Skip to comments.What Old, White Conservatives Miss About America
Posted on 08/23/2011 4:26:46 AM PDT by BUGSWOL
Their nostalgia isn't necessarily bigoted. The main reason people feel wistful for less racially enlightened times is that everyone romanticizes childhood.
(Excerpt) Read more at m.theatlantic.com ...
Why would we miss a time when our kids could go to a school two blocks away?
Why would we miss a time when a family could be supported on one income and our children were not raised in government schools?
I guarantee that a lot of older blacks miss plenty from their “unenlightened” youth.
I’m only 35 however I maintain that America peaked as a nation in the 1950’s.
This Conor Friedersdorf thinks he’s providing insight into old, white conservative thinking in this article but he’s really providing an insight into just how limited modern Lib thinking is. To Libs, the time before 1960 was all about one thing — race and oppression. And the history of the world started in the 1950s. In the 1950s, there was a drab, black and white world in which Whites went to church to hear their pastors tell them to go out and lynch blacks. The Evil Republicans were in charge and controlled everything, including how people should think, through their theocracy. Then John Kennedy was elected and the world became enlightened. Then we had the Glorious Revolution of the 60s and going forward the rest of history is the struggle between good (Democrats, Socialism, PC-ism)and evil (Republicans, capitalism, limited government). Anyone who is nostalgic for the 50s can’t be thinking sane thoughts. They are acting on an irrational impulse as a way to get back to the safety of childhood. BTW, this isn’t hyperbole—the unreflective intellectual Libs of The Atlantic really believe this.
I think the 1950s were considerably more enlightened about many things.
The "enlightenment" to which the author refers is almost certainly a false dawn.
What a disappointing article.
“Im only 35 however I maintain that America peaked as a nation in the 1950s.”
Right On Target with that one!!!!!
I had a cousin who was a police captain in an Black precinct. The truth be known he hated Blacks. The local Black news paper hated him. The odd thing was I’d run into Black people through work that lived in that precinct and they loved him because when he was there it was safe. He is long dead and the city now has a Black chief of police and it is not safe for anyone anymore.
I grew up in East Los Angeles in the early 1950s, and people didn’t lock their doors or cars them There was no need to.
Today, bars on the windows and doors and gang tags everywhere is the norm in this neighborhood.
Bucky Covington got it right:
“Why would we miss a time when a family could be supported on one income and our children were not raised in government schools? “
The finger of government has been involved in education since before any of us were born.
A few facts:
“The first publicly supported secondary school in the United States was the Boston Latin School, founded in 1635”
“The federal government’s activities in the field of education have further centralized American schooling. The Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 helped create vocational programs in high schools, and the GI Bill of 1944 was the first important federal effort to provide financial aid for military veterans to attend college.”
I miss a time when you could leave your house and not have to lock it behind.
We would go on vacation in the 50s and 60s, and the parents would lock the front door. They never locked the back door.
I'm a good deal older than you, FRiend....and I would add about 5 years to your estimate.
IMHO....things began to turn south just after Kennedy was murdered in Dallas TX by persons unknown.
And when they turned south...they went south in a hurry. We had a brief respite during the Reagan presidency, and again during the Bush II first five years, but then...south we continued to go.
Kind of like walking down a flight of steep stairs; one wonders where the bottom is....and if we'll find a true leader in time to not only hold us in place but begin climbing back up.
In 500 years or so, historians are going to have a ball with this period of time!
My understanding of America leads to believe that the best I ever saw America was in 88/89 when they had a televised “goodbye” to Ronald Reagan.
There were about 20 kids that were given 10-20 seconds to describe why Reagan was important and such a great leader. They understood clearly that Reagan had changed America for the better and I completely agreed.
I think the apex was June 6th, 1944.
Some people can only see the world in a twisted way.
Thanks for a most cogent post.
The black civil rights issue was the last one liberals were unequivocally on the right side of morality and history and (most) conservatives were unfortunately on the wrong side of both.
Since liberals cannot make very good arguments for their policies based on today’s issues, they love to restage every issue in the light of the civil rights movement. It’s forever 1965 in Selma. If you oppose or criticize any of their policies, no matter how unrelated to race, you must want to bring back Jim Crow.
This is somewhat similar to the way some conservatives replay every international conflict in light of WWII. It’s always 1938 and we’re in Munich.
Yep, by the time the flim-flam zip code became mandatory, it was a done deal for the maxists!
Im only 35 however I maintain that America peaked as a nation in the 1950s.
So does Mark Steyn. He makes the argument through the picture of plucking a man up from the beginning of the nineteenth century and dropping him into the typical suburban home of the 1950s. There the time traveler sees refrigerators, air conditioning, table top radio, television, washing machines, the automobile and the 707 jet.
Mark then describes another fifty year jump and not seeing anything really new except that the entertainment devices have shrunk and improved. It took eighteen months to build the Empire State Building, but it will be eighteen years and counting before a new building replaces the WTC (maybe).
Man was curing polio and developing vaccines for curing and eradicating terrible diseases, today we consider among our drug miracles Viagra. Fifty years ago, we would spread DDT around to kill off Malaria, today we allow Malaria to kill us off because of political correctness and earth worship.
I wasn't anywhere near the 1950s or 60s but where is our Hoover Dam, our man walking on the moon, Concorde jet, Panama Canals, winning major world wars on two fronts against Tier 1 enemies? All we have is the Apple iPad 2?
