June 23, 2011

"The liberals who long to return to the Midcentury Moment seem to forget that it was a time of enormous cultural uniformity that stigmatized being unmarried or unchurched or gay."

Observes Michael Barone, explaining "liberal nostalgia" for what he calls "America's Midcentury Moment":
The huge menu of lifestyle choices from which we can choose today was a very short menu with very few choices then. It could not last. Baby-boom children, raised in prosperity, were not content with being small units in large machines....

Vietnam, urban riots, Watergate, stagflation—all undermined confidence in big government, big business and big labor, and by the late 1970s the Midcentury Moment was long gone....

So the Obama Democrats, partially successful in expanding the size and scope of government, largely unsuccessful in reviving private-sector unions, are on the defensive politically. As Mr. Levison and other liberals recognize, most Americans don't accept Keynesian economics and don't favor expansion of government as they did during the Midcentury Moment....

[T]he Midcentury Moment's confidence in big institutions was inextricably connected with an acceptance of a cultural uniformity that almost all of today's liberals, and probably most non-liberals, would find unacceptable.
Read the whole thing. There's much about the unifying effect of WWII and the military draft. Do you buy this — the notion that belief in big government depends on cultural uniformity?

120 comments:

nevadabob said...

Mid-century ... Barack Obama's friend Bill Ayers was a domestic terrorist, killing cops, robbing shit and bombing government buildings.

Maybe that's what they're referring to as the good old days.

Shouting Thomas said...

The underlying thesis is wrong.

Baby-Boomers have created a culture of slavish obedience to "cultural uniformity."

PC feminism, kissing gays' asses and obedience to the race/sex quota systems are demanded in every corporate and institutional setting.

This is a period of grinding "cultural uniformity."

The author's characterization of the 50s is bullshit. The 50s was a great era of hedonism. You drove your big car without guilt and listened to car songs on the radio. Life was about having a good time.

Lifestyle choices is a euphemism for hipsterism, the intellectual corpse that is the home of slavishly conformist Baby Boomers.

Hipsterism is the junior high school clique with a gun to your head.

Drew said...

What? What? I thought it was those backwards conservatives who yearned for the 50s. Now they're telling us it's the liberals?

Liberals as distinct from leftists, then? Because I've suspected that at some point over the last 15 years "liberal" and "left" took wildly divergent paths. Because if we're really talking about classic liberals here, then I could possibly see it. The classic liberals have been slowly turning into libertarians while the left is fully embracing totalitarianism.

Shouting Thomas said...

So, yes, cultural uniformity is a pre-requisite to Big Government.

And, the Baby Boomer are easy prey for the pitch from Big Government.

Dad29 said...

I'd buy a twist on that question to the effect that WWII's "Big Military" positively influenced thought about "big".

Ike & Co. (and FDR) got the job done.

Shouting Thomas said...

... it was a time of enormous cultural uniformity that stigmatized being unmarried or unchurched or gay.

Bullshit.

Here, you have the Boomer's typical ploy. Inventing martyrdom where there was none.

I grew up in small town Illinois in the 50s.

This statement is utter bullshit. Nobody cared whether you were unmarried, went to church or were gay.

Plenty of unmarried adults in my hometown. Plenty of people who didn't go to church.

Everybody was expected to keep their mouth shut about what the did in bed. That was considered polite.

Pogo said...

(1) Barone is wrong. Liberals want to return to the Midcentury Moment because they were on the cusp of victory upon victory, it was when McCarthyism and Selma and Julius-n-Ethel Rosenberg and severe southern poverty and segregated schools and Beat poetry made the red diaper crowd Certain of Everything.

But when they actually won these things, and made government into what they thought was needed, everything fell apart.

They wanna go back to Glory Days.

(2) "Do you buy this — the notion that belief in big government depends on cultural uniformity?"
It must be so. Even including having the state raise the children.
It doesn't matter if you believe it, that is what will happen, because it has happened, every time.

Dad29 said...

The 50s was a great era of hedonism.

Crock of shit.

Excess in materialism/hedonism began in the 1960's, arguably 1965.

'50's was an era of material restraint. Ever actually LOOK inside a home built in the '50's?

Closets so small that 3 brooms were crowded. One-car garages. One bathroom, no "entertainment centers."

You can NOT have your own facts.

Jim said...

Let's see...The countries most cited as socialist paradises by American Leftists are places like Sweden, Denmark, etc., which are among the most "culturally uniform" places on the planet.

