitalism is derided for its superficial banality, yet it has unleashed profound, convulsive social change,” he writes. “Condemned as mindless materialism, it has burst loose a flood tide of spiritual yearning. The civil rights movement and the sexual revolution, environmentalism and feminism, the fitness and health-care boom and the opening of the gay closet, the withering of censorship and the rise of a ‘creative class' of ‘knowledge workers' — all are the progeny of widespread prosperity.”
Relative freedom and the astounding prosperity it yielded have created one of the most humane societies in history — the opposite of what the opponents of economic freedom predicted.
We take that prosperity for granted, since most of us are victims of what's been called “pessimistic bias.” Anything undesirable about our current circumstances is taken as evidence that times are getting worse. But times were much worse throughout history. Lindsey and other writers show that Americans (and many others in the world) are stunningly wealthy compared to even our recent ancestors.
This affluence isn't just for the “rich.” As Lindsey told me recently, “Ordinary Americans, not just those at the top, enjoy a standard of living unmatched anywhere else on earth or at any other time.”
But many Americans don't believe it. The New York Times suggests that politicians win votes by “talking more and more about the anemic growth in American wages and the negative effects of trade and a globalized economy on American jobs.” And Sen. Hillary Clinton, whom the leading London betting site has as a remarkable 1-1 favorite, mourns the “rising inequality and rising pessimism.”
No wonder so many of us think life is getting worse.
But that's nonsense. Average wages are up. Last month, America created 132,000 new jobs. In the last four years, America created 8.2 million jobs. Much of the world is desperate to immigrate to America.
America is rich, and because of that it is humane, with increasing numbers of people developing the tolerance that the intelligentsia says Americans should practice. Why doesn't this good news get the attention it deserves?
Could it be because Lindsey's story has the profit motive at the center? The great material abundance he writes about was not the result of altruism but the pursuit of profit and win-win voluntary exchange. For some people that's bad — no matter how wonderful the consequences.
This is perverse to say the least. The personal pursuit of happiness is a good thing, particularly when it makes everyone better off, too.
Just thinking about reading you dissertation makes me feel hopeless.
Cut it down. Nobody will read it all.
American obesity rate exaggerated?
In my neighborhood, at work, at mall, at hangouts, I rarely see people with obesity problem, even though people are in all kinds of shapes, and most don't look like Hollywood celerbrities. I also see tons of people going to gym, or jogging wherever I go in America. Yet, I hear about this alarming increase in obesity rate in the news and TV. Isn't this American obesity epidemic somewhat exaggerated??? Maybe to boost health care or fitness industry? Or do most real obese people just stay in door and not work and staty on some sort of financial support?
Yeah I think that may be the case. Propaganda is everywhere.
Is New York City already Democratic Socialism?
It is so different from anywhere else in the U.S. it seems.
Public School kids get school breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and take home Saturday meals, and summer breakfast and lunch.
You are legally entitled to housing which is a right , and upon demand, if you are not provided within 24 hours a place to stay (even free of charge temporarily if you have no money),or the city must pay $100 first day $50 per day thereafter to you in fines.
Water is included by law in all rent. And under most circumstances cannot be shut off legally, even for non-payment.
Same with heat, with strict minimum guidelines, apartments must be kept at least 68 degrees during the daytime.
You are exempt from having an electricity meter if you are poor and in subsidized housing without major appliances, or an electricity alowance if in private subsidized housing with meters. (Most people in our neighborhood have no electricity meters – the overwhelming majority in this area)
15 Public Hospitals and 6 Clinics (weverywhere) are not permitted to turn anyone away in the Emergency Room, Doctor Clinic, Dental Clinic, Family Planing Center, or Dept. of Health or City Fitness Centers, and Health Insurance Is not a Requirement.
All government health Center fees are $10 for the poor, and all medicine at the many State Run Pharmacies are price controlled at $10 for the poor, and Free for all emergency patients.
A city run non profit insurance company free for the lower class with only $1 deductibles for the middle class, and heavily subsidized state insurance for upper middle class.
By law Medicine can never be denied if you have the inability to pay at any state pharmacy.
Pretty much everyone in the city is in a government housing program, which covers poor, middles class, AND upper middle class semi public housing and housing lotteries.
Food is also a guaranteed right, and must be distributed at drop in centers community centers, and shelter sites. Along with a 24 hour hunger hotline.
