Monday, December 17, 2012

In My Humble Opinion

There are people around the blogosphere who accuse conservatives, Republicans, Tea Partiers, or whatever names they choose to call us, of wanting to go back to the ‘50’s. For those who accuse us, the ‘50’s were a time of great upheaval in our society. They see it as a time where repression was making its last stand. Racial tension were brewing, women still had little choice in most aspects of their lives, and our country was just recovering from its last Great Depression, from endless wars, and untold want. Men, or what was left of our post War male population, were returning to their private lives and trying to put their body and souls back together after experiencing the horrors of Nazi and Japanese atrocities and a “conflict” in Korea. And Blacks and other minorities were still denied their rightful place to share in the opportunities of our great promise not yet 200 years old. That is what they remember and what they think we want to go back to.

But this is what I remember or was taught.

After years of deprivation from the Great Depression followed by more years of wartime rationing, sacrifice and fear, our nation and the world were ready once again to move forward. It was a time to come out of the fox holes, the bomb shelters and to take down the blackout curtains that had held in the fear and shut out the night sky for so many years. It was a time where we once again turned our factories, farms, mills, and all private industry away from “the War Effort” and into a collective operation for recovery, growth and collective prosperity. Our country has never seen such a massive push to live again after so many years of deprivation. Massive building projects brought our urban areas to life again. A nationwide network of roads were being built that made it easier and less expensive to bring goods from those factories, farms, and mills to all corners of the country and to once again provide for a nation ready to partake after years of selfless sacrifice. Jobs were plentiful and we had a workforce that was ready, willing and able.

Community by community, we became productive again and the birth of the “suburb” began to thrive and flourish. Safe, clean, well-built private family homes were springing up all over for an every growing prosperous middle class. Trains were humming along tracks filled with goods and workers that for so long had carried soldiers and sailors away to far off places and possibly to their heroic doom. Automobiles were affordable and ready to fill the ever- expanding network of roads being built. And we were just at the dawn of a new age of luxury air travel across the world and possibly beyond our own planet. But, most of all, our maternity wards were overflowing once again with our greatest post-War effort – lots and lots of babies. The baby boom had begun.

It was also a time, probably our last time where we still believed that our children were our greatest treasure to be protected from harm and the horrors of the outside world that could be so ugly. We protected them from the images that children should never see or know about until they were old enough to understand them. We wanted our children to be children. We wanted them to play on their new shiny bikes and in the new ball fields, to be clothed in new clothes that no one had worn before, and to come home to a table full of plenty to eat and warm beds at the end of the day. We wanted them to learn in good schools and get good jobs, and to have the room to dream big dreams. In return, we demanded excellence and obedience to a society where the adults were in charge. We gave them a child size world where we allowed our children to succeed or fail in the little child-size things. And with guidance and security from the adult world, our children could grow into their own adult-size world better able to navigate adult-size successes and failures. We lived in a world where “Father knows best” and where mistakes were not lethal or permanent, but learning experiences to build character. Most of all, we wanted our children to grow up to be happy, productive citizens who would love their neighbors as themselves, when they would see need they would endeavor to assuage it, and who would love their country and their God with all their heart and all their soul. That is what we wanted as parents, as a society, and as dreamers of big dreams.

For some us, these ‘50’s adults are our parents and grandparent. They grew up as children in times of great want and chose great sacrifice, sometimes travelling great distances, in the hope that their children and grandchildren would never have to experience the same. Because what we did not know could not harm us. They worked hard and continued to sacrifice, so that our dreams could be realized. They did it collectively and as a community. And they succeeded.

We don’t do that anymore.

I could expound as to the “hows and whys” of it, but like everything else in our giant echo chamber of a society, we all have our own opinions, but no strength for solutions. So I will not offer any. But of this I hope we can all agree. As a society, we no longer see the value in protecting our children from the horrors of an ugly world. We no longer see the value in protecting that child-size world in which our children can learn their child-size character-building lessons. And because most of us live in a world without any real want or horror, entire industries have been spawned whose sole purpose is to manufacture these horrors and degradations so that our children can see the world as we think they should see it, and not as it should be imagined by a child. Then we feed this to our children as a steady diet for their ever- increasing appetites and then wring our hands and weep and wonder why the world is the way it is. Well, as my Depression-era, victory garden growing, self-sacrificing, God-fearing Grandmother would say - “Garbage in, garbage out”.