To the extent there is "cultural diversity," big government has been an utter failure.

Why? Because big government requires that EVERYONE have the same work ethic (no one, or at the very least, very few, try to game the system by freeriding), the same view of "rights" (is healthcare a "right"? Where there is disagreement it cannot work.), and so on.

This is something that our Founding Fathers knew a couple of hundred years ago and which our historically ignorant Leftist friends STILL have yet to learn.

The top-down, one-size-fits-all solutions can never work in a diverse population. Our Founding Fathers couldn't unite 13 colonies with a uniform set of rules because of the very cultural diversity of the varied immigrant populations which had arrived from Europe.

That's why they created the 10th Amendment: they found agreement on general principles and intended each state (read: "island of cultural homogeny") to set their own rules for their own populations. In order to form a "greater union," they had to give up dictating each and every aspect of life and create a federal government which would - by the limitations they intended - be too weak to enforce any such rules in the future.

How ironic that the very "diversity" which Leftists CLAIM to celebrate is the precise reason that their socialist utopia can never exist in the United States. It's always in constant struggle against the PRACTICE of cultural homogeny which is required to enact their most fervently desired social policies.

Shouting Thomas said...

Closets so small that 3 brooms were crowded. One-car garages. One bathroom, no "entertainment centers."

You're confusing means with ends.

People were poorer in the 50s.

But, there were no assholes around shaking their fingers in your face and lecturing you about what you should buy and how you should enjoy your life.

Playboy, for God's sake was born in the 50s!

If you had the money, and you wanted to blow it to hell in the 50s... well, just about everybody though that that was your right.

Couples had 5 or 6 children without worrying about whether they were polluting the environment.

The 50s was the heydey of American hedonism.

Moose said...

No, clearly big government does not depend on cultural conformity. However, it does explain the inheirent illogic of using big government to enforce cultural norms such as "hate crimes", rectifying social inequalities, leveling economic outcomes and so forth.

The outcomes of those goals enforced by the illogic of big governement costs more and more money to realize over time. Like any good project manager can attest to: the last 20% of the project costs 80% of the budget.

Cultural conformity levels the playing field right out of the gate, and people living in socially homogenous units lower the need for governmental administration of needs and "social justice".

The more "diversity" you want to "embrace", the more its going to cost you.

xnar said...

Yep... the good ole' boys network worked pretty well back then. We had confidence in our institutions because we had confidence in each other.

Now that culture has become a political battleground, we have domestic opposition to almost any action you want to take.

Excuse me while I light up my cigarette here in the office and ponder the impact of shag carpet and avocado colored appliances on our cultural decline...

TosaGuy said...

Glad this article was written, we don't have enough baby boomer nostalgia and naval gazing.

ndspinelli said...

Good question. I think the belief in big govt. does require a substantial degree of cultural uniformity. However, many people who want a large govt. aren't perceptive enough to grasp this. There sure as hell wasn't a lot of cultural diversity allowed in the Soviet Union and that included many different countries, more diverse than our regions of the US. However, our school system doesn't teach history well enough for young people to learn this basic fact.

On the topic of schools. Check out the annual Newsweek top 500 high schools and see how your state has performed. It is always edifying. Year in and out Wisconsin does poorly. We don't make the list until #174! And..so called "backward" states like Texas, Kentucky, Alabama and Arizona make the top 10. Hell...Texas has 4 in the top 11!!

Shouting Thomas said...

Where's Crack?

Calling Crack!

Crack, please explain to these morons that the Church of the New Age is the conformist sledge hammer of the Baby Boomers.

thule222 said...

Society seems to do whatever the Boomers are doing. The 60's was rebellion, the 70's sex, the 80's materialism, the 90's having kids, the 00's helicopter parents. The 10's are nostalgia for the good old days when the Boomers were kids.

AJ Lynch said...

Libs use big govt to get stuff for their loyal followers like free daycare for unwed mothers, gay marriage for gays, amnesty for illiegal immigrants. Libruls use more and bigger govt programs to redistribute wealth to assure equal outcomes even when their constituencies are high school dropouts, unwed mothers, substance abusers, illegals, etc.

That makes it hard for a large majority to favor big govt when it is used to take more and more from the productive citizens and give more and more to the taxeaters.

Shouting Thomas said...

I'm a musician who began playing professionally in the 50s, when I was still a kid.

