Summary: It’s the simple things that provide a mirror in which we can see ourselves, and the roots of America’s problems. Such as this graph showing estimates of US GDP for Q1 2015 — getting more accurate with each revision.
This graph shows estimates of GDP for Q1 2015 made by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. After the quarter ended, they said it was a bad quarter — with near-zero growth. In May they said it terrible, with a serious drop. It looked better with each of the following four revisions — ending as a strong quarter.
This is a commonplace. As in Q1 2015, sometimes we were depressed by the bad news — only a later learning that we had a great time. We have had horrible quarters, which enjoyed because the numbers were good — only later learning that we had suffered.
This is a trivial example of modern America. We learn how we feel from watching the media. We learn what to think. What our values are. When the media begins new campaign, we change ourselves to meet the new narrative.
Older men used to routinely marry teenage girls. Now we’re told that is pedophilia. Men used to casually approach girls; now that is “creepy.” What is strange is not that our values have changed, but that many have forgotten that they were once different.
The media tells us that the entire world has warmed, so people tells stories of the amazing warming in their town since 1950 — even those that have had little or none (many areas have had warming that is 1/5 the range in temps since then — see the record for your area here).
A second lesson from this graph
This graph shows another aspect of modern America. Many people look at it and mock or condemn the BEA. Which is daft. The US economy is vast, volatile, and constantly evolving. Tracking its short-term activity is difficult but feasible. All it takes is money. But there are no “street bandits”– lobbyists — buying Congressional support for BEA funding. For decades heard people complaining about the accuracy of US economic data. I’ve asked, but never found a single complainer who had asked his representative for increased BEA funding.
This is so America. We complain about free news (news from services to which they don’t subscribe). We complain about public infrastructures and services while demanding tax cuts. We whine that our political system isn’t what our awesomeness deserves, while sitting on our butts – contributing neither money nor work to find and support good candidates.
This is not the behavior of a great people. We were great once, however (not angels; that’s a rank for the dead) and can be again. Now we are great only in our pretensions.
For More Information
For Holiday shopping ideas see my recommended books and films at Amazon.
- Look in the mirror at America and see the world brotherhood.
- Are government workers America’s dumbest people?
- The unspoken issue of the election: America’s descent into darkness.
- Review of “The Force Awakens”: a film for Boomers. It’s about us.
The best book showing what we have become, and why.
Closing of the American Mind by Allen Bloom. From the publisher …
” In 1987, eminent political philosopher Allan Bloom published The Closing of the American Mind, an appraisal of contemporary America that “hits with the approximate force and effect of electroshock therapy” (The New York Times) and has not only been vindicated, but has also become more urgent today. In clear, spirited prose, Bloom argues that the social and political crises of contemporary America are part of a larger intellectual crisis: the result of a dangerous narrowing of curiosity and exploration by America’s elites — especially those in our universities.”