33 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Well said. I have always thought it was ridiculous for the left to dump on the 1950s, but they need to if their goal is to remake society in their own image.

The 1950s was the time when the majority of the public decided to change many of the bad things of the past. The civil rights movement is an example. If the majority had not accepted the idea that this simply needed to change, it wouldn't have changed. It's the same thing with women's rights -- if the majority hadn't decided that they needed to change things, they wouldn't have changed. It is truly unfair to malign the Americans of that era because they are the ones who made it happen.

And keep in mind, the 1950s was when America set out to free the world from colonialism, when we began sending massive amounts of aid overseas to try to lift people out of poverty, when we did our best to rebuild Europe and Japan as independent, modern, peaceful states. And we did it all while being completely sabotaged at every turn by communism.

The 1950s had their flaws, but they were one of the better eras in American history. It's too bad that so many choose to destroy to rebuild rather than to improve and to build upon.

Tennessee Jed said...

grew up in the 50's and loved it. Was taught the work ethic. Help others, but take responsibility for yourself. If you wanted to start a family, it was your responsibility to take care of them, put food on the table, and teach them how to act ethically (see father knows best.) I was an Eagle Scout. learned to be self-reliant. The motto was "be physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight," and you could do worse than that

T-Rav said...

Bev, I read an article some months ago, which I can't find now, saying that while everyone thinks of the '50s and early '60s as a time of conformity and mindless cookie-cutter culture, it was in fact a time of vibrant cultural involvement--the last period in which you could pull a random guy off the streets and find that he knows something about Shakespeare, Dante, Mozart, etc. I'll try and look for it, but it was really interesting.

Also, it was a continuation of a period with falling crime rates, and an increase in the collective wealth of African-Americans. By 1960, if I remember right, one-third of blacks belonged to the middle class (up from one-sixth in 1940), and literacy rates were approaching those of whites across the board.

Unfortunately, this didn't work for the emerging New Left, which was already employing the beginnings of racial theory and started putting forth the idea that to aspire to this kind of lifestyle was to betray one's roots and sell out to "The Man." So of course it all started to come undone in the '60s and '70s, as these people got more influence; which really worked out well for blacks and other groups.

Anthony said...

I disagree with your last paragraph. There is a ton of kid-appropriate stuff out there. The problem isn't that society no longer believes in childhood, its that too many parent(s) are letting the media raise their kids (there is also a lot of widly inapproriate stuff out there).

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, It's very typical for liberals to ignore facts that don't fit what they want to believe. Keep in mind that all of those artists they worship got started in the 1950s and most were famous before the counter-culture began. In other words, they became famous at the time of this supposed great conformity.

And if you want television from the era and the early 1960s you will see a lot of much more adventurous stuff than you will see in the decades that followed.

rlaWTX said...

As long as there have been humans, there have been bad things (racial prejudice, repression, etc), but I agree that this was among the last time that our American cultural leaders were willing to find the good in ourselves and others. Considering the evil that had been unleashed during the first half of the century, that ability is all the more admirable.
Since the rise of the progressives, we have been shown the bad side without any true appreciation of the good. It is true that, while we all have evil within us, examples of good from others help us choose good for ourselves.
Instead of accepting that struggle as natural event where the right answers should be encouraged, the state (through the Left) desired to create a world where they would remove the necessity to choose for ourselves. If they tell us what we may or may not, what we can or cannot, then we need but to follow their dictates for a fulfilling life free of struggle. Unfortunately (for them - and by extension of failure, us), humanity is not nearly that malleable. Our culture has adopted the "not my fault" "someone else should make my life easier" potions of this theory without understanding the consequences. Our "cultural values" are now exemplified by "heroic" sports stars and amoral celebrities, while true personal values are old-fashioned or elitist.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I think you are right that the problem is that too many are letting the television raise their kids. My generation saw a lot of that, with parents who rarely saw their kids and then wondered why the schools weren't raising them.

BevfromNYC said...

What was appropriate in '50's and '60's when I was a child, is something entirely different. My mother wouldn't let us watch Popeye, because it was too violent...
Parents were even cautious about Bambi. Our lives were more easily controlled because we had a code by which ALL of parents were in agreement - the 6 oclock news didn't show graphic images of tragedies, they would report, but not sensationalize.

I grew up in Dallas. We invented the movie ratings code, so it was clear that children could see G rated movies and everything else was off limits.

We were a less violent society because we did not glorify violence...