In the 50s, nobody asked you what political party you belonged to when you played in a band.

Today, it is assumed among Baby Boomer musicians that you are a far leftist, and you are thought of as a traitor to something or other if you don't profess far left politics.

Shouting Thomas said...

I'm also a commercial artist.

Woe unto any commercial artist who allows it to be known that he doesn't toe the line of the far left.

The Baby Boomers who control the business will blacklist you.

Pogo said...

The only diversity "celebrated" (i.e. permitted) in the modern era is about non-normative sex.

All else liberal is a heavy Puritan revival, with numerous prohibitive social rules, speech codes, and creeping government enforcement of same.

The Puritans wanted everyone to worship in the Puritan way. Today's liberals share that vision.

Scott M said...

I'm not sure if cultural uniformity is a prerequisite for big government, although I'd lean toward believing that.

What is apparent, though, is the Boomer "me-first" tendency toward big government. A selfish person, deluded into thinking that they actually care about the little guy or those more unfortunate, will be satisfied by paying their taxes and letting ever bigger government programs handle the actual dirty work. A bigger government, whether it works or not at addressing societies ills, is a cloak of "I did my part" for the selfish.

Pogo said...

The only diversity "celebrated" (i.e. permitted) in the modern era is about non-normative sex.

...and clothing. The latter becomes a uniform itself (0cf Paul Fussell).

PoNyman said...

What Jim said on first take is along the lines of what I was thinking. The stable, happy Socialist governments seem to be in culturally uniform countries, whereas, the mayhem of civil unrest under the gun of big government seems to be in culturally diverse settings. Maybe for big government to work there has to be an enemy, in culturally uniform countries the enemy is without and in heterogeneous countries the enemy or at least some of them are from within.

Curious George said...

ST, you should look up what hedonism is. Wait, I will do it for you: "pleasure is the only intrinsic good"

"Life was about having a good time?"

Hardly describes the 50's. Mom's didn't work....and it wasn't for "pleasure". It was for the benefit of others...their kids. You had to go without to buy a house, send kids off to college, take a f*cking vacation. Spring break in Disney World? Nope. Designer cloths? What were those. Large families...pleasure?

You are an idiot.

Shouting Thomas said...

So, Althouse, I've asked you this question before. I think it tells the whole story.

Could an individual who opposes sexual and racial quotas get a job on the faculty of WI law?

You refuse to answer, so I'll answer for you. Answer: No.

I'll go even further.

Could an individual who correctly calls quotas "quotas," instead of the fib euphemism "affirmative action" get a job on the faculty of WI law?

Answer: No.

So much for our great "lifestyle choices."

Shouting Thomas said...

Hardly describes the 50's. Mom's didn't work....and it wasn't for "pleasure". It was for the benefit of others...their kids. You had to go without to buy a house, send kids off to college, take a f*cking vacation. Spring break in Disney World? Nope. Designer cloths? What were those. Large families...pleasure?

Utter bullshit from a moron who's bought the party line.

My mother worked. With a few exceptions, every mother worked. Feminist, you moron, come from upper and upper middle class backgrounds. That's why they peddled that shit.

Having a family, even a large family, was thought to be one of life's greatest pleasures. It is. Sensible people still think this is so.

Certainly, people were poorer, but they still lived entirely to have a good time. Raising one's children was thought to be part of this.

Erik said...

The thesis makes perfect sense to me. Confidence in big government is incompatible with the current reality of government as a collection of squabbling, fiercely tribal interest groups at war with one another. Monoculture and consensus breed trust with the herd, trust that the ruling authorities will not contravene common expectations and hopes. When that monoculture dissolves, then that confidence dissolves as well.

Rialby said...

A Welfare State cannot exist without the good behavior of its citizens. When people begin to things that are not traditional, they begin to depend more and more on the government for assistance. Doing this breaks the model.

Therefore, stop pushing the welfare state if you believe in being a libertine and start pushing libertarianism.

Shouting Thomas said...

And, have you ever thought, moron, that having a mother at home is a great luxury?

That a housewife might contribute tremendously to the well being and pleasure of family life?

I often looked enviously upon the homes of friends who had stay at home moms. Their houses were always clean and decorated. Meals were lavish and well planned. Their clothing was ironed and mended.

A harried household with no center is superior to this?

AJ Lynch said...

Let's consider one successful govt program from the 50's- the GI Bill.

