The scariest time of the year is almost upon us.
By the time Election Day passes the amount of doomsday banter about how everything is in the toilet uttered by those trying to gain election or to pass or block propositions will be enough to turn the most hardcore Pollyanna into a pessimist.
Contrary to the sound bit drivel that passes as a serious conservation about politics and the state of the world today we are not about to enter the Dark Ages.
Take America’s main mode of transportation.
We are told it is driving us to a climate Armageddon, causing gridlock, sending food prices up by consuming crops that should feed people, and making life in cities dangerous and unpleasant.
Cars are evil, aren’t they? Our cities were much better off before the automobile, right?
Before you start getting nostalgic about the good old days consider this: The day when horses where the main source of transportation were no bed of roses. They were worse than anything you can possibly imagine today.
If you think that is a big pile of manure, you’re right.
There were 100,000 horses in New York City alone at the dawn of the 20th century or one horse for every 34 humans. Horses on average produce 25 pounds of manure each day. In 1900 that meant New York City had to contend with close to 2.5 million pounds of manure.
The Currier & Ives style images of that era don’t show horse manure piled along streets much like snow drifts. It doesn’t show empty parcels being stacked dozens of feet high with manure.
Manure smells. Manure breeds flies. Flies spread diseases. When it rained the manure problem got even worse.
Let’s not forget that horses are a big source of methane that — just like the dairy cows in the San Joaquin Valley being vilified by environmental perfectionists — contribute to the greenhouse gas effect that some believe will end civilization.
Statistically, you were more likely to get killed by a horse in New York City in 1900 than by an automobile in the Big Apple in 2022.
And let’s not forget horse urine splashing the streets 24/7.
There are issues with gas powered vehicles. No doubt about it. But we’re not going to hell in a hand basket.
Everything about a modern city helps most of us live longer and healthier: Wastewater treatment systems, storm drainage, closed treated water systems, and garbage collection are things we all take for granted but they play key roles in average longevity.
People born in the United States in 1900 could expect to live an average of 46.3 years. People born in 2022 can expect to live 76.1 years.
Another biggie is safer and healthier food.
If you’re an environmental perfectionist make sure you have a defibrillator handy before you continue reading: An adequate food supply that is safer and affordable as whole is thanks in a large part to genetic engineering and chemicals.
The list is endless. The things that we are being told we should loathe today would have been the envy of Americans a century ago.
So why do we bellyache so much?
The answer will flood the airwaves non-stop for the next 32 days.
We are pounded 24/7 not by political messages about what good someone is going to do but why their opponents are evil reincarnated.
And if the ad takes an aim at the incumbent, you are left believing we are teetering on the edge of widespread collapse of everything from our financial system, cities, safety net, schools, and military to our quality of life.
If you’re the incumbent you’re casting your opposition as a power crazed lunatic who makes Mr. Scrooge at the onset of “A Christmas Carol” look like Mother Teresa in comparison.
None of this implies that we don’t have problems.
But from the perspective of the last 2,000 plus years of civilization — not even a hiccup in the passage of time on a planet that is 4.543 billion years old — it clearly isn’t that bad.
Speaking of planets, exactly what corner of the world can 329.5 million of us — or even the 70,000 residents of Turlock — flee to where it is nirvana?
Mexico, where they just had 18 people slaughtered at a city hall?
Europe, where energy prices make it seem like they’re giving electricity, natural gas and gasoline away in the United States?
Africa, where genocide and famine routinely plague the continent?
China, where the government would have interceded long ago to “re-educate” social media posters in local and national elections and would have pulled the plug on anything they viewed as “decadent” on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok?
Even searching out corners of the United States to escape “California” because people are fed up with the Golden State can backfire spectacularly
The rush to Idaho, Texas, and other places has driven housing prices upward faster than in California and has amplified problems to the point escape states from California and its 39.7 million residents are causing long-time residents to bemoan their world is going to hell.
Years ago, several people “escaped” the Central Valley to move to Montana citing the then once-a-week bust of meth labs as one of the prime reasons. Today, Montana is more of a hotbed of meth production than California.
The dirty little secret from all of this is that we make panic decisions spending money and resources on “cures” for our ills that aren’t either needed or are remedies that are excessive given how overstated our “problems” are in reality.
We’ve never had it so good.
And that’s not manure.