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    Default 5 Reasons Why 2013 Was The Best Year In Human History




    I'm posting this here because I sense that a lot of people will counter-argue that the world is getting much, much worse than ever, if for no other reason than because the thread is being posted by a liberal who's linking to a ThinkProgress article. I mean, really, why else is everyone arming to the teeth if not in anticipation of the collapse of mankind due to the rending the thin veneer of human civility?

    But seriously, folk, there is a lot of compelling evidence in this article that the world of 2013 is better, overall, for the whole human race, than at any other point in human history:

    5 Reasons Why 2013 Was The Best Year In Human History | ThinkProgress

    Here are the five reasons the article provides, each one discussed in more detail within:

    1. Fewer people are dying young, and more are living longer.
    2. Fewer people suffer from extreme poverty, and the world is getting happier.
    3. War is becoming rarer and less deadly.
    4. Rates of murder and other violent crimes are in free-fall.
    5. There’s less racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination in the world.

    Given my lack of evidence to the contrary, I'm willing to accept the conclusions.

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    I would disagree partially on #3. Currently war is far less deadly because of the scope of current wars. We easily could have more conflicts ongoing though the nature of the weapons is less liable to create mass destruction with multiple casualties. I think Africa has well over a dozen small wars and Asia surpasses that. But I would not include 2013 as the best year because of the political turmoil we are currently involved with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hueytaxi View Post
    I would disagree partially on #3. Currently war is far less deadly because of the scope of current wars. We easily could have more conflicts ongoing though the nature of the weapons is less liable to create mass destruction with multiple casualties. I think Africa has well over a dozen small wars and Asia surpasses that
    I believe that's the point being made in the article, based on the research done by Stephen Pinker for his book The Better Angels of Our Nature. The number of battle deaths worldwide per 100,000 population has declined dramatically, from almost 300 per year in WWII to fewer than 1—that's fewer than one single battle deaths per 100,000 people in the entire world—just last year.

    Here's a chart just since 1946 demonstrating this:




    One thing I am struck by, looking at this: the number of deaths from interstate war, i.e., wars between different countries, has been practically zero in all but two of the last 25 years. Amazing, and I would say unprecedented in human history.

    And the number of wars may not have decreased as sharply as the number of battle deaths, but that is really part of the point being made: not only that wars are rarer because there are fewer, but also the wars that are occurring are much smaller in scope.

    This doesn't mean we will never, ever have another war between two major powers, but I think the chances of that are infinitesimally smaller than ever before. I think the 24/7 interconnectedness of our global society contributes to this. As long as we are in constant contact with people around the world, and we believe those on the other side are people like us, it makes it harder to want to obliterate them.

    Quote Originally Posted by hueytaxi View Post
    But I would not include 2013 as the best year because of the political turmoil we are currently involved with.
    Personally, I think the parochial political sniping (or turmoil, if you like) that we are experiencing in America at this moment amounts to hardly more than a "tempest in a teapot", when compared to the monumental gains the world has made in lower mortality rates, widespread diminishing of hunger and poverty, the marginalization of war, the falling rates of violent crime, and the great gains in basic civil equality in the past several decades. It's all a big deal to us, sure, because we live here and we are steeped in it. But in the great global scheme of things? Ehhh ... not so much.

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    While bombthrowers like Greenwit might call me an indoctrinated socialist, I think the global market economy is highly responsible for the waning of war. Now that countries are economically interdependent, it is no longer profitable for them to go to war with each other. Increased trade also means increased communications and diplomacy. It's the wealthy oligarchs that benefit most from uninterrupted global trade, and they're the most likely to have influence over their own country's politicians. So there's got to be a lot of pressure internally in most countries to solve disputes without firing guns.

    Global trade has many obvious downsides, but this is one of the upsides.

    If we could just get some international labor and pollution standards, it could be a great thing.
    Distribution of wealth is not in any way democratic. It is, in fact, tyrannical, in that a very select few own almost all of it, while most have little to no access. To have a country that prioritizes wealth over individual rights is the antithesis of democracy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCouga View Post
    While bombthrowers like Greenwit might call me an indoctrinated socialist, I think the global market economy is highly responsible for the waning of war. Now that countries are economically interdependent, it is no longer profitable for them to go to war with each other. Increased trade also means increased communications and diplomacy. It's the wealthy oligarchs that benefit most from uninterrupted global trade, and they're the most likely to have influence over their own country's politicians. So there's got to be a lot of pressure internally in most countries to solve disputes without firing guns.

