I was in quite a pessimistic mood yesterday, so I apologize.
Sure, those institutions could be worse, or non existent, and we should be amazed that a bunch of talking monkeys have kept it going this long.
But, I am afraid some civil pessimism is needed for any of those institutions. Without that pessimism, as you'd say, what keeps it in check? Education is bad. We spend over $6,000 a student, a year, on average - and I think it's only getting worse. College costs a fortune, and by my accounts of my attendance, undergraduate classes are a lot like 13th grade. Kids are seemingly more and more immature, refusing to grow up.
The government, and it's spending, comprise 40% of the economy. We have trillions of dollars in debt, and the average American's share of that debt is around $36,000 IIRC. A year or so ago we spent nearly a trillion dollars for economic stimulus, and every state but South Dakota IIRC lost jobs by the thousands. What was the point?
We're still in a war in Iraq, that had nothing to do with 9/11. We're still in Afghanistan, as well. Every modern president has sent troops somewhere, to some part of the world.
The government has many, many, many things wrong with it. Things that are obviously wrong, that could be remedied.
The electorate is bad because they fall prey to the polarization of the issues and parties that the mass media exploit. They want you to be divided, to be a shallow lefty or righty, Democrat or Republican. Watching cable news will make you want to stab yourself in the eye. How can you look at someone like Sean Hannity, and what he says, and what's deemed "news" by any of these media titans - and not think that's a problem?
Why does education never come up as an issue to be discussed in politics? Public, compulsory education was born out of questionable motives in this country, and by just a simple literacy measure, it has failed - with 12 years of education mandatory. There is no school choice, and parents never really fight for it. Public education, like any government job, is almost a job you can't lose. Teacher's unions make it very hard to get fired, and they are very resistant to change from the status quo.
But how is that good for children? Profit as a motive, and the only motive, and that "everyone's gotta eat" mentality - plus apathy, have let the education system get to where it is unchecked. It has let government grow to outrageous levels and chip away at our liberties. Book sales are horrible, partly because some people can't read, but mostly because people don't have the attention span or imagination for it anymore. I go to a library or Barnes and Noble, and the three people in there are looking at Twilight, or celebrity gossip.
Oh, and I guess I forgot about our economy, but it's unsustainable. It's way too dependent on fossil fuels, and useless overabundance of products. There's a billion starbucks, there's months and months of inventory of (crappy) GM vehicles. Speaking of GM, and Chrysler, what kind of capitalist economy has any business that is "too big to fail"? How does that work? What happened to creative destruction? And what tax payer WANTED to spend their children's money to bail out a crappy car company - or two. Or a bunch of banks? Speaking of the banks, a lot of former executives either got out nicely, or they now work in Obama's administration. Kind of peculiar. We also have tax cheats dictating tax policy. Tax policy is another thing that kills our economy.
So there's my reason for pessimism. And to look at all that, and just try to keep a smile on your face and forget about it, to me, is irresponsible. Something should be done about that, because if not, the natural entropy of it all will continue - and it will just get worse.