I decided to start this blog because I believe that the world’s headed in the right direction. For most of my life I have been quite skeptical of the idea of “progess.” Growing up in postmodern, deconstructionist times, I came to believe that the US was racist, imperialist and just downright wrong. I started to have a brighter view of our times when the USSR collapsed and the Cold War ended. The economic expansion of the 90s gave me further reason for optimism. When 9/11 happened I thought the US overreacted. The mood in the US seemed dour and pessimistic, but I thought it absurd the the most powerful nation of all time got its knickers in a twist over 19 extremists with box cutters.
Steven Pinker’s book The Better Angels of Our Nature brought my latent optimism to full flower. My intuition, I thought, was right–things are much better than they appear. In this blog I hope to explore the data and evidence that shows how the world’s getting safer, freer and less poor. That said, I promise to do regular sanity checks and look at the “pessimists” ideas, arguments and data. And I promise to do my best to “follow the data,” wherever it leads, especially when it causes me to rethink my premises. I hope you enjoy it. ~Henry Edwards