    Global trade has many obvious downsides, but this is one of the upsides.

    If we could just get some international labor and pollution standards, it could be a great thing.
    Excellent point, and totally sensical. After all, the world is here for the elite to make money off of, and no one wants that to stop.

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    Considering technology and evolution I would imagine just about every year beats out the last in terms of 'best in human history'.

    Taken in clumps of 10 years or even a 100 years...it would be hard to argue, in terms of world wide 'best' for humanity we are not getting better and better at every 10 or 100 year clumps or even year by year.
    "And that is part of the larger pattern of the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force."

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCouga View Post
    While bombthrowers like Greenwit might call me an indoctrinated socialist, I think the global market economy is highly responsible for the waning of war. Now that countries are economically interdependent, it is no longer profitable for them to go to war with each other. Increased trade also means increased communications and diplomacy. It's the wealthy oligarchs that benefit most from uninterrupted global trade, and they're the most likely to have influence over their own country's politicians. So there's got to be a lot of pressure internally in most countries to solve disputes without firing guns.

    Global trade has many obvious downsides, but this is one of the upsides.

    If we could just get some international labor and pollution standards, it could be a great thing.
    Says the guy who has Hugo Chavez as his screen pic and considers him a hero. Despite all the reports of human rights violations and thuggery. Which you deny. And we won't even get into nationalization of industries because, after all, you support that! A laugh a minute. I don't have to call you anything. It's what you write.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasfh View Post
    Excellent point, and totally sensical. After all, the world is here for the elite to make money off of, and no one wants that to stop.
    The other major factor I think is the 24/7 media coupled with the internet media. There's rarely an atrocity that can be swept under the rug or dismissed as "over there." Information is far more easily disseminated. Documents can be scanned and viewed by the entire world, everyone even in the poor countries has cell phones and can take a video of brutality and send it to youtube, etc. It's far harder for governments, including the US government, to sponsor or prop up dictators and despots that start civil wars, etc., and yet keep it under the radar. There's a lot more of a negative reputational effect for engaging in this kind of behavior.

    If we sponsored Pinnochet today, the entire world would know about it within days, and video of his mass killings would be on the internet. It just wouldn't work.
    Distribution of wealth is not in any way democratic. It is, in fact, tyrannical, in that a very select few own almost all of it, while most have little to no access. To have a country that prioritizes wealth over individual rights is the antithesis of democracy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenwit View Post
    Says the guy who has Hugo Chavez as his screen pic and considers him a hero. Despite all the reports of human rights violations and thuggery. Which you deny. And we won't even get into nationalization of industries because, after all, you support that! A laugh a minute. I don't have to call you anything. It's what you write.
    I asked you a long time ago to find me one specific human rights violation, and you couldn't find me any.

    The rest of what you said is an irrelevant diatribe. But thanks for living up to your bombthrower reputation.
    Distribution of wealth is not in any way democratic. It is, in fact, tyrannical, in that a very select few own almost all of it, while most have little to no access. To have a country that prioritizes wealth over individual rights is the antithesis of democracy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenwit View Post
    Says the guy who has Hugo Chavez as his screen pic and considers him a hero. Despite all the reports of human rights violations and thuggery. Which you deny. And we won't even get into nationalization of industries because, after all, you support that! A laugh a minute. I don't have to call you anything. It's what you write.
    And also, the reason he's my avatar is more to mock/troll people like you than glorify him.

    He's a flawed politician, but he was not a dictator or a tyrant that justified the US trying to remove him from his democratically-elected position. Living conditions improved remarkably under him in Venezuela over the 14 years he was President. I don't have to adore him or even agree with most of what he does to note that. I'm just reciting already-known facts.

    Even the Venezuelan opposition has adopted about half of his policies into their own platform. He was an incredibly popular guy.
    Distribution of wealth is not in any way democratic. It is, in fact, tyrannical, in that a very select few own almost all of it, while most have little to no access. To have a country that prioritizes wealth over individual rights is the antithesis of democracy.

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    If you're indoctrinated (you brought it up here, not me), would I really consider this trolling?

    :-p

    Speaking of mockery, you're making a mockery of Chas's thread. A little respect please.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCouga View Post
    I asked you a long time ago to find me one specific human rights violation, and you couldn't find me any.