BevfromNYC said...

rlaWTX - Our heroes were astronauts, soldiers, and cowboys who fought the bad guys. Bad guys were bad guys, as in people who would do harm to others, not "troubled". We fought on the playground and made up our OWN wars, forts, and games, and learned "conflict resolution" on the playground. We learned to win AND lose graciously. And we learned that losers can win if they practice and try harder. Not that there are no losers...

The '50's/'60's were also the last time when a person could rise to the top of the corporate ladder on ability and never go to college. Sometimes never graduate from high school.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, The 1950s was right before the bureaucratization of America. Bureaucracy brings with it all the problems you identify -- a need to treat everyone identically, to try to eliminate self-reliance and extremes, and a creeping away from substance to procedure.

That is what wiped out the values which held society together and replaced them with regulations which are a hopeless way run a society.

BevfromNYC said...

It was also a time when scientists and researchers endeavored to cure diseases and solve world problems NOT for personal monetary gain, but for the betterment of mankind.

Patriot said...

Bev....As a boomer raised then (you kids get off my lawn!) I think one big reason for the change in childhood is the instant, mass (read global) communication of things. Events that take place anywhere in this great big world are available to kids with PCD's (personal communication devices) that weren't back then. We had 1 home phone number and were not allowed to stay on the phone talking to friends. Black and white TV's were only on for news and some "family-friendly" fare.

Kids now have little to no parental filter on information. Think of how your little girl of 12 can access hard-core porn on her pdc these days. It would make some sort of change in her outlook wouldn't it? Apply that millions of times over and we see the anesthetization of our culture to sex, violence and rot.

There is no going back. This is the culture we have. I see popular culture changing with the assassination of JFK. This unbelievable act came in to our lives and homes and riveted our senses. After that, we lost our innocence as a culture/society and started seeing bogeymen and conspiracies everywhere. It appears to me, looking in hindsight, that after that, the "counter-culture" movement gained steam and became more ubiquitous.

College became a battleground with sit-ins, violent black panther uprisings, days of rage, and the loss of 4 years out of our life to move into adulthood with similar minded in-loco-parents as professors and administrators.

I believe Judge Bork hit it spot on, in his "Slouching Towards Gomorrah" when he identified the cave-n by the President/Chancellor of Columbia University to the radicals who took over the admin offices. Once the leftists saw that they had power and could agitate for what they wanted, we were done for.

(Dammit, I told you kids to get off my lawn!!)

T-Rav said...

Ah, here's the article I was thinking of: LINK

When more than twice as many people are going to classical music concerts as to baseball games, kind of hard to make that "mindless uncultured Americans" argument.

BevfromNYC said...

Patriot -Sadly you are right. And for parents who WANT to protect their children, they can't because of a larger society that sees no value in protecting children.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Oh... you're one of those people. You actually think "cultured" means "culture." Hardly. To be cultured, on must demonstrate they have the right views. It has nothing to do with knowledge or taste or appreciation of anything.... it's just about having the right views.

AndrewPrice said...

By the way, let me say something on behalf of the modern age. For various reasons, I've been talking to a lot of young people lately and I am surprised at how much they really do appreciate classical culture and classic values. I've been pretty impressed with these people.

Anthony said...

I just can't place the 1950s on a pedestal. I don't doubt all the wonderful stories everyone is telling, but my father (descendant of slaves, now in his 70's, born and raised in poverty in Virginia under Jim Crow, rose to the middle class by enlisting in the Air Force, where he fought in Korea) has less fond recollections.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, If I've given that impression, let me clarify: I don't place the 1950s on a pedestal either. It was a far from perfect era. There was still a lot of open racism, sexism, and every other -ism. Our economic policies mainly worked because there was no competition. It was the age which spawned the baby boomer generation which has been so destructive to our country. It was an age of great promise, which only fulfilled a part of it set out to do.

That said, however, I do think the 1950s have been unfair maligned by the left. They want to paint the 1950s like something out of a Soviet work camp and then pretend that they fixed all of that in the 1960s -- which is an complete lie.

But as eras go, it was an improvement on the prior eras, which is about all you can ask of any time period.

Koshcat said...

I think there is a lot of nostalgia-ism going on here. Believe it or not, our kids in our schools have never been safer and violent crime overall is very low. Our kids can do things my parents still can do. My son can navigate my iphone with ease and can whip me at Angry Birds; he's 4. My daughter's reading group wanted a little more of a challenge so they chose The Diary of Ann Frank; she is 8. He math is about the same level I was at but the vocabulary words she is studying is about 2-3 grades earlier than when I was in school.

