“Pinker, like economists, ignores the notion that not everything that can be counted can be counted on: “People seem to bitch, moan, whine, carp and kvetch as much as ever” despite, according to Pinker, “reams of data on how humans’’ quality of life continues to improve.”
The measurement of progress, to which Pinker refers, is relative to purview.
If you measure human progress at the normalization of manmade economics, you can be proud of the report card you give yourself. If you measure human excellence by nature’s principles, humanity fails miserably.
The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
So, just because I can, let’s defeat Pinker’s reasoning on his home turf with numbers and explain how humanity, as arguably the most intelligent major species ever lived, is unchanged on a steadfast trajectory to live the shortest:
- More than 70% of the American population are medically walking-dead, chronically dependent on prescription drugs, mostly antidepressants.
- 57% of Americans do not have more than $500 in savings, unable to deal with unscripted calamities and medical emergencies in life.
- The United States is the second most obese country globally, with 40,000 people dying from obesity every month(!). That is a death rate equivalent to eight 9/11s each month nobody talks about.
- 57% of kids will be obese by 35 years old. 75% of applicants to the army today are considered unfit. Get ready for a dramatic increase in medical insurance premiums.
- 41% of Americans spend more than half their income on rent. 60% are enslaved to a job that pays no more than $40K, insufficient to buy healthy food, care for a family, or pay medical bills in America.
- 15.8% of Americans are considered extremely poor. 25% of children in the public school system are on food support. 48 Million people live on food stamps. Childhood poverty costs the United States $1.03 trillion per year.
- US national debt at $28.9 Trillion exceeds our GDP—a debt of $229K per taxpayer.
- Americans’ average age is declining for the third year in a row.
Steven Pinker’s rationale for human progress reminds me of the pretense of well-being from a person I thought I knew who drives a BMW and yet cannot afford to put more than $20 of gas in the tank. Seeing that person suffocate on stacked loans and barely able to afford gas, now desperately looking to latch on to a Richard Gere-style sugar daddy, would make Pinker believe she was rich, in mind and wherewithal.
As succinctly described by Nobel Prize physicist Richard Feynman, we live on a planet subject to an irreversible decline of available energy. Therefore the excellence and longevity of the human species depend on how we adapt and learn to do more with less.