Note:  In a recent bulletin article, Mark Mason of the 36th St. congregation in Vienna, WV, shared a couple of articles which provide healthy alternatives to much of the “gloom-and-doom” news we hear in our news media and from the internet.

In the Jan. 21, 2004 issue of  The Wall Street Journal, Pete DuPont observed,  “In 1958 liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith’s best-selling The Affluent Society assured us that living standards had risen so far they couldn’t rise any further.  In 1960, Prof. Paul Erlich concluded that 65 million Americans would perish from famine in the 1980’s and food riots would kill millions more.  Scientific American predicted in 1970 that in 20 years the world would be out of lead, zinc, tin, gold and silver.  Jimmy Carter’s 1980 “Global 2000” report forecast that mass starvation and super-plagues would ravage the globe in the final year of the millennium.

“They all more or less agreed with English philosopher Thomas Hobbes that our lives would be ‘solitary, nasty, brutish and short.’  They were all dead wrong.”

Such observations serve as a reminder that it is dangerous to predict the future.  Let’s just rest in the assurance that whatever the future holds, it is securely in God’s hands.  (written by Michael Duduit)

In a Jan. 11, 2004, column, George Will pointed out that despite the hand-wringing found in much of the media, life in America continues to improve on a material basis.  He draws on data from Gregg Easterbrook’s new book The Progress Paradox; How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse.

Will says, “Easterbrook, a journalist and fellow of the Brookings Institution, assaults readers with good news.  American life expectancy has dramatically increased in a century from 47 to 77 years.  Our great-great-grandparents all knew someone who died of some disease we never fear; as recently as 1952, polio killed 3,300 Americans.  Our largest public health problems arise from unlimited supplies of affordable food.

“The typical American has twice the purchasing power his mother or father had in 1960.  A third of America’s families own at least three cars.  In 2001 Americans spent $25 billion — more than North Korea’s GDP — on recreational watercraft.

“Since 1970, the number of cars has increased 68 percent, and the number of miles driven has increased even more; yet smog has declined by a third, and the traffic fatalities declined from 52,627 to 42,815 last year.  In 2003, we spent much wealth on things unavailable in 1953 — a cleaner environment, reduced mortality through new medical marvels ($5.2 billion a year just for artificial knees, which did not exist a generation ago), the ability to fly anywhere or talk to anyone anywhere.  The incidence of heart disease, stroke and cancer, when adjusted for population growth, is declining.

“The rate of child poverty is down in a decade.  America soon will be the first society in which a majority of adults are college graduates.”

                                                                           Mark Mason,  Via Vienna, WV


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