The modern world is a mess of seeming contradictions. Children have never been safer, yet parents have never been more anxiously overprotective. We have more leeway than ever before to lead free, quirky, customized private lives, yet governments have unprecedented power to inspect and disrupt our most intimate activities. Fewer jets crashed in 2014 than since the advent of commercial air travel, yet CNN switches to wall-to-wall coverage every time a Boeing goes missing.
This collection of seemingly opposed notions actually shares a single throughline, one you can see running all over Reason's special issue on aging. Human beings, as a species, are treating each individual as incredibly precious-much more so than we have in the past. As Matt Welch explains in his editor's note, this is a remarkable and transformative development, though it presents challenges and not a small amount of cognitive dissonance, particularly for the more libertarian among us.