    The rest of what you said is an irrelevant diatribe. But thanks for living up to your bombthrower reputation.
    And I replied a long time ago. More than once. And in another month you'll do it again..........

    http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/204696.pdf

    VENEZUELA 2012 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT

    The principal human rights abuses reported during the year included corruption, inefficiency, and politicization in the judicial system; government actions to impede freedom of expression; and harsh and life-threatening prison conditions. The government did not respect judicial independence or permit judges to act according to the law without fear of retaliation. The government used the judiciary to intimidate and selectively prosecute political, union, business, and civil society leaders who were critical of government policies or actions. The government harassed and intimidated privately owned television stations, other media outlets, and journalists throughout the year, using threats, fines, property seizures, targeted regulations, and criminal investigations and prosecutions. Failure to provide for due process rights, physical safety, and humane conditions for inmates contributed to widespread violence, riots, injuries, and deaths in prisons.

    In addition, the following human rights problems were reported by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the media, and in some cases the government itself: unlawful killings, including summary killings by rogue police elements; torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; inadequate juvenile detention centers; arbitrary arrests and detentions; corruption and impunity in police forces; political prisoners; interference with privacy rights; corruption at all levels of government; threats against domestic NGOs; violence against women; anti-Semitism in the official media; trafficking in persons; violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity; and restrictions on workers’ right of association.
    Two words: Costa Rica.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenwit View Post
    And I replied a long time ago. More than once. And in another month you'll do it again..........

    http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/204696.pdf

    VENEZUELA 2012 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT

    The principal human rights abuses reported during the year included corruption, inefficiency, and politicization in the judicial system; government actions to impede freedom of expression; and harsh and life-threatening prison conditions. The government did not respect judicial independence or permit judges to act according to the law without fear of retaliation. The government used the judiciary to intimidate and selectively prosecute political, union, business, and civil society leaders who were critical of government policies or actions. The government harassed and intimidated privately owned television stations, other media outlets, and journalists throughout the year, using threats, fines, property seizures, targeted regulations, and criminal investigations and prosecutions. Failure to provide for due process rights, physical safety, and humane conditions for inmates contributed to widespread violence, riots, injuries, and deaths in prisons.

    In addition, the following human rights problems were reported by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the media, and in some cases the government itself: unlawful killings, including summary killings by rogue police elements; torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; inadequate juvenile detention centers; arbitrary arrests and detentions; corruption and impunity in police forces; political prisoners; interference with privacy rights; corruption at all levels of government; threats against domestic NGOs; violence against women; anti-Semitism in the official media; trafficking in persons; violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity; and restrictions on workers’ right of association.
    There's a reason why I asked you to provide specifics.

    Honestly, more than half of those could be said about any government, including ours--espeically during the Bush Administration. I've bolded the ones that apply to the United States as well.

    The ones I haven't bolded are typical of emerging governments...remember, Venezuela was ruled by fascists just 20 years ago. It takes a while to build a strong democratic system. Chavez isn't any more responsible for rogue elements of the police force than Bush was for American police brutality.

    Also, it's well documented that the "threats" against media were way overblown. The private media in Venezuela is very anti-Chavez, and it still is. A few stations were calling for his assasination on air. If a TV station called for the assasination of the President in this country, you would not be surprised to see it shut down.

    Like I said, I'd like to see some specific evidence of human rights violations by the Chavez administration itself, rathern than just vague accusations against "rogue elements" of the government and linking normal civic misbehavior to Chavez. 90% of that list is just listing problems in Venezuelan society that would still be occurring no matter who was in charge.
    Last edited by TheCouga; 12-16-2013 at 02:44 PM.
    Distribution of wealth is not in any way democratic. It is, in fact, tyrannical, in that a very select few own almost all of it, while most have little to no access. To have a country that prioritizes wealth over individual rights is the antithesis of democracy.

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    International labor standards?

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    And you wonder why I call you indoctrinated. The report itself is 50 pages and cites specific cases. The are many more I could site outside the state department but I'm not wasting my time.
    Last edited by Greenwit; 12-16-2013 at 02:58 PM.
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    The man with the 19th Century porn 'stache has a point. Advancing technology does make the world a better place over time. I think the difference between today and a few decades ago, versus forty years ago versus the same few decades before that, lies in the dramatic downward changes in war, violent crime and poverty especially, which could have been argued to be going in the wrong direction in the 70s. But the positive changes in these five areas, specifically, have been much, much greater recently than in any period of time before it.

    I think this serves to give lie to any assertion that might be made by the current generation of older folks (among which I count myself) that "the world today is going to hell in a hand basket". That claim is the conceit of every old timer generation, one I have certainly heard said throughout my life, but it is an especially wrong assertion today. If anything, things are actually moving closer to heaven than to hell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenwit View Post
    And you wonder why I call you indoctrinated. The report itself is 50 pages and cites specific cases. The are many more I could site outside the state department but I'm not wasting my time.
    Did you read your own report?

