Friday, January 1, 2010

The Aughts Weren't So Bad

Bryan Caplan has put to words a feeling I've had since reading Time's awful cover story about the aughts being the decade from hell.
When Michael Barone inventoried the top scares of the decade, I kept thinking, "Is that all you've got?" I'll grant that the Naughts were scarier than the Nineties; the 1991 collapse of the USSR was like waking up from a nightmare. But the Naughts were easily less scary than the eight other decades of the last hundred years. The 1910s? WWI and Bolshevism. The Twenties? Bolshevism and Depression. The Thirties and Forties: Nazism, Stalinism, Depression, and WWII. The Fifties through the Eighties: Global communism and nuclear war.

We shouldn't be whining about how hard the last ten years were. We should be breathing a sigh of relief that we did not live in more interesting times.
Excepting the nineties, the twentieth century was the century from hell, thanks to the twin bloodbath regimes of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. The world has never again seen, thank god, such an enormity of evil. Al-Queda is like a juvenile delinquent next to their great wickedness.