Our own City funded full University and college system of 26 colleges and Universities citywide.
Our own city run educational and news television and music and news radio station. (Both commercial free), plus the new city current affairs city hall network, and extensive NYC Media Group.
Extensive rent control in the private rental market.
Our own city progressive income tax, and our own NYC Earned Income Tax Credit, along with a very progressive state income tax and state Earned Income Tax Credit.
Fully Funded Public Schools, with High Schools of Every Specialty, Fashion, Aviation, Performing Arts, Plumbing, Electricity, Transit, you name it, with up to 10 classes a day,in some cases beautiful labs, and even escalators, our own city version of the SAT just to get into competitive high schools, Flexible curriculums with electives at nearly every level. Classes can end as late as 6pm if you choose to stay all day with electives, etc.
Very Extensive city planning, zoning, parks, all spaces.
Wal-Mart has been outlawed from the city and is not allowed to be built here.
Our supermarket grocery baggers are usually unionized.
Higher minimum wage at $7.15 an hour.
Stricter enforcement of labor laws in local courts. (Pro-labor court system)
Our own state funded Welfare Safety Net System, to replace Clinton's eradication of Welfare (We decided to continue Welfare with our own money)
24 hour bus and train extensive transportation nearly every block of the city, even suburban areas, no more than 20 minute wait for trains late nights.
Government is such a huge part of everyday life here, and yet poverty conditions are lower than many other cities, especially the south, we are pretty free (just like most of America, no dictator here), We are the safest city in America, and its largest at the same time (people are happier?) And our local economy is very productive (Welfare state, yet people still choose to work). And rich people didn't leave here in droves (In fact they are still moving to Manhattan in droves) (New Construction is Everywhere) (And almost no home foreclosures).
So what gives? Are we already socialist? Is our state constitution socialist by making health care, water, electricity, housing, heat and food a constitutional right that the state must provide by law?
True taxes are higher but mostly on the wealthy, and most people don't mind because everyone gets services, the poor middle and upper middle class, all get stuff, and the wealthy get a clean city with beautiful parks, and safety, and awesome transport / quality of life.
There are the occasional people protesting, but here people seem to love government so the majority don't care about taxes since its money well spent. This list doesn't even cover half the programs here. (our local library is open 9am – pm 7 days a week with one whole floor dedicated job center with library job counselors), The city also sponsors free wireless internet in public spaces, the list goes on. Anything the private sector does, NYC government does it also.
Just opened up the Center for Financial Empowerment with Free Budget Counselors, and Literacy Centers to learn English Free.
List goes on..
I love it, I'm thinking now about moving there.
The top 5 countries in the world for standards of living are all Social Democrats with high quality free health care system.
US ranked 17 and no health care last time I checked.
Jinxy's Q – What fascinating cricket terminology do you find amusing?
One of the most likeable aspects of cricket is the quaint – ok, silly – terms used to describe various aspects of play. For example, the man who stands in close to the batsmen to try and catch him out is called a “silly short leg”. A bowler who concedes no runs for six consecutive balls is said to have “bowled a maiden over”. A bowler with not much talent is called a “pie chucker”. A batsman with similar ability is a “bunny”. The list is endless. The good news is that there is just one cricket term you need to remember and that’s “stumps”. It means the game is over and you can return to your normal life.
Bowlers who bowl ‘sandshoe crushers'.
Good afternoon. Liberals, do you consider it nanny-ish that Obama wants to to regulate the foods we eat?
‘Any health care reform plan that Obama signs is almost certain to call for nutrition counseling, obesity screenings and wellness programs at workplaces and community centers. He wants more time in the school day for physical fitness, more nutritious school lunches and more bike paths, walking paths and grocery stores in underserved areas.
The president is filling top posts at Health and Human Services with officials who, in their previous jobs, outlawed trans fats, banned public smoking or required restaurants to provide a calorie count with that slice of banana cream pie…….
To some, it smacks of a “nanny state on steroids” — but for others who fret that America is turning into one big Overeaters Anonymous meeting, Obama’s prescription is like a low-fat dream come true………
Still, Obama needs to strike a balance between fashioning himself an advocate of
It's ironic that the liberals cry about THE PATRIOT ACT but will happily invite the federal government to run every aspect of their personal lives. What's wrong with this picture?
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