From Kevin Williamson at National Review, The World Keeps Not Ending:
Tom Wolfe joked that “the dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe,” which wasn’t quite right: There’s Saudi Arabia, and China, and Burma . . .
But not here. And, increasingly, not there, either. As our friends at HumanProgress.Org remind us(to little thanks — nobody is less popular than an optimist) the world has in fact become more democratic and more liberal since 1984, rather than more autocratic and more illiberal. Orwell was the better writer and the more profound thinker, but Aldous Huxley was the better prophet.
On the other side of the political spectrum, Willi Schlamm offered a useful proverb: “The problem with socialism is socialism. The problem with capitalism is capitalists.” There’s something to that. But the hyper-capitalist corporate dystopia of the science-fiction imagination and the socialist imagination has not come to pass. There is much to criticize about Amazon and its Cult of Fulfillment, and about Apple and Google, but they aren’t the Tyrell Corporation of Blade Runner or Weyland-Yutani, either. I do not use Facebook, but I am glad that it exists. There is a great deal about technology and culture Anno Domini 2018 that I find perplexing and off-putting, but I prefer to live in a world with wild and free innovation rather than in one that is more bland and more predictable.
Hans Rosling in Facfullness notes how much we underestimate our progress. The more educated we are the more this is the case. Perhaps our media makes more money with stories of disaster and doom. While we should not ignore the problems we do have, we should also not ignore the means that have given us the exponential improvements we have enjoyed. Jonah Goldberg in The Suicide of the West emphasizes that human progress is neither natural or inevitable.
Kevin’s article is excellent. Read the whole thing.