by Greg Walcher, E&E Legal Senior Policy Fellow
As Appearing in the Daily Sentinel
Comics used to joke, “Maybe we’ll see things more clearly by 2020.” After a string of jokes about how muddled and confused the world seemed, the reference to perfect vision sounded especially humorous. It has only been 2020 for three days, but there are already hundreds of columns, editorials, and books using the now-trite reference to better vision.
Self-criticism is part of human nature, leading to a desire for constant change, an unending effort to create utopia. People tend to believe every bad situation can be fixed, and after every tragedy they vow to make sure it never happens again. Thus, we never think things are good enough (they aren’t), so we tend to forget how far civilization has advanced. Our politics are filled with contempt, and the divisiveness seems worse than ever. (It isn’t).
Perhaps in 2020, our attempt to see things more clearly will encourage a broader perspective, and a little pride. Matt Ridley, author of “The Rational Optimist,” just published an important column in The Spectator outlining the greatest decade in human history — this one. He points out the phenomenal progress of mankind in reducing extreme poverty to less than 10% for the first time (it was 60% when he was born in 1958).