It seems every day I pick up the paper and read about how or why we are all reaching some kind of Armageddon due to our modern lifestyles. Whether it is somebody insisting that pesticides are killing us, to the idiotic and baseless anti-inoculation crowd, to the global warming kooks telling us that skin cancer will wipe us all out, to the anti-Genetically modified foods bunch, to the organic foods bunch, to the “alternative medicine” crowd and on and on and on.
Why do people feel this need to distrust technology? Why in light of the obvious fact that we in Canada are healthier than we ever have been do people feel compelled to jump on the fear bandwagon? People are afraid of modern medicine. People fear any chemical that they can’t pronounce. People are afraid of development and expansion.
One of the easiest stats to accurately trace is life expectancy in developed nations as we are prone to keeping good records of deaths. As of last January, the average life expectancy in Canada was 80.4 years.
I am having trouble finding the historical data for Canada, but the USA is similar. In 1900 life expectancy was 48.23 years. In 1950 life expectancy was 66.31 years.
Is the trend clear enough for anti-development kooks yet? It appears not. Despite all the nasty pollutants and evil modern medicines, we are living vastly longer than we had only 100 years ago.
When I hear some idiot telling me that their herbal remedy or whatnot is good as people have been using it for hundreds or thousands of years, I need only ask how long people expected to live only a hundred years ago. No need to go back thousands when the expectancy was about 30 years.
The eco-nuts claim our lifestyles are unhealthy due to development. Well by that logic, undeveloped regions of Africa should enjoy blissful health should they not? Alas, in those parts of Africa they are struggling to live as long as 40.
No we should not blindly accept any technological advancement and assume it is good. No we need not get rid of every old remedy that has been out there for a long time.
We do need to end the fear-mongering though. The industrial revolution, capitalism and development have been the best thing to ever happen to mankind. One need only look at the life expectancies of undeveloped or non-capitalist societies in order to see that.
Give me my chemical based medicines, pesticide laden foods, GM foods, vaccinations and modern pollution of the air. I want to see 100 years of age and with the direction life-expectancies are going I stand a reasonable chance of that.