Much of what you post (specifically technological and racial gains) I cheerfully conceded and celebrated earlier in this thread: LINK Inexplicably you are asking me to argue against an argument that I have already anticipated and acknowledged. You are better than that, old friend.
Yes, but I was pointing out those gains have been historic and, frankly, amazing. I felt you were glossing over them in a "yeah, whatever" sort of way. I don't think we spend enough time taking a step back to realize just how amazing the technological/informational gains of the past 20 years truly are. The world is unrecognizable from what is was 30 years ago.
1. Do we have more personal liberty ? Your argument addresses mass communications and transportation. I'm talking about LIBERTY. You know I am making an argument about CLASSICAL LIBERTY (the freedom of individuals from State control or coercion) not about the right to board a plane and after being fondled by a TSA agent, having the ability to fly to Aruba. Likewise, the ability to make a transatlantic phone call has exactly ZERO to do with LIBERTY.
It has everything to do with liberty. The right to travel is so fundamental to liberty it is enshrined not in the Bill of rights, but the body of the Constitution. That's how fundamental it is to liberty. Think of the most oppressed peoples in the history of the world -- they are tied to the land. Peasantry are literally considered, legally, part of the land. The fact we are unburdened by the restrictions of something as basic as where we are born is the greatest gift of liberty that any people have ever experienced. Mobility is fundamental to liberty. I'm not talking about just being able to fly to Aruba, but the ability to pack up and move from Maryland to Texas, via Louisiana.
And while one will never have "perfect" liberty so long as there is a government (but then you run into a whole lost of other problems -- like not getting murdered by ravaging hordes of bandits), I do believe our government does not excessively coerce us. I know y'all get all up in arms about it, so we're not going to see eye to eye on these things. But most of the time people bitch about having to fill out a form. Whatever. We know what truly oppressive governments look like, and this ain't it. The Russians threw Pussy Riot into gulags (honest to God gulags leftover from the Stalinist days) for criticizing Putin. Donald Trump or Ann Coulter can get on TV and call Obama every name in the book and call people traitors and vermin and have NO legal reprecussions. None.
You mean the fictional entities called corporations, which only exist by the operation of law and the organization of the state, have to obey rules and regulations? My God! It's like Absolutism!
2. Are we a more aspirational society ? You didn't give me any evidence, so I don't really know what to say except OPEN YOUR EYES, look at the growth of the Entitlement Class, through raw statistics, and mountains of anecdotal evidence, and admit the obvious. We are NOT an aspirational society as we were ten years ago. Sure, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs will always be game-changers but on THE MACRO LEVEL, we have had a significant shift from aspirational society to Entitlement Society.
The old have bitched about the laziness of the young for as long as there have been the old and the young. The Ancient Greeks complained about their lazy children. OK, eventually Greece fell, but it didn't happen in a generation, and it didn't happen because people suddenly got lazy.
We have a record number of patents filed every year, and more businesses being formed every day. We have literally new industries being invented as we speak. We are so aspirational that we have people that still argue vehemently for tax cuts for the richest 1% because they believe, one day, they will be in that 1%. I still think we have one of the most permeable class societies not only in the world, but ever. We have class mobility that our Founders would never dream of.
I know you love this country. So do I. That's why I still believe in it, and its people. I'm not saying we're free from problems, but I actually have great faith in our ability to meet them, just as we've met the problems in the past.
You mentioned 30 years ago. Are we better off? 30 years ago we had the plague of AIDS that seemed unstoppable, crack cocaine was destroying our inner cities, we had exploding murder rates and the rise of the "supercriminal", white flight was at its worst as a generation abandoned the cities. Oh, and we all thought we could die in a nuclear war at any second. Today, AIDS is no longer a death sentence and not wiping out whole communities, drugs are still an issue but the tide has turned, inner cities are seeing a resurgence as crime rates go down and the middle class has returned, younger families are rebuilding neighborhoods in cities abandoned years ago and creating new city centers. And the Soviet Union doesn't even exist anymore.
Yeah, things are better. Objectively better than they were 30 years ago.
ETA: I would say the same thing if Romney got elected. This is not about Obama. This is about the inherent awesomeness of the US of A.
This post was edited on 11/9 at 5:15 pm