Have you heard ALL the terrible news? We are destroying the planet. Middle class is disappearing. Deadly Ebola outbreak. It’s worse than ever before. And yet, the cover of my favorite magazine says the glass is not just half full. It’s completely full! There is less war, more food. We live healthier and longer lives, even work got good. Watching the news, everything’s terrible. They’re wrong. Reason editor Katherine Mangu-Ward. We are absolutely wired to see a world in which things are bad. Evolution wired us that way. If you are a caveman who hears a little rustling in the weeds, and you say, “Oh, it’s probably fine.” And the other guy says, “It’s probably a tiger,” that’s the guy who lives. That guy was our ancestors. [News anchors] The media make us more afraid. This magazine cover gets TV hosts right. It is like their hair is on fire. [News anchors] But what’s happening in real life? Steady improvement, and often, miracles! 3, 2, 1, go. Hi buddy. Hi Christopher. Children get cochlear implants and for the first time, they can hear. [Baby noises] There are things that, in another era, would have caused the founding of an entire religion. We made a eight paraplegic patients walk again for the first time in a decade. [Kid sounds] Helping the lame to walk. We do this as a routine matter. Even food is better than ever. If I wasn’t told that it wasn’t meat I wouldn’t have known. These are people who want to make money by selling you a burger that didn’t hurt a cow. What about this constant complaint from the media? The middle class is shrinking. Mostly it’s because people are getting richer. People have moved up. There are more high-income people than ever before— and fewer low income households. Here’s another Reason article that reveals what most other media don’t report. “Pestilence, war, famine, and death are all on the decline.” You wouldn’t know that watching news programs. That’s right, and yet it’s absolutely true. Even the left-wing media admits it, sometimes. [Gunshots] War is terrible, but over the past 70 years there are fewer war related deaths. There are fewer wars and fewer people die in those wars Even with the rise of terrorism? Even with the rise of terrorism. You are lucky enough to live in a time where you have never been less likely to die that way. You are probably going to die of heart disease, frankly. But wait a second… Suicide rates are up 40 percent among white men. Lately, life expectancy dropped a bit Still, overall, that is the tiniest blip. People are living longer, healthier lives. Another Reason story that contradicts conventional wisdom is this one: work got good. All I hear is that work is terrible. If you watch the news, you would think absolutely everyone in America is currently laboring in an Amazon factory crying while they fill boxes and that’s just not, on average, what work actually looks like. It did once look like that A couple hundred years ago, work was dangerous. It was very easy to die at work. And on top of that Work was extremely boring, even for people that had good jobs. Jobs are pretty interesting now, and they mostly don’t kill you, and we should be grateful for that development. Now the people at Reason aren’t stupid. They know there are problems in the world. So turn the magazine over and you get the bad news: Venezuela, threats to an open internet, young people liking socialism. Socialism or capitalism? I would say socialism. Kids love socialism. If helping people is socialism, then I’m for it. They have no idea what socialism is. Mangu-Ward’s most upset about new restrictions on speech. The idea that what you can say on the internet should be restricted, I think, is the most poisonous of all. Her magazine mourns the constant growth of regulation. The state of Washington wants booster seats for any kid who isn’t 4’9” tall. Parents could be fined or even in some cases, imprisoned, for failing to comply with these laws A congressman wants to regulate speech, an old woman is fined because her dog leash is too long. Notice a trend here? Everything that’s bad is politics, everything that’s good is the market. Markets allow every individual a choice. Politics forces everyone to obey whatever the majority voted for. One thing we try to do at Reason, is describe why everyone should have less power over each other anywhere they can. Because people are going to make mistakes and hurt each other. Better that they shouldn’t do it with the force of the state behind them. Bottom line, there’s a lot of nasty stuff going on, but life does get better. Life gets better. We have the opportunity to look in to a future where those trends will continue if we can just manage to keep politicians from screwing it up.