Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Poison of the Past

I cannot say enough good things about Dave Cohen over at Decline of the Empire.  Erudite, well-read, with excellent analysis and presentation of a difficult and often contradictory subject matter.

But his post last Saturday disturbed me greatly.  In a way, Dave has presented the stone that we bear today.  The sepia toned propaganda of a "golden age" which poisons our view of the past and our abilities to cherish the present and the future.

Of course the fifties were a golden age.  Shit, the USSTAF and the FEAF pretty much assured that the industrial capacity of continental Europe and Japan was about that of Alabama.  The Luftwaffe obigingly performed the same service for Great Britain.

So jobs were freely available, we even set up a good-hearted installment plan for Europe in the shape of the Marshall plan (good for business that was) and MacArthur set Japan on a course with a lot of help with American know-how and under the table payments during the Korean War.

The game was rigged in our favor in every which way during the 1950's.  Hell, we even had a president or two who would stand up to the military-industrial complex on occasion.   But this was a rare and almost unique time in history and totally disconnected from the remainder of the history of the United States.

Nostalgia about this period of time is self-defeating.   Even folk like Dave who realize in their soul of souls that the fifties were an illusion seem to stare longingly at the images of a stilted past.

We boomers that are now on our way to our long home seem to keep returning to the Ozzie and Harriet days in our dreams.  But that is just the longing for a lost youth and the societal immaturity that allowed us to spend our descendant's legacy.

Hell, might as well go whole hog.  Buy a red corvette. 

No comments: