According to a new Gallup poll, the world in general is more worried, stressed—and consequently unhappy-- than ever before. Despite the fact that, at least until very recently, life expectancies have risen to their highest ever levels globally, and many hundreds of millions—perhaps billions-- of people have escaped poverty. I can’t confidently speak for people in far-ranging parts of the globe to which I have never travelled, but that clearly seems to be the case in the United States.
Call it “Malaise 2.0,” but it’s worse than that of which former President Jimmy Carter spoke. There is more anger, more sadness, more hurt, and less hope. How did we get here? There are many reasons, most of which are related.
According to Gallup’s latest annual survey of adults in 122 countries and areas, the second year of the pandemic was even tougher on people than the first, pushing Gallup's Negative Experience Index to yet another new high of 33 in 2021. Professed levels of stress, worry and sadness all ticked upward in 2021 and set new records. Worse yet, this rise in negative experiences came in tandem with a decline in positive experiences, leaving experts and policymakers scrambling to understand why the world is on this course.
I would submit that experts and policymakers are in large part responsible for the pain. That is undoubtedly true in America, where just a few short years ago we experienced historically low unemployment, historically high stock market values, low inflation, high rates of consumer confidence…and were energy independent.
Then came the plandemic. And Dr. Fauci, lockdowns, social distancing, economic devastation, mask and vaccine mandates…and a staggering number of “excess deaths.”
And mail-in voting.
And then came the Biden administration. And with it, policies guaranteed to eviscerate our energy independence and therefore our economy. And our freedom of speech. And our Second Amendment rights. And our military. And the difference between males and females. And the ties that have historically bound us together as a people and a nation. And our confidence.
But it is not just COVID-1984 and the Biden administration that are to blame. “Progressives’” incessant, decades-long assault on all things Americans have traditionally held dear has had a devastating effect on the country, its institutions, and its citizens. They have fomented grievances, decried competence and discipline as “ableism,” defended crime, and championed sloth. They have largely stripped the nation of its founding values, its history, its borders, its belief in a manifest destiny, and its manhood. And they have defined depravity down.
John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People.” The rest of the founders believed this, too. And now we have a significant proportion of our population that thinks the wholesale killing of babies in the womb is moral and that those who disagree are monsters. And that even those who simply want the people in the various states to have the right to determine whether unfettered abortion should be legal where they live must be targeted for harassment. We have biological men in women’s bathrooms, locker rooms and prisons. And on their sports teams. In fact, many prominent people can no longer say what a woman is. Afraid to be mocked, cancelled, fired or assaulted, many of us will no longer state obvious truths.
It is little wonder Americans are worrying more, are sadder and more stressed.
There is less gratitude and more entitlement, less connection to the Earth and more connection to antisocial media, less living in reality and more living in “virtual reality.” Less God, and more government.
We should be worried. The question is: what are we going to do about it?