Economically I’d say yes we peaked in the 50’s. I’d say we peaked intellectually and educationally somewhere around WWI and the Roaring 20’s and lived off the fruit of that for decades. Once FDR came in we started down the road of mind-numbed fools.
>All we have is the Apple iPad 2?
While I admit that in many ways the 50s were a golden age, we can’t very well sell short what has been accomplished since then.
First off, one should understand that the prosperity of the 50s is likely to be a unique event in history. Considering that every other industrialized nation on the planet had pretty much been bombed flat during WW II, while our production facilities were still standing, it is easy to see the huge edge we had. I cannot see circumstances in which that advantage will be available to us again.
But let’s be honest, tech these days is not something to be scoffed at. Sure, we don’t have the flying cars, and other WOW gizmos people thought were going to be the future back in the 50s. However we do have some pretty damned amazing stuff.
For example look at that iPad2 you mock. That’s capable of being a library bigger than the one down your street. It’s capable of being a newspaper from anywhere on the planet. It can be a calculator, do advanced math functions, act as an astronomy guide, and do other advanced scientific aides. It can also let you look up information on any topic at your whim. Heck, you could also include all of Mozart’s symphonies on it as well.
In reality it’s just a bigger version of the iPhone which is a pocket sized device that gives you access to a very significant percentage of the information amassed by humanity at any time, most anywhere in this country. As it has been said plenty of times, knowledge is power, and these tools are utterly amazing knowledge devices.
Yes, we didn’t go with the science fiction strides expected beck in the days of yore with spaceships, rays guns, and colonies on other planets, but we did things in the space of information sharing that are just as amazing.
Of course one might note that the information space was where the government intruded the least and derive some conclusions from that.
If we look at history to the periods of time preceding outbreaks of war or civil unrest, pandemics, etc., - and then compare the decades thereafter... we might note that society and its people follow a certain rhythm.
Victory over adversity.
To the elderly, the past appears perfect, the present no longer belongs to them and the future is fantasy. Memories are God’s therapy.
Wasn't that when President Eisenhower had to send troops into Little Rock, Arkansas, to enforce court ordered desegregation in the schools there?
And wasn't it also when he initiated Operation Wetback? It was good to have a President who understood that his job was to see that the laws were faithfully executed.
I just got back from a cruise vaca. The comedian was a black man whose whole routine was how the country had changed for the worse. Kids not respecting their elders, dress, girls acting like tramps, etc. He wasn’t old, either.
“Why would we miss a time when a family could be supported on one income”
I get your point, but one income can still support a 1950’s lifestyle. a 1200 square foot ranch, one black and white TV. One car. Home cooked meals. No child care expense. New clothes once a year. Getting shoes resoled instead of buying new. No cruises or jet trip vacations. etc.
Ah, not only am I a rascist terrorist, but now I am also immature.....Got it..
“The black civil rights issue was the last one liberals were unequivocally on the right side of morality and history and (most) conservatives were unfortunately on the wrong side of both.”
I may be misreading your statement, so I’ll apologize in advance if I am misreading it. That said, you are completely incorrect to state that democrats were on the right side of the racism issue. They were not. They were the Jim Crow folks, they were the lynchers and they were to segregationists. The Repbulicans fought them to a final victory, then the Dems began the process of taking credit for what they were completely against...
Great summary, and you could delete “of The Atlantic”.
I’m sorry, but your comment is not accurate history.
For one thing, I never mentioned Democrats or Republicans. I said liberals and conservatives. Prior to the 1970s, neither party was exclusively one or the other. Both were national coalitions of regional parties that included both liberal and conservative branches.
You can call the Jim Crow boys many things, (and I’m happy to join you in doing so), but you can’t call them liberals, neither in the original classical liberal sense or in the modern leftist/socialist sense. They were conservatives, even reactionaries, although in my opinion a variant of conservatism that deviated so widely from the American conservative mainstream as to have a whole lot more in common with fascism and Nazism.
You are quite correct that those oppressing blacks were Democrats. But then so were almost all those leading the fight against them. The GOP pretty much sat on the sidelines.
While it is a truism that more GOP than Democrat congressmen voted for the Civil Rights Act, it is also irrelevant. On the ground few if any mainstream conservatives were leaders in the fight for civil rights. This was left up largely to Democratic liberals, leftists and even communists. For instance, I think you would have to search long and hard to find influential conservatives who participate in the various marches in the South.
Most conservatives, such as Goldwater and WF Buckley, saw the civil rights issue as a local or states’ rights issue, rather than a national constitutional one. The fight against Communism was much more important to them than the fight for equal rights for all Americans. While this opinion was defensible and understandable, I believe it was utterly and disastrously wrong, and later in life both of these gentlemen agreed.
The problem is that liberals gained enormous moral capital by being on the right side of this issue, and conservatives acquired an equivalently-sized moral deficit. For 50 years now the major rhetorical tool of liberalism has been to wave the bloody shirt of civil rights, and it has worked beautifully. (Though the shirt is getting a little ragged.)
I believe conservatives should have led, or at least participate enthusiastically in the fight for civil rights, rather than considering it an unimportant side issue. Conservatives today, and the country as a whole, IMO, continues to pay the price of their failure of vision in the 50s and 60s.