I think about this quite a bit, and I alternate between two views on this question. My default position on just about any issue is unblinkered realism, since it is best to understand the reality of any situation to know how to deal with it in the best possible way. At least, most of the time. This is Analytical Me.
But I also know that sometimes, unblinkered realism kills motivation and may lead to systemic sadness and depression. Motivation -- or the ability to ignore the odds and continue pushing that boulder up that hill -- can be more important than a realistic understanding of the world around us. Having something to believe in is very, very important. Like, say, the future. This is Positive Me.
It has taken me several decades to learn that both are valid ways of looking at the world around us. Both are needed. But you have to be smart about which to use when.
Returning to Vox, he also links to Fred Reed who is blunt and unsparing in the oddly-titled "Ronald McDonald or Lucretia Borgia?: In the Long Run, We Are all Dead":
To a practicing curmudgeon, the presidential contest is amusing but unimportant. Hillary will win, whether she wins or not. She is just the wave front of deep and fast-flowing currents of decay that cannot be stopped. Trump may try, but he cannot succeed. We live in a dying culture and, soon, a diminished country. It cannot be saved.Analytical Me cannot argue with any of that. But Positive Me refuses to accept the end.
Not true? Add up the bits and pieces. We laugh in horror, some of us, primarily the older, at the decline of schooling, the courses like Batman and the Struggle for Gender Equity. Comic, yes. Yet in aggregate these constitute an academic and civilizational collapse both profound and irreversible. Enstupidation does not happen in a healthy country. Who even wants to reverse this onrushing night? Not the universities, nor the teachers unions, nor a professoriat gone as daft as the “students,” nor the banks battening on student loans.
It is over. Hillary may start wars in her six months before going into a sanatorium. Trump may build walls. But the rot will go on. Tell me why it won’t.
I have three kids. Boys. One is nearly 30, married with a beautiful baby girl, and he's doing pretty well, although he'd like a better employment situation. Still, he's smart, he works hard, he's very personable, and in the big picture, he'll be all right. The other two are still in high school, both very smart and with various talents that should prepare them well for their life ahead, if they leverage them and work hard.
America used to be a place where opportunity waited for millions. That has changed; now there is still opportunity for some, but not nearly enough for all of the kids who go to college and enter the workforce. If there were, we would not have the stagnant wages and a record low number of people in the workforce that we have today.
That big picture impacts everybody by changing the odds. I'd prefer that we not stack the deck against my kids, but we seem intent on doing that. This makes it personal for me; i.e., advocate for Obamacare, and you're making it harder for my kids to get jobs. It's not just a bunch of remote policy debates that only impact others.
I have a really hard time accepting that the great country I grew up in is destroying itself from the inside, all because of Leftist politics. My kids, and grandkids now and in the future, deserve better.