Jay Evensen: Here's something to mull for Thanksgiving — life in U.S. is far better than in the past

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  • Llew40 Sandy, UT
    Nov. 17, 2017 3:33 p.m.

    Life today is indeed better for everyone, until you look at the state of families or rather lack of family formation. Being single, unmarried with no children, free to work on Thanksgiving (most have no choice) free of any family responsibiliy, free to spend your paycheck entirely on yourself, shows just how far we've come as a society.

  • Utah Girl Chronicles Eagle Mountain, UT
    Nov. 17, 2017 12:04 p.m.

    Take what Jay says and then add how precipitously the world's perception of the USA has recently fallen. We can beat our breasts all we want and say how great things are.

  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    Nov. 17, 2017 10:18 a.m.

    To "marxist" and again, even if a family encounters disaster 2 paychecks from now they are still better off now than they were before.

    For example, you can claim disability for depression and get paid by the government for that. You can get SNAP benefits to buy your dog lobster tails to eat. You get government paying for your health insurance. You get unemployment pay. You can get government paid job training. You can get subsidized housing benefits. You get a government paid for cell phone.

    Once you look at all of the benefits you get, you quickly realize you can get nearly a middle class lifestyle paid for by the government. At no other time in US history could that happen.

    To "NoNamesAccepted" tell us how great it is for most children to be born out of wedlock. Tell us how good it is to have rising rates of men that do no go to college.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Nov. 17, 2017 8:19 a.m.

    What a funny thread of responses.

    Everybody defining for everyone else how different is good or bad. Again with nothing other than their own little world to judge, and yes your religion, bible, scriptures counts as your own little world.

    Indoor plumbing makes life so much easier..good or bad?

    I would offer if it improves the human condition in terms of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness it probably falls in the good category.

    But, oh my that is basically the definition of a progressive idea.

    Therein comes the debate, does it improve the human condition?

  • Freiheit Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 17, 2017 7:43 a.m.

    @at long last "There was an obvious social contract to behave civilly toward others and do things for the benefit of the community that is non-existent today."
    Yes indeedy . . . as long as those pesky black people knew their place and stayed in it and if they didn't there were those 4,000+ lynchings to remind them, and kids as young as five could work in mines and mills, and women had neither voice nor vote nor right to their own property. We needn't mention native Americans or Mexicans or most immigrants because they don't matter anyway. Yep, it was a really great and civil paradise!

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 16, 2017 5:34 p.m.

    But the average family is still only a couple of pay checks away from disaster. All of the technical innovation of capitalism, and it does it well, has not changed that fact.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Nov. 16, 2017 4:46 p.m.

    I disagree with those who think we are only better off materially.

    With the exception of the RKBA and elective abortion (which denies any rights to the child) individual rights enjoy greater legal respect than at any time in history. The near term will tell whether thst remains true or whether religious expression in public must be sacrificed on the alter of affirming all things homosexual.

    Unpopular or minority religious practice is protected better than ever before. Missionaries of all denominations are free to preach without fear of arrest.

    We have more information--secular and sacred--more easily available to more people than at any point in history.

    And we are able to marshall resources to help the poor and needy like never before.

    Social discord has always existed. Different regions always disagreed. New York claim chowder was an insulting term coined by New Englanders.

    Difficulty in transportation, and limits in communication largely kept these differences at bay for a long time, Civil and Utah wars as notable exceptions. Modern travel and low cost ubiquitous communications have simple exposed what was always present.

    It is the best time to live.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 16, 2017 3:12 p.m.

    Materially we are better.

    The problem is that spiritually we are far worse than ever. Just look at Thanksgiving, and what it has become. It is nothing more than a launching point for shopping. It is nothing like it was originally intended to be. Just look at how much our society is concerned about stuff rather than how people were concerned with moral character.

  • liberal larry Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 16, 2017 12:32 p.m.

    By most measures things are much better than in the past. We have taken the lead out of gasoline, medicine takes care of most ills, and attitudes towards race, and gender identity have greatly improved !

    The increase in population represents the biggest decline in quality of life. No more deserted public beaches, national parks will soon require reservations, and traffic has become a way of life even in rural areas.

    Some things are better, some things have gotten worse!

  • at long last. . . Kirksville , MO
    Nov. 16, 2017 11:47 a.m.

    It is obvious that materially things are tremendously better than decades ago. That is unarguable. However, the quality of life has suffered greatly over the decades since I grew up without TV and indoor plumbing, wearing shirts made out of feedsacks and eating bologna sandwiches at school during lunchtime. Coal burning stoves in the wintertime, no air conditioning during the summer.

    Culturally we were fairly uniform in our core beliefs and behaviors. Folks didn't need to lock their doors in those times. There was an obvious social contract to behave civilly toward others and do things for the benefit of the community that is non-existent today. Today it is all about getting 'yours' and screw other folks. We were unified as a country and even the politicians back then did most things for the benefit of the country and not for their political party.

    Except for material well-being, this country has gone to seed in most every way imaginable. And - it is speeding up. If you haven't lived through it, then you don't recognize the losses involved.

  • Husker2 Millbrook, AL
    Nov. 16, 2017 10:24 a.m.

    Great article. The quality of life in America has improved dramatically over the decades and continues to get better. I remember when it was a big deal that a family on our block got a microwave or cable TV. We indeed have much to be thankful for.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Nov. 16, 2017 9:56 a.m.

    Amen and amen. Thank you, Jay.

    Even 75 years ago, a lot of rural areas did not have electricity or indoor plumbing. Some people alive today childhoods were spent relieving themselves in an outhouse and bathing in a washtub in front of the wood burning stove in the kitchen.

    Homes are larger and more comfortable than ever.

    Though history books will tell us that penicillin was invented in 1928, it wasn't until after WWII, 1945, that it started being widely used. And then, the infrequently but deadly allergic reactions were not well understood.

    Violent crime is one-half what it was during its peak in the wonderful 80s and 90s. As Jay points out, we're going back to the early 60s or sooner--pre sexual/cultural revolution--to get lower crime rates than today.

    Fresh fruits, vegetables, and safely handled and refrigerated meats are available year round at relatively low costs.

    Cars are safer and more comfortable than ever.

    Poverty stricken children in the US have Internet access to more information than the richest men did 100 years ago.

    But the media reports disproportionately on bad news and the 24/7 news cycle convinces us things are bad and dangerous when they are not.