You guys are great, I really enjoy your posts - esp. the way they run the gamut from humorous to concrete to abstract.
I love your examples, Jeff, and will use them in my next “gee, Hon, it’s not so bad” argument w/hubby (who’s actually the true pessimist of the household). As an American female I’m always aware that my lot in life is far, far better than other women/places/times.
However I also accept your challenge re: my argument.
It seems to me that our capacity for making intelligent choices vis-a-vis national policies is just barely keeping pace with our increased ability to impact the world. Esp. w/regard to environmental destruction. So I worry that while we’ve increased our enlightenment, our pollution and consumption have grown to disastrous levels - hence the lack of a net gain, in the overall abstract picture.
It also bugs the hell out of me that our country is so two-faced, not only supporting dictators but also allowing companies to do things overseas that they wouldn’t DARE try to get away with here, both in pollution and in exploiting workers. Yeah, we’ve gotten rid of some despicable behavior towards our own citizens, but it seems much of it was merely exported. Here’s an example a friend sent me just the other day:
“I’ve also been researching the computer materials and waste situation–what goes into them and where they go when we dispose of them! Basically, we send them (and TVs, stereos, phones) to third world countries, illegally in some cases, and really poor people make a livelihood of picking them apart for recyclable metal, after which they burn the plastic, which pollutes their air and water and is making everyone ill and giving kids birth defects.”
(I wasn’t really relying on SUVs as my only example of evil, it was just the first thing that came to mind, w/all they represent - if you lived in Chicago, you’d understand; they’re EVERYWHERE)
I also wonder if people really want all the freedom - consider how few vote, or educate themselves on the issues. Or take a stand on their own. In terms of satisfaction with life, I betcha huge numbers would have been just as happy following the orders of a rational dictator, since that’s what they let society act as anyway (i.e., we’re all supposed to follow the same trends).
On the other hand, I think this may be the year I finally get around to flashing my tits - I missed that whole “girls gone wild phase” (too busy reading Sartre). So, yeah, life is good.