Despite the mamy good things about today’s world – materially the best time in history to be alive, says Johan Norberg – very few people are saying that.
Why is that? Well, if you get your news solely from the fever swamp and from few places else, then consider that may be the reason you’re seeing the world through shit-tinted glasses. Most news today, says Bryan Caplan, is Orwell’s Animal Farm in reverse:
In a totalitarian state, there's a chasm between daily life and the media. Daily life is awful, but the media trumpets the glory of the status quo.
The West now has a comparable chasm between daily life and the media, but it goes in the opposite direction. Daily life is wonderful: Unless you actively hunt for outliers, you're surrounded by well-fed, healthy, safe, comfortable people enjoying a cornucopia of amusement. The media, however, uses the vastness of the world to show us non-stop terror, hate, fear, brutality, and poverty - not just in the Third World, but right here at home.
Why would the media strive to make audiences doubt their own two eyes? In the Soviet Union, the explanation is obvious: The Party used its media monopoly to brainwash its citizens into accepting, if not relishing, their wretched existence.
Its tempting to tell a mirror image story for the West: Hostile journalists seek to undermine a glorious world they hate. But even if these cartoonish motives were operative, Western media is manifestly competitive, so you have to ask, "Why hasn't competition stopped the brainwashing?" The only credible response is that media consumers like hearing about a world of terror, hate, fear, brutality, and poverty.
I can't fathom why anyone would crave a daily dose of this intellectual poison, but see no other explanation for our Orwellian situation.