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Old 03-14-2016, 06:48 PM
Location: Nescopeck, Penna.
11,355 posts, read 6,783,711 times
Reputation: 14407


OK, I'm probably opening the door for nay-sayers, pessimists, and conspiracy-theory-merchants of every variety, but I'm old enough, at age 66, to have come of age in the wake of some of history's darkest chapters, and to actually remember a few not that far removed. And I have to conclude that the last half-century has seen some serious human progress.

I was 14 years of age when one morning, some twerp in my home town decided to test, without advance notice, a new Civil Defense siren specifically geared toward what were called "air raids"; this occasion was only about a year removed from the Cuban missile showdown of the fall of 1962, and one of my classmates broke down completely, and had to be removed to the school's dispensary.

And I can recall a couple of occasions when the systems for the distribution and co-ordination of basic international disaster relief, which was just in its formative stages, broke down, and pictures of real famine found their way to the media, Bangladesh, in the early Seventies, was the last -- with the likely exception of a handful of small dictatorships, and events in China which could still escape full public scrutiny at the time.

That progress was made possible, first and foremost, by open communication. We might protest loud and long about the "95% spam" content of what's out there, but recognition rests with the psyche of the beholder, and no censor can overrule what the individual carries in his/her own mind. And anyone who isn't aware of the huge advances in expectations, if not that much actual progress -- and of even greater importance, in skepticism toward blind authority in what was known as the Third World, needs to do a little research. I'd suggest Jean-Pierre Hallet's Congo Kitabu or Collins and LaPierre's Freedom at Midnight as good starting points, or Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat.

And if this thread succeeds, I hope it won't bog down into a flame-fest over the nature of climate change, emerging plagues, international terrorism, or some theory of a circle of benevolent (or malevolent) illiminatii. And the same should apply to the question of just how big a "safety net" is needed, or just how it is to be financed and administered.Speaking personally for just a moment, I believe that the inevitable leveling of the global economic playing field, and its consequences for the favored minority in the small circle of industrialized democracies, is the single greatest factor behind the discontent which is rampant in the United States today. But it's a fleabite in comparison to what some of us recall from the not-so-serene Fifties and Sixties.

Let's have at it.

Last edited by 2nd trick op; 03-14-2016 at 07:06 PM..
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