By Mike Cronin
Are you dreading Thanksgiving dinner for fear conversation will turn to politics and/or ideology and lead to acrimony? Perhaps we can steer the conversation in interesting yet non-acrimonious directions. Here are some prompts:
Whether we are liberal Democrats or conservative Republicans, or centrist moderates, or fringe Libertarians or Greens, maybe we can all at least agree that we live in the best time in human history, and in the best location on the planet. For example:
Absolute poverty has been reduced by more than half world-wide. More than half of the world’s 7 billion-plus people are now in the middle class.
Thanks to technology, the average American today has a more luxurious life than the elites of 100 years ago. Our biggest health problems are caused by abundance, not scarcity!
The part of North America we call the United States has more navigable waterways than the rest of the world combined. Much of these waterways overlay the central US – the largest contiguous piece of arable land on the planet. Thus, our country has had a wealth-generation engine built in almost from the start: a vast region of agricultural and industrial productivity with an integral low-cost transportation network.
Generally speaking, we live under the rule of law, the highest of which is expressly designed to protect our inherent rights. We certainly have differences of opinion, and we often object to what our elected representatives and other “thought leaders” do and say – yet we can still have the debate. When the traditional fora for doing so, such as college campuses and media panel shows, stop offering balanced debate space, new structures, such as the “Intellectual Dark Web,” rise to replace them. We have a system and culture that, paraphrasing Milton Friedman, makes it possible for people who hate each other to do business and live in the same proximity without killing each other. (Yes, it happens sometimes anyways, but it’s not the rule, and it’s not tolerated).
We draw closer and closer to the day a fusion reactor finally puts out more energy than it consumes. At that point, the single greatest barrier to the problem of providing clean, cheap energy will be conquered. Until that day, we have enough resources, including now-profitable shale oil, to be energy-independent – in fact, we will very soon be a net exporter of energy.
Illegal immigration is a hot topic, but legal immigration is one of America’s “secret weapons.” While many of the world’s leading economies experience declining birth rates and aging populations as wealth rises and the middle class grows, a continuous stream of immigrants to our shores help to pad our birth rates and refresh our talent pools.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!