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

4 thoughts on “About

  1. We “won the war on terror in the end, and it was a lopsided victory.” Really? Given the fact that the war in Afghanistan has emphatically not been the victory it appeared to be at first, that huge chunks of Iraq and Syria are now controlled by ISIL (including Mosul, Iraq’s second city), and of Yemen by al Qaeda, that al Qaeda is now a force to be reckoned with in Egypt, and also given the steady stream of lone wolf terrorist attacks in Australia, Europe and North America, on what basis do you make such a claim?


  2. What does “We ‘won’ the War on Terror” mean?” To me it means we stopped making the War on Terror the centerpiece of our foreign policy. You are right to point out that there have been many recent “victories” for terrorists. Should fighting these terrorists be the main focus of our foreign policy? I think not. Issues with Russia and China, let alone important allies in the EU and around the world, deserve more attention. The Bush Administration’s hyperfocus on terrorism, especially the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, did more damage than good to the US and especially the countries invaded.


  3. Originally, the first paragraph of “About” ended with the following sentence: “Regardless, we “won” the war on terror in the end, and it was a lopsided victory”. Given the recent success of ISIL and the fall of the government of Yemen, I recognized my claim to be overstated and a bit flip, so I deleted the last sentence of the paragraph.


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