Hey, remember when Americans cared more about America than about their own narrow self-interest? Man, that sure was swell.
Hey, remember when we used to round up a bunch of kids from poor neighbourhoods and send them off to fight the commies in Asia? Golly, that sort of public service really built a sense of community and a love for one’s country. Alas, these days teenagers want to go to college or get jobs or otherwise do what they want rather than what’s best for America. I mean, okay, some of them still want to enlist and serve their country, but it’s just not the same if they volunteer for the job. Getting conscripted builds character.
Hey, remember Jim Crow? Time was when state governments would take an interest in preserving their own traditional cultural values and maintaining the sort of community they’d had for generations. But then those rotten hippies came along and started acting like human rights and dignity derived from the individual, and these days the blacks and the women and the gays are all insisting on being treated like first-class citizens just because it makes them feel good — no matter that it’s destroying cultural mores that have been around for ages — and you can’t even make fun of cripples any more without someone calling you “ableist”.
Hey, remember that Senator McCarthy from Wisconsin? Gosh, we used to know how to protect this nation from enemies foreign and domestic, and so what if we cast the net a little too broadly? But these days those dirty libertarians complain about every little thing we do in the name of national security, from spilling some guy’s grandfather’s ashes all over airport security to killing American citizens without a trial, because someone’s precious “rights” might get “violated”.
…well, that’s my read on Kurt Anderson’s New York Times piece on the horrors of individualism. (Mind the dumbworms if you click through.) Will Wilkinson and Nick Gillespie have their own thoughts on why Anderson’s head is so far up his ass he’s choking on his tonsils, but the thing that gets me every time some asshat puts fingertips to keyboard — probably a typewriter, in Anderson’s case — is how jaw-droppingly tone-deaf they sound when they pine for the glories of an age long past. An age with conscription, institutionalized racism, rampant domestic violence, and half the world’s industrial base reduced to rubble (among other fondly remembered and/or conveniently forgotten details).