If you’re unable or unwilling to accept the apparent cognitive dissonance of being both deeply concerned about the present and optimistic about the future, pay attention to David Rothkopf. David is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the CEO/Editor of the FP Group, which publishes Foreign Policy magazine. He recently tweeted sentiments like this:
My tears are for John Glenn but also for all of us and how different this world is from the one they risked their lives trying to make.
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) December 8, 2016
Looks like Trump doesn’t want to shut down EPA or DoE but rather the environment itself.
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) December 13, 2016
Yet amidst that gloominess he also wrote an essay for Foreign Policy called “The Case for Optimism.” In a year that brought the election to the most powerful office in the world a man that Rothkopf calls an “idiot” and a “clown-villain” with a foreign policy team he labels “mind-bogglingly terrible,” Rothkopf’s essay begins, “The arc of history bends toward progress—and 2016 was no different.”
Rothkopf cites evidence showing a longterm and ongoing global spread of peace, health, education, and prosperity. He argues that the evidence of history shows that, despite the viciousness of our current (and yet-to-come) obstacles, the world will continue to improve, and improve faster:
Indeed, when you consider that living in one global community and in one single cultural ecosystem promises better understanding of one another, ubiquitous sensing, unlimited data storage, big-data analytics, and the ever-increasing capacity to connect the world’s best and most creative minds, the prospect of seeing the world in detail as it is and as it might be seems possible for the very first time. Optimism is not outlandish—it is required. Realism equals optimism.
We can be scared without being despondent. We can fight without anticipating defeat. And we can believe that things getting worse never precludes them getting better.