Sunday, May 01, 2011

The Nostalgia of the Left

Krugman’s Lament « Hot Air

There is no question that the aging Boomers, of which I am one, are entering that phase of life when it is human to long for yesteryear. My father, being of leftward list, seemed to enter his phase at about 40, or maybe it was the day that he heard that I had a job at IBM, I can't recall. Thankfully he is still "wisting away" at age 84 for all things pre-computer, pre-big medical advances, and maybe most of all pre-Reagan. (just to be clear, not a spelling error of "wasting", a bad pun on "wistful").

I found this article to be a very interesting short read, and it links off to a bunch of books and articles that look like they would also be interesting. The conclusion is that the left thinks of the America of the late 50's and 60's as "the pinnacle" -- the time they wish to see again.

There is a lot of humor there -- the right has been heavily lambasted at various times and various quarters for "pining for the non-existent halcyon days of Father Knows Best", "Powder Wigs and Slavery", or "The 19th Century".

Liberals always have a lot of trouble with naming. They used to be "progressives", but when the Fascist Progressives of the day, Mussolini and Hitler feel into a bit of disrepute, that was out. About the same time it was getting to be questionable to directly declare yourself to be "communist", or even a "socialist" (Given NAZI was short for "National Socialist". It became hard to figure out what to call someone that was for maximizing state control in general, and specifically using state power to loot the productive of society. After some no doubt interesting thought, they stole "liberal" from those who want less government and more liberty, and used the fog of WWII to tag Nazi Germany -- clearly NOT a "liberal" state as being "right".

Just a short review for those that forget and fall prey to the media / academic obfuscation. LEFT is STATE CONTROL -- dictatorship, monarchy, communism, facism, etc. RIGHT is Chaos, Anarchy -- No government at all. "The state of nature". Our nation was founded as "Center Right", just enough government ("Leviathan") to keep life from being "Solitary, Nasty, Brutish and Short" and to provide the basic framework for productivity and growth -- private property and rule of law.

In theory, there should be no such thing as "progressive nostalgia", because "progressives" claim that the arc of history is upward -- we are way "smarter" today than our founding fathers, Moses, Aristotle, St Augustine, and no doubt god from their perspective -- if there was one. An actual progressive believes in the future, or they believe in nothing -- there is no "master plan", we are "blessed" by a cold and uncaring random universe that luckily instituted "directed evolutionary progress". A benign process created through randomness where "progress" is always better than "conservation" -- or "nostalgia".

In any case, a good little read with more than a few references off to things which also look interesting. One of the things I most frequently run across to add credence to the general time scale of the nostalgia is the yearning for Uncle Walter. It seems that what the left wants most is a world where "news" is what comes out of the mouth of a "head lefty spokesman" and by doing so, is converted to "facual, unbiased holy writ". My view is the core lefty nostalgia is for the suppression of alternative political thought. They dream of a time where the questioning of lefty dogma is a death sentence -- if not physically, at least intellectually. Their recent views on the "Birthers", as well as those apostates who would ever question the divine nature of Global Warming is reminiscent of such high points of history as The Spanish Inquisition, or the Salem Witch Trials -- all be it in intellectual clothing to date.

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