It had few bells nor whistles nor qualifiers. If you were a veteran, you were entitled to the exact same benefit as other veterans no matter if your name was Rockefeller, Bush or Lil Abner.

Today, govt programs are all about your race, your other income, your neighborhood, your eye color [I jest], etc. Hence they are manned by huge govt workforces who push papers and consult the ridiculously complex regulations before they deny your benefits.

If someone wants to design new govt programs they should look to the GI bill and keei it f-ng simple.

traditionalguy said...

The psychologists were just beginning to discover Madison Avenue's power to mind control a mass audience.This was empowered by the new radios that had a picture screens, called TVs. It took another 30 years before the psychologists were safe to ignore the old timers who still recognized that there was a real world and a fictional world. After 1988 the fictions presented to the audience are the reality. So sad, too bad. The 1950s took 30 years to go away. But the internet, still uncensored, is raising again the claims of the real world against the Journolist machine. The internet alone destroyed the Hoax of All Time that once painted co2 as a dangerous pollutant without fear of reality. Stay tuned.

Trapper Townshend said...

Liberalism today is an ossified pose in which it's forever 1968, and the benefits of a country recently united around a common cause, forced to sacrifice heavily, humbled by a depression, and enjoying primacy in a world economy in which the other countries have blown each other up can be taken for granted while other, exciting, let's-make-change issues are focused on.

It seems worth pointing out that many conservatives also long to return to the "Midcentury Moment," as it's called. One could accuse them, in turn, of seeming to forget that people were often treated badly because of their race, religion, or orientation, and that large numbers of people openly held and voiced unconscionable opinions about, say, segregation, interracial marriage, and homosexuality.

But anybody who looks back fondly on any time in history could be accused of overlooking lots of horrible things, because there has never been a time in history when there weren't lots of horrible things going on. Maybe both liberals and conservatives look back fondly on this period (and I think both do, in their own ways) because it was a pretty good time for America.

Chase said...

the notion that belief in big government depends on cultural uniformity

Professor Ann,

Are. You. Fucking. Serious?

That is the very definiton of today's liberal AND leftist AND Democrat (sorry - they are all inextricably linked in 2011).

Let's see - who wants to control the and conform the lives of others down to the smallest detail? Is it conservatives who want:

● to force the entire American population to live in the liberal vision of cities, helped by going down to the detail of even making cul-de-sacs illegal (Al Gore)?

● forcing Americans into mass transit and the unwanted and economy draining trains-to- nowhere (Obama)?

● mandating what Americans can and cannot eat?

● preventing Americans from selling or developing property without the approval of the Federal EPA?

● restricting the ability of Americans to defend themselves by preventing and demolishing gun ownership?

Everyone of the above is being actively pursued by Democrats on a national level TODAY

We're at the edge of there being a new psychological definition of liberalism as equaling narcissism with delusions of grandeur (insert any liberal name here __________ ).

Drew said...

I'm just not sure I buy Barone's premise. I think we're far more culturally-uniform today than we have been at any time in the nation's history. Everyone watches the same television, listens to the same nationally-syndicated top-40 radio, reads the same websites. There aren't the stark regional differences there used to be.

Children in rural Alabama know all about Lady Gaga.

Perhaps it's not nostalgia for cultural uniformity, but nostalgia for something other than what passes for culture today.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Liberals forget a lot of things.

Drew said...

Expanding on what I said above, if you consider the current cultural swamp as a result of leftist control of all forms of mass media . . . again it makes me wonder why they'd long for a time when they hadn't yet brainwashed everyone.

bagoh20 said...

The 50's were not conformist for individuals in my life. People were defying the published norms more than now. If you did something like interracial marriage, cohabitation, or drugs - which all happened in my family - then people might talk or laugh about you, but unlike violating today's norms, they didn't call the cops, hire a lawyer or get you fired over it. There was an acceptance of the freedom if not the choice itself.

I know my parents never felt as controlled and legally threatened by the social norms of their time as I do today. I live under the threat of being sued or having the government get all in my shit if I even say the wrong thing to the wrong person or in the wrong place. In the 50's the Stalinists were only in charge of the Soviet people.

bagoh20 said...

These aren't your daddy's liberals today.

Trapper Townshend said...

Everyone watches the same television, listens to the same nationally-syndicated top-40 radio, reads the same websites. There aren't the stark regional differences there used to be.

Nonsense. Just as an example, the numbers who watched the finale of MASH versus the numbers of any particular show today.

Robert Cook said...

