We’ve come a long ways - Dec. 2014/Jan. 2015
--Take a look at blessings versus negative media coverage
Where am I going and why am I in this hand basket? I'm sure many of us have that feeling every so often. I'm just as sure that my grandparents also had the same kind of feeling about how things were going. Looking back on some of the crises in our nation's history most of us living today can be glad that we don't have the problems with which our ancestors had to deal.
When I was growing up the biggest foreign policy concern was what the USSR, that's the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic for those who are temporally inexperienced, was going to do to us. We were treated to reports that humanity was going to destroy ourselves with nuclear arms and those lucky enough to survive the holocaust would die in the nuclear winter created by the “mutually assured destruction” policies of the two countries. In addition, two armed conflicts occurred because of fears and concerns over the possible domination of the world by the aforementioned USSR.
On top of those types of predictions we had Paul Ehrlich's dire prediction that we would over-populate the earth and cause a collapse of civilization. We also had Rachael Carson who warned us of an impending “silent spring” brought about by the use of pesticides. Today we can look back on these dire predictions through the clarity of hind sight and see that we didn't go where we feared in our hand basket.
Indeed, today most citizens of the world live longer lives than they did 30 years ago. The arch nemesis of the United States quietly imploded because their economic system couldn't sustain itself. And while people keep having babies, populations in many of the western world countries are not sustainable because people are dying faster than children are being born. As third world economies grow the populations in those countries stabilize and if the experience of the western world is any indication, they may start to decline.
More information is easily available to us today than at any time in the history of the world. Where my generation sought information in encyclopedias and looked up words in a dictionary, today's world allows us unlimited access to information through a smart phone. The fabled “Tower of Babel” which has kept people from communicating with each other appears to have acquired cracks in its foundation with technology that can translate one language into another.
A head on collision in a Cadillac 20 years ago would have killed the driver and passengers where today we see people crawling out of their crumpled machines because automotive engineers have developed stronger passenger compartments that increase the chance of surviving these accidents. Google®is working hard to develop a driver-less car and the current test indicates that such vehicles have better safety records than cars with drivers. To some degree, I'm not too surprised either.
Diseases which used to claim several thousand children a year are all but eradicated. People my age received small pox vaccinations because of the death and disfigurement caused by this disease. Today our children don't have to worry about the disease. To be sure, Mother Nature has developed some new diseases, but the impact on the human race is negligible compared to diseases from just a short century ago.
We still have serious problems which we must address, and we know there are some bad folks out there who don't think the U.S. is a shining beacon on a hill. But Adolf Hitler isn't around anymore and the country Vladimir Lenin created based on the economic theories of Karl Marx fell under its own unsustainable weight. It isn't a land of rainbows and unicorns, but my goodness, we've come a long ways and even though the temptation is to listen to the negative news which media people must live on, we have it better today than we ever did. We indeed are truly blessed.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
By Ken Hamilton, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Executive Vice Presiden