TIL that Scientists in 1916 felt America was degenerating into a second rate nationality. They listed the Top 20 threats to USA: #8 America leads all nations in murders #12 Hearty eating without exercise #18 Remarkable cancer mortality increase

We are in some areas, in other areas we are not.

Some of the negatives I can think of are allowing interracial marriage and HA! I GOT YOU YOU CHICKEN FUCKER!

I agree in some aspects, things have gotten shittier, but many things are better.

I was born premature by 3 months yet lived becauses of our rapidly advanced medical fields. I was lucky enough to have middle income parents who despite many problems, raised me in a good home. Yet, I've struggled my entire life adapting to society's expectations while 'suffering' from ADD/anxiety/depression. I say I suffer in quotes because I've seen real suffering and was lucky enough to be born at a time when malnutrition, cholera, malaria, diphtheria etc are no longer primary causes of death.

Realistically, I'm safe in my country. Police brutality, abuses by the government, random street violence, etc are terrible, but are not affecting most people's lives every day in most western nations. Few actually deal with having to bribe cops, or see blatant injustices unless they see it in the media. Because most have not experienced how bad it is elsewhere or has been in the past, we fail to realize how far we've come and instead tend to assume a few bad apples and injustices are a sign of terrible times. As our hierarchy of needs moves upwards each generation, we are forced to deal with the new problems that are created. We're much more willing to be up in arms about costs of medical treatment but fail to appreciate that not long ago any medicine was more a luxury.

(Let me be clear: I'm not saying these are not issues, but people now are far more safe than ever before. It doesn't mean we shouldn't continue to try and improve, but sometimes it is healthy to be thankful for being born in a time when your kids can take over the counter meds instead of staying up all night praying they pull through.)

Now as our societies have advanced, we are faced with new problems. Instead of malnutrition, we are faced with obesity. We are able to explore mental health more and are slowly realizing just how complex our brains our. People over all of time have had to deal with mental illnesses, but the 'black dog' of depression for example has become more of a serious issue to individuals. Attributed in many ways due to our lifestyles become more sedentary, our careers more mentally stressful, greater exposure to the world outside of our locality and a heavy tendency for people to become more closed off from their neighbors and the difficulty of making deeper connections with people beyond friendly. Instead we see more people turning inwards and consistently choosing instant gratification over long term development of themselves. We are less likely to develop deep character traits and strengths that allowed previous generations to overcome and cope with the trials and dangers they often faced. We choose arrogance over humility because humility requires life to humble you.

TL;DR: Life in the first world especially (and increasing so even in the 3rd world) is vastly improved compared to previous generations. Not many people appreciate how good we have it now because we are so far removed from just how unjust the world has been to previous generations and still so to many people across the globe. Arrogance comes from a lack of being humbled by life. Sure, we have problems that need fixing but our problems pale in comparison to what most of humanity faced. Gays not being able to marry is not the same as systematic repression by force of a race, wars that killed millions instead of tens of thousands, diseases and permanent suffering or the loss of multiple children before they reached 10. Sure, there's work to be done to continuously try to improve ourselves, but each time we progress a step we assume the step has always existed and forget the tens of billions of previous generations that died who had no idea how good it would get.

/r/todayilearned Thread Parent Link - chroniclingamerica.loc.gov