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2015 Was an Awful Year? Look Again ^ | December 30, 2015 | Jeff Jacoby

Posted on 12/30/2015 10:52:08 AM PST by Kaslin

OF COURSE 2015 was a miserable year; all years are miserable. It was a year of rampage killings and police brutality, of natural disasters and government corruption. There were ghastly terror attacks and devastating civil wars, floods of refugees and acts of unspeakable cruelty. Airliners were blown out of the sky. Priceless antiquities were destroyed. Politics seethed with incivility. Too many innocents died young, too many officials lied, too many victims suffered.

You don't have to look far for proof that this has been an annus horribilis, and that things are getting worse. You never do. The conviction of decline routinely grips human beings, even human beings living in an age of progress and safety. The Associated Press once published a news analysis under the headline: "Everything Seemingly Is Spinning Out of Control." The world was going "haywire," the AP observed; people were understandably discouraged by "the onslaught of dispiriting things." As it happens, that article ran in 2008. But an update with the same headline could just as readily be published this year, or any year.

Yet in reality, 2015 was in many ways an annus mirabilis — a year of wonders and blessings. Sample some of the evidence.

* Twelve months ago, West Africa was being racked by the worst epidemic of Ebola disease in recorded history. More than 11,000 people, many of them health workers, were dying of a viral sickness for which no vaccine existed. Today, amazingly, the number of confirmed Ebola cases in West Africa can be counted on the fingers of one hand, and researchers in August reported finding a vaccine that appears to be 100 percent effective in preventing the disease.

* Girls and women in some of the world's hellholes continue to be all too cruelly victimized. On the other hand, female literacy around the planet reached new heights in 2015. As recently as the 1970s, only 40 percent of females age 15 and older could read and write. Just four decades later, according to UNESCO, global female literacy has passed 93 percent.

* In the United States, mass shootings and terrorist assaults took a grim toll this year and drew intense media coverage. But the FBI's newest report on crime in America (compiling data through 2014) shows that violent crime was down, not up. There were fewer homicides and robberies than there had been a year earlier — and far fewer than five and 10 years earlier.

* Thugs with weapons wrought undisputed horrors in places like Syria and Libya, yet there were democratic elections and peaceful transfers of power too — in countries ranging from Nigeria to Argentina to Myanmar to Burkina Faso. And Tunisia's National Dialogue Quartet received the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize for proving that democracy and pluralism could be nurtured even in the Arab world's stony soil.

Pointing to these and other pieces of decidedly good news, economist Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, describes 2015 as "the best year in history for the average human being to be alive." As 2016 approaches, he writes, humankind is "better-educated, better-fed, healthier, freer, and more tolerant" than ever before.

Hard to believe? That's understandable. People are generally more dubious about good news and positive trends. Our species tends to be hardwired for pessimism — a tendency reinforced by the media, which devote far more attention to violence and tragedy than to safety and success. Beheadings dominate news coverage for weeks on end; spectacular medical advances are a one- or two-day story at best.

Men and women have always tended to romanticize the way things were when they were young.

"The humor of blaming the present and admiring the past," the Scottish philosopher David Hume remarked in 1777"is strongly rooted in human nature." It's an instinct worth resisting. Not because the world is never a messy, scary, tear-filled place, but because it is less so now than it used to be. These really are the good old days. Next year will be even better.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: broncos; colorado; crime; denver; denverbroncos; ebola; health; literacy; newyears; peytonmanning; terrorism; usmilitary

1 posted on 12/30/2015 10:52:08 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Spacex and Blue Origin landed reusable first stage rockets. Boehner lost his job.

2 posted on 12/30/2015 10:54:42 AM PST by Vince Ferrer
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To: Kaslin

“But the FBI’s newest report on crime in America (compiling data through 2014) shows that violent crime was down, not up.”

The FBI (Fumbling Bunch of Idiots) gets to set the criteria for what constitutes a “crime.” And we should believe them?