    There's examples of human rights violations in there, but they are all examples of individual corruption or rogue elements of the government. None of them are really tied to Chavez. The events that are tied to Chavez are simply examples of overtly political behavior--not human rights violations, or if they are, they are borderline at best. No one's denying that his government acts in an overly politicized fashion. But when evaluating someone's merits as a President, you have to look at the big picture, and weigh the downsides with this:



    That massive drop in poverty and infant mortality and increase in literacy are people gaining human rights for the first time. If you ask me, that outweighs the isolated incidents mentioned in your report--to a very significant degree.
    Distribution of wealth is not in any way democratic. It is, in fact, tyrannical, in that a very select few own almost all of it, while most have little to no access. To have a country that prioritizes wealth over individual rights is the antithesis of democracy.

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    Like Obama doesn't know anything that happens in his administration but will gladly take credit for anything good that could possibly be tied to him. What a coincidence! Just as you did yourself when you comically credited the market gains to Obama in another thread. BTW did you see what the market is doing today? And why.

    And now I see you're changing the subject away from human rights violations.....wonder why. To economic matters. You really want to discuss the food shortages, the constant power blackouts in this oil rich country and..... didn't we have this conversation before? You seem to have a short memory. BTW, did the US really kill Hugo like your buddy Maduro says he can prove. You really pick winners Coug!
    Last edited by Greenwit; 12-16-2013 at 03:49 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenwit View Post
    Like Obama doesn't know anything that happens in his administration but will gladly take credit for anything good that could possibly be tied to him. What a coincidence! Just as you did yourself when you comically credited the market gains to Obama in another thread. BTW did you see what the market is doing today? And why.

    And now I see you're changing the subject away from human rights violations.....wonder why. To economic matters. You really want to discuss the food shortages, the constant power blackouts in this oil rich country and..... didn't we have this conversation before? You seem to have a short memory. BTW, did the US really kill Hugo like your buddy Maduro says he can prove. You really pick winners Coug!
    Listen, you're a troll, a bombthrower, and you're sidetracking this thread. I'm sorry to chas and everyone else for allowing myself to be baited in by your trolling. I'm finished here...there will be better places to discuss this.
    Distribution of wealth is not in any way democratic. It is, in fact, tyrannical, in that a very select few own almost all of it, while most have little to no access. To have a country that prioritizes wealth over individual rights is the antithesis of democracy.

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    You really do owe Chas an apology. You sidetracked the thread by throwing an unprovoked spitball at me...... and I hadn't even been participating in this thread. Then you bragged that you changed your screen pic to troll me. And now you call me the troll. Whatever.
    Last edited by Greenwit; 12-16-2013 at 06:14 PM.
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    "And that is part of the larger pattern of the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force."

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    Now there's something we can all agree upon...
    Distribution of wealth is not in any way democratic. It is, in fact, tyrannical, in that a very select few own almost all of it, while most have little to no access. To have a country that prioritizes wealth over individual rights is the antithesis of democracy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chasfh View Post
    The man with the 19th Century porn 'stache has a point. Advancing technology does make the world a better place over time. I think the difference between today and a few decades ago, versus forty years ago versus the same few decades before that, lies in the dramatic downward changes in war, violent crime and poverty especially, which could have been argued to be going in the wrong direction in the 70s. But the positive changes in these five areas, specifically, have been much, much greater recently than in any period of time before it.

    I think this serves to give lie to any assertion that might be made by the current generation of older folks (among which I count myself) that "the world today is going to hell in a hand basket". That claim is the conceit of every old timer generation, one I have certainly heard said throughout my life, but it is an especially wrong assertion today. If anything, things are actually moving closer to heaven than to hell.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenwit View Post
    Says the guy who has Hugo Chavez as his screen pic and considers him a hero. Despite all the reports of human rights violations and thuggery. Which you deny. And we won't even get into nationalization of industries because, after all, you support that! A laugh a minute. I don't have to call you anything. It's what you write.
    totally didn't even address the main point he said. well done

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    Default 6 Reasons Why 2013 was a Bad Year for POTUS

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    Yikes. He might not get reelected now.
    It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. -Carl Sagan http://th07.deviantart.net/fs70/PRE/...yx-d41sg12.png

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    You don't like Obama?

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    Quote Originally Posted by John_Brian_K View Post
    Considering technology and evolution I would imagine just about every year beats out the last in terms of 'best in human history'.