If there is a problem with today's kids, it is due to too much helicoptering by parents, the school, and the government. We need to let them fail occasionally so they know how to make better decisions. People are having fewer kids but spending more time with them. I spend more time with my kids then my dad was able to, and he was a good dad.

We don't have diseases today that were common place in the '50's such as polio and measles. HIV was scary but Magic is still alive. Amazing. We tend to remember the extremes but not the day-to-day. There are issues today but in reality our lives have never been better.

Besides, the 80's was the best decade.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, There's always a lot of nostalgia whenever people talk about these things because they tend to only remember the good parts -- and even then they exaggerate them.

One of my pet peeves is conservatives who claim that they learned so much more in grade school in the past than kids learn in college today. That's crap... utter crap. Kids today learn FAR more than kids did in the past. They have a lot more skills too.

Also, you are right -- as I pointed out earlier today -- "in reality, our lives have never been better."

T-Rav said...

Eh, only if you use material progress as your one yardstick. Judged by that one standard, then sure; but when you put the totality of experiences together, it's a lot less clear. I know I was a lot happier on average in the '90s and early '00s than I am today.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, A ten year comparison is always difficult because it's so arbitrary. I'm sure 1945 felt worse than 1941, but it wasn't.

By virtually every measure, we are better off today both individually and as a people. The world is freer, richer and healthier than ever. Sure, there are problems, but we should keep those in perspective compared to how things were in the past.

As for personal happiness, there are lots of things that contribute to that and as you will sadly find, throughout life, some decades just suck... young one.

CrisD said...

Bev,
It was a good post. I wasn't born until 1957, so I remember the early 60's before JFK assassination--someone mentioned that that was really watershed event and I agree. I remember after that were protest, riots, hippies (they were awful to me), drugs, breakdown of traditions. But then again, the nuns that put me in a trash can for slouching all left--so there was an upside to the 60s :-D

AndrewPrice said...

Cris, I've heard nuns can be evil. They put you in a garbage can? Nice.

CrisD said...

To be fair, it was a giant waste paper basket...but still, it was kinds harsh.

CrisD said...

*kinda harsh

AndrewPrice said...

Cris, LOL! I'll bet it's pretty funny in hindsight though?

CrisD said...

It took about 50 years to get funny, but yeah, I think those ladies were a little overwhelmed by us chillins.

AndrewPrice said...

Cris, I've found that the worst things that happened to me when I was young make the best stories as I get older. :)

Mr_Severus_Snape said...

Thanks for giving your perspective of that time period! I laugh each time someone uses "returning us to the 50s" as an insult, when it's really not!

The Left really have a hard time understanding context, don't they... Yes the Post-WW2 50s to early 60s, were far from perfect, but there's no denying, it's one of the greatest periods of our country's history. Without the progress and innovations of that era, we wouldn't be as comfortable as we are today.

tryanmax said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Individualist said...

I was born in 1965 which makes me one to the first of the Gen X's. I grew up in the late 70's and 80's. The last vestiges of the classic hard rock giving way to big hair band and Punk Rock gioving way to New Wave.

I remeber that the adults of the time who were the products of the 60's chastised us for being square like they were in the 60's. Much to there chagrin many young people who were products of middle class suburbia empathized with the Alex Keaton character in Family Ties. It was supposed to be some kind of ironic statement on a weird kid because he was Republican and tried to be successful and worried about school. It resonated with all of us weird kids trying to be successful and getting good grades in school.

The slacker generation of the 80's was not up to the 60's standards either. Isntead of b eing politically active they worried about a good time and laughed at Andrew Dice Clay. Worse than that everyone loved Reagan.

I remember at the time the aritcles and political cartoons trying to make fun of my generation as not hip. Even then the MSM machine was at work with the cultural propaganda. Funny thing is we hated 50's music because that is what our parents liked and really we knoew little else.

tryanmax said...

Forgive my two-days-dim wit, but this just occurred to me (yes, at 4am CST). Isn't it the left that pines for a return to the 1950s every time they lament the lack of "civil" discourse? Was it not the left that advanced their agenda through decidedly uncivil discourse through most of the 1960s and beyond? Did their sympathizes in government not reward such discourse with (ironically named) "civil rights" legislation? And is not the ultimate influence of such "civil" legislation to promote belligerence in response to every imagined slight?

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