Troubled Times? Compared to What?
In response to my comment about Barack Obama taking office during “troubled times,” Charles Austin retorts:
Not to diminish or belittle the very real problems for folks who find themselves on the wrong side of the various bubbles out there, but if these are troubled times, then we really do have it pretty good. Has everyone forgotten the late sixties and seventies? Does Iraq really look like Vietnam? Does George Bush remind you of Jimmy Carter? This doesn’t feel anything like those days at all. The difference now is that our Oprahfied populace’s first reflex is to claim victimhood and seek an ever larger government to insulate them from being responsible for themselves.
If you are old enough to remember compare the evening newscasts of 1969 and 1979 to those of 2008. Which has changed more, the times or the reporting of the times?
I’ve said much the same thing in previous posts. I fully agree that Iraq is not Vietnam, our much-bemoaned political polarization is tepid, indeed, compared to the 1960s, and my own sense of the current economic mess is that it’s not as bad as the stagflation of the 1970s.
Having heard it said, repeatedly, by people with credibility on the subject that this is The Worst Economic Downtown Since the Great DepressionTM, I’ve reluctantly come to accept that as true. It certainly looks to be a bigger systemic calamity. Still, inflation is under control, interest rates are at historic lows, and even unemployment is reasonably low.
Perhaps some perspective is in order, then. As the great social commentator Barry McGuire described the situation in July 1965, mere months before I was born, it was quite grim. We were, quite literally, on the eve of destruction:
The eastern world, it is exploding
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’
This remains the case today. Tie.
You’re old enough to kill, but not for votin’
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’
Now, not only are the age for killin’ and votin’ the same (18) but we have an all-volunteer force and even allow for conscientious objectors to get out of fightin’ after they’ve volunteered.
And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin’
I’ve seen no reports of this, so presume it’s no longer the case. Advantage: Now.
If the button is pushed, there’s no runnin’ away
There’ll be no one to save, with the world in a grave
This remains true. However, the demise of the Soviet Union and end of the Cold War has markedly decreased the likelihood of such an eventuality. Advantage: Now.
Handful of senators don’t pass legislation
Still true and more frequent. Advantage: Then
And marches alone can’t bring integration
McGuire misapprehended the situation. Integration was indeed achieved. Advantage: Now.
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’
So true. Tie.
Overall, you’d have to agree, we’re in much better shape now.