    Taken in clumps of 10 years or even a 100 years...it would be hard to argue, in terms of world wide 'best' for humanity we are not getting better and better at every 10 or 100 year clumps or even year by year.
    yes, this is why I don't worry about doomsayers warning us about economic chaos and worldwide devastation. There will be hard times, but the world always manages to move forward in the long run.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John_Brian_K View Post
    Considering technology and evolution I would imagine just about every year beats out the last in terms of 'best in human history'.

    Taken in clumps of 10 years or even a 100 years...it would be hard to argue, in terms of world wide 'best' for humanity we are not getting better and better at every 10 or 100 year clumps or even year by year.
    1929-1946 just called to say hello!

    (I wouldn't be so sanguine that things can't still go sideways for fairly extended periods)
    Last edited by Gehringer_2; 12-21-2013 at 10:27 AM.
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    Since this is a question of history…you need SME's who are eminent historians to judge it. Otherwise it will be subject to confirmation bias suited to the political whims of those who are alive today.

    If one were a believing Christian…you could not say any year besides 33AD

    If one were to judge things in terms of human progress 1945 might be at the top of the list, atomic technology, the UN, the end of the Holocaust, the rape of East Asia by the Japanese, the beginning of the end of European imperialism in the 3rd World. Meanwhile, millions upon millions died that year.

    So what are the criteria? Numbers of people in subsistence? Numbers murdered by their fellow men? Is human liberty part of the equation? Is it all about the rights of members of select PC clubs to abuse people who don't share their beliefs?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ROMAD1 View Post
    Since this is a question of history…you need SME's who are eminent historians to judge it. Otherwise it will be subject to confirmation bias suited to the political whims of those who are alive today.

    If one were a believing Christian…you could not say any year besides 33AD

    If one were to judge things in terms of human progress 1945 might be at the top of the list, atomic technology, the UN, the end of the Holocaust, the rape of East Asia by the Japanese, the beginning of the end of European imperialism in the 3rd World. Meanwhile, millions upon millions died that year.

    So what are the criteria? Numbers of people in subsistence? Numbers murdered by their fellow men? Is human liberty part of the equation? Is it all about the rights of members of select PC clubs to abuse people who don't share their beliefs?
    So I can't speak to the specifics of any one year, but I think you make a great point. I like the list in what Chas posted, but I think if there are hugely monumental things that happened, then those should also count for something.
    Last edited by pfife; 12-21-2013 at 11:21 AM.

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    for me, personally, the criteria is life vs death. Probably down to the net numbers. The problem is, you can't really measure lives saved. Like you said, millions upon millions died, but the Holocaust was ended. Is it known how many people would have perished hat the Holocaust not ended then, but say, 2, 3, 5 years later? How many lives does "killing one of the most evil men in the history of the world" count for?

    There are also a lot of criteria to take into account, war, disease, famine, medicine, etc - it seems almost impossible to count. I tend to weight all of these things much more than some measure of happiness.
    Last edited by pfife; 12-21-2013 at 11:26 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DetroitCity313 View Post
    You don't like Obama?
    Never met the man so no decision yet. But the question is not relevant to the discourse.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ROMAD1 View Post
    Since this is a question of history…you need SME's who are eminent historians to judge it. Otherwise it will be subject to confirmation bias suited to the political whims of those who are alive today.

    If one were a believing Christian…you could not say any year besides 33AD

    If one were to judge things in terms of human progress 1945 might be at the top of the list, atomic technology, the UN, the end of the Holocaust, the rape of East Asia by the Japanese, the beginning of the end of European imperialism in the 3rd World. Meanwhile, millions upon millions died that year.

    So what are the criteria? Numbers of people in subsistence? Numbers murdered by their fellow men? Is human liberty part of the equation? Is it all about the rights of members of select PC clubs to abuse people who don't share their beliefs?
    If we are going to count African deaths on a par with Western and European deaths, things don't look nearly so rosy. Between AIDS, Eritrea,Rwanda, Chad, Sudan, CAR, and expansion of the Sahara, the last 30 years have been pretty much one continual Holocaust for the African Continent.
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    1989 was a damn good year. It stands up there with 1848, 1776, in terms of benchmarks of human liberty. Pop music wasn't particularly good in that year though. I volunteered for a month long deployment to Ft. Irwin in the high California desert just to get away from the song "Love Shack".
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    So,

    The last time a human laid eyes on this was 1972. Tell me how Human history is going well when we've stopped reaching out as a species toward the heavens.

    'Whatever happens, we have got
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