πŸ˜’ It was the worst of times

πŸ˜’ It was the worst of times

When was the worst music produced? Now! Most crime? Now! Worst movies? Now! Worst morality? Now! In area after area, people think the worst time is now β€” a completely bizarre view.

Mathias Sundin
Mathias Sundin

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Two thousand Americans were asked which decade had been the best and worst regarding music, morality, crime, economy, TV programs, movies, fashion, and more.

Here are the answers for the worst:

FrΓ₯n Washington Post.

Out of a total of 20 areas, people think the 2020s are the worst in 14 of these:

  • The greatest political division
  • The least reliable news reporting
  • The least cohesive communities
  • The least moral society
  • The most crime
  • The least happy families
  • The worst work-life balance
  • The worst economy
  • The worst music
  • The worst TV programs
  • The worst radio programs
  • The worst movies
  • The worst fashion
  • The worst sports events

For the remaining six areas, the 2020s were the second worst decade in five:

  • Second most wars
  • Second least scientific breakthroughs
  • The second worst cuisine
  • The second worst racial equality
  • The second worst gender equality

The only area where the 2020s were not the worst or second worst was life expectancy, but even here, people thought we were only slightly better than the 1940s. The worst was the 1930s.

Some of this is subjective. Maybe radio programs were much better in the 1940s? And the 1952 Helsinki Olympics were great! But even here, one can question. Is it reasonable to assume that we have the worst TV programs while a streaming war is ongoing, and more money is being spent on TV productions than ever before?

A question that lies between opinion and fact is morality. Is morality worse today? We wrote about this last year. 84 percent believe morality has declined. But an analysis of 107 studies involving over four million people from 1965 to 2020 shows that morality is stable over the decades.

Other things are facts. Life expectancy, for example, is not the second worst since the 1930s. It's absurd to think so. Is it the media's reporting on the slight decline at the beginning of the 2020s due to the pandemic that makes people draw such an idiotic conclusion? But despite that, think about it! It's crazy to believe that today's health care would cause people to die earlier than in almost a hundred years.

Life expectancy at birth in the US, 1860-2020.

When were the good old days?

The Washington Post has delved into these numbers. They also wonder what is behind this. It turns out that it is not a specific decade that everyone agrees was the good old days. Instead, it is a certain age.

Overall, it is when people were eleven years old. They had begun to understand life, mom and dad knew everything, school was fun, and friends were many. But they had not yet started to take in all the misery in the world.

The old quote seems quite fitting: "Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory."

(Quotes were definitely better back then!)

Get a grip!

I get angry when I see this survey. It's unacceptable that so many people are so poorly informed and are super pessimists about our present time. News media pumps us with negative news all the time. Social media is not exactly overflowing with optimism either.

But still. It shouldn't look like this.

It's ridiculous to think that 19 out of 20 areas, from music to crime, are the worst or second worst they have been in almost a hundred years.

Those of us who are not completely clueless have a responsibility to try to change this.

Give away fact-based optimistic books. Like

  • Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker
  • Progress by Johan Norberg

Recommend Our World In Data and Human Progress.

Subscribe to fact-based optimistic news. And if you already do, recommend it to others.

Help people upgrade their knowledge at Gapminder.

Share YouTube clips of Hans Rosling.

For this is indeed the best of times.

Mathias Sundin
The Angry Optimist