The author seems to have invented his notion of "liberal nostalgia" out of whole cloth simply to push his thesis.

bagoh20 said...

I deal with government regulations from OSHA to EPA every day. Nearly every discussion with a regulator, bureaucrat or inspector includes them saying at some point, in some form: "I know it doesn't make any sense, but that's the way the law is, and you have to do it."

Even liberals don't like the smell of their own shit. They just think it's important shit, and worth living with. They are wrong on both parts.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

How old are you Curious George? (I'm guessing younger than 30) Your description of the 50's is ridiculous and distorted. I remember the 50's and I have photos to prove it.

Hardly describes the 50's. Mom's didn't work....and it wasn't for "pleasure". It was for the benefit of others...their kids. You had to go without to buy a house, send kids off to college, take a f*cking vacation. Spring break in Disney World? Nope. Designer cloths? What were those. Large families...pleasure?

First of all people in the 50's were happy to be alive. The war was not just a distant memory and neither was the Great Depression forgotton.

People had jobs. My mom worked too. Kids were free to play and enjoy life. The pleasures of life, included large families that you could FEED and CLOTHE. Happiness was not strictly in material things.

DisneyLAND was invented in the 50's and people were able to take vacations that they could never dream of previously. Gasoline was cheap, almost everyone could own a car and even dream of owning a house, food abundant, life was relatively safe......People minded their own business, helped their neighbors when needed and the government was not intrusive like it is now. Omnipresent and opressive.

You seem to think that happiness is material goods. I think it is freedom and the simple things that make life worth living.

People in the 50's enjoyed life, cars, music, arts, food and FREEDOM.

Trapper Townshend said...

The 50's were not conformist for individuals in my life. People were defying the published norms more than now. If you did something like interracial marriage, cohabitation, or drugs - which all happened in my family - then people might talk or laugh about you, but unlike violating today's norms, they didn't call the cops, hire a lawyer or get you fired over it. There was an acceptance of the freedom if not the choice itself.

Well, it matters that there wasn't an acceptance of the choice itself. Maybe it didn't matter in your family, but it mattered to a lot of people. And, of course, there were laws against, say, interracial marriage at the time. It's a bit blinkered to present the '50s as this era of unambiguously greater freedom when social opinion - which is powerful - and actual laws on the books were present just because people in your family flouted them.

You mention interracial marriage -- an example of something that was wrongly stigmatized. What about something which is rightly stigmatized, like having kids out of wedlock? Don't you think that people not accepting the choice itself, to use your framing, is, or can be, a very powerful tool to stigmatize stuff? Maybe in your family it's not, but if conservativism is to work at all, it better be a powerful tool for most people.

Sofa King said...

Liberals labor under the delusion that society is a product of government, rather than the other way around.

Scott M said...

You seem to think that happiness is material goods.

Judging by the explosion in advertising for all things home, so did everyone in the 50's.

Shouting Thomas said...

DBQ,

This liberal myth (courtesy of feminism) that family life is a nightmare that needs to be escaped or destroyed...

What can you say about it?

Marriage and children are the great pleasures of middle class life.

Sofa King said...

You mention interracial marriage -- an example of something that was wrongly stigmatized. What about something which is rightly stigmatized, like having kids out of wedlock?

You're begging the question by presuming to know whether a stigma is "right" or "wrong." It's ultimately a product of the society, so your choice is not "good ones or bad ones," it's "having them or not."

Scott M said...

Marriage and children are the great pleasures of middle class life.

Why does that apply only to the middle class? Are you suggesting they're nothing but a burden to the poor and an annoyance to the affluent?

JAL said...

... belief in big government depends on cultural uniformity?

Without reading the article my first reaction to this was "Yes."

Seriously -- look at the big government places ... Europe, most dictatorships - Venezuela, Cuba, Middle East.

To have big government you have to have control.

In this case control means citizens MUST accept the PC line of the government on all things or they will be deprived of what it takes for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Really not so different than the 50s expectations, if one thinks about it. Just a different group writing the "rules" (and regulations).

Control means rules and regulations which NEVER decrease. NEVER. As long as there are government bureaucrats and czars it will never reach anything near a balance, much less gov't being simply a framework which provides pragmatic (for the citizens) structure -- almost behind the scenes -- in which they are free to live and do business and serve as THEY see fit.

For example -- until the Commerce Clause is thrown out on its ass as it is being used these days (the Founding Fathers are spinