The New York Times recently reported alarming statistics on life expectancy. “For the first time in modern history, gains have stalled,” according to the report. “Alcohol and drug abuse, poor diet, obesity, smoking, and a lack of exercise have taken their toll … Older people are dying prematurely, their conditions worsened by isolation and depression.”
It’s a bleak portrait, but it’s not about America: the Times report focused on the United Kingdom, long-celebrated by the left for its National Health Service and other welfare state programs. Of course, in America we have identical problems of substance abuse, isolation and deaths of despair, but the situation in Great Britain reveals how socialized medicine and big government don’t offer simple solutions.
In most Western societies, the breakdown of family, retreat of religion and collapse of community damage both the quality and length of our lives, regardless of government policies.