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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Right-Left rearward — USA's self-made disintegration

 1950s USA collage 
Trending backward
I noted this trending in my books BREAKDOWN and Same Ole or Something New. Edward Luce calls it descent — this careless malaise, this American love affair with a delusional past cast in half-truths and a contemporary failure to move constructively forward: to progress, in the best sense of that word, with critical thoughtfulness and a clear sense of history.
Commentary and excerpt by Carolyn Bennett

From Edward Luce’s Time to Start Thinking: America in the Age of Descent


1950s sitcom
“Among many liberals there is a resigned type of nostalgia that yearns for the golden age of the 1950s and ‘60s when the middle class was swelling and the federal government sent people to the moon,” Luce writes.

“Breadwinners worked eight hours a day in the factory and could bank on ‘Cadillac’ health care coverage, a solid urban or suburban lifestyle, and five weeks’ vacation a year.


“Somewhat more mythically among many conservatives, the past is wrapped up in the godly virtues of the Founding Fathers from whom their country has gravely strayed. People stood on their own two feet and upheld core American values. It was a mostly small-town place of strong families, where people respected the military and were involved in their community churches.”


“The right’s nostalgia tends to be angrier. But in their different ways both tend to blot out the sunlight.

“When a country’s narratives become this captivated by the past, they rob the present of the scrutiny it deserves. They also tend to shortchange the future. ‘America used to look ahead — we used to be good at that,’” Luce quotes a successful corporate source.… “‘Now we spend our lives reminiscing about the “Greatest Generation” [i.e., that of World War II].

We can’t stop looking in the rearview mirror.’”

Whatever other insights this book contains, this is an observation to take most seriously.  And it doesn’t take a business tycoon, a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist to discern it. No nation can survive divided, trending backward, in continual BREAKDOWN.

Sources and notes
Time to Start Thinking: America in the Age of Descent by Edward Luce
Published April 2012, categories: government/national
Categories: Government - National
Edward Luce is Washington bureau chief of the Financial Times (London), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Luce

Nostalgia: http://iditis.blogspot.com/2012/01/nostalgia-magical-quicksand.html
Father knows best: http://www.shoutfactory.com/browse/162/father_knows_best.aspx#axzz1si9YBliI
United States in the 1950s, en.wikipedia.org
Looking Back in the RearView Mirror, howismyson.blogspot.com


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