3 posted on 12/30/2015 10:57:20 AM PST by fwdude
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To: Kaslin

4 posted on 12/30/2015 11:04:19 AM PST by DannyTN
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To: Kaslin

[[and police brutality, ]]

Really? And what would the % of brutal police killings be compared to the MILLIONS of lives saved by police? Over the past year there were only a VERY FEW rogue officers, or simply untrained officers who abused their power- and the one that sparked the riots was NOT one of them- We had an elderly police officer mistake his gun for a tazer- and shot a fella running away- that was an accident- we had a police officer order a young man to drop his weapon, the kid didn’t comply- and he was shot-

There have only been a very few cases of actual police brutality- but there have been millions upon millions of cases where the public was protected- The ‘police brutality’ should NOT even be In that list- There is NO rampant epidemic of police brutality- There IS however an unjust growing hatred of the police force by the black community who are exploiting EVERY single white cop black victim shooting and demanding that the officers be charged and found guilty BEFORE an investigation is even begun- Even after trials that find the police officers did not abuse their power- the black community demands they be investigated further-

Perhaps the black communities would like it better if police just didn’t bother with their district anymore? The screams of racism and demands for trial when the evidences doesn’t even warrant a trial, and the refusals by the black community to accept the verdicts are putting police lives in danger like never before- That is the true crime here- not that a few rogue police abuse their power-

5 posted on 12/30/2015 11:07:59 AM PST by Bob434
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To: Kaslin

In some ways, it was an awful year. In other ways, it was a very good one. It all depends on where your focus is.

6 posted on 12/30/2015 11:08:42 AM PST by TBP (Obama lies, Granny dies.)
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To: Kaslin

“OF COURSE 2015 was a miserable year; all years are miserable.”

To be honest, that was my thought when I read the headline.

7 posted on 12/30/2015 11:09:29 AM PST by Politicalkiddo ("It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible."- George Washington)
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To: Kaslin

When I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can’t help but cry. I mean, I’d love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff.

8 posted on 12/30/2015 11:10:27 AM PST by tumblindice (America's founding fathers: all armed conservatives.)
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To: Politicalkiddo

When I was 51
It was a very bad year
It was a very bad year
Those Socialists
Got into gear
Jihadis spreading fear
Were forced to marry queers
It was a very bad year

9 posted on 12/30/2015 11:21:45 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Kaslin

Last year stank, but the year before was worse.

10 posted on 12/30/2015 11:27:29 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Kaslin

There was a post here where it linked some study done on returns on investments in the U.S., and it concluded that investment returns cumulatively had the worst year since 1937.

11 posted on 12/30/2015 12:36:22 PM PST by kaehurowing
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To: Kaslin

This year, 2015, was the worst year for American freedom in at least 150 years.

Bakers, photographers, and florists were fined for exercising their First Amendment right to freedom of religion, and one just paid $135,000 to a pair of thugs for refusing to participate in a pretend “wedding” that made a mockery of Christian beliefs.

Planned Parenthood got caught selling baby parts retail, and they got away with it while retaining our tax dollars.

The IRS got away with persecuting conservatives.

The EPA got away with dumping enough toxic waste in a river to turn it yellow for a week.

ICE got away with doing nothing because they work for a traitor who ordered them to ignore illegals.

The drug-addled thug in our White House continued adding massive amounts to our national debt.

We have to survive another full year plus three weeks before we (hopefully) get a real president again. Even then, it’s not clear whether we will get a real American willing to repeal Obama’s entire legacy or just a big government liberal like Sanders, Hillary, Jeb, Christie, or Rubio.

Its been a frightening year, and next year will be even more frightening for at least the first ten months.

12 posted on 12/30/2015 4:43:29 PM PST by Pollster1 ("Shall not be infringed" is unambiguous.)
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To: Pollster1

Was going to say things might be getting better till I saw your post.

13 posted on 12/30/2015 4:53:19 PM PST by nomorelurker
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To: nomorelurker

It’s not hopeless, but the other team has the ball on our one yard line, and another touchdown or even a field goal will put the game out of reach. We need to move the ball downfield, and we need to rack up a whole lot of points before they score again.

I am more concerned than you can imagine - I do not want a second Civil War in out country. The communists would lose the war, but even decent Americans would lose almost as much as our enemies within our borders would lose.

14 posted on 12/30/2015 4:59:32 PM PST by Pollster1 ("Shall not be infringed" is unambiguous.)
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To: Buckeye McFrog


15 posted on 12/30/2015 11:21:30 PM PST by Impy (They pull a knife, you pull a gun. That's the CHICAGO WAY, and that's how you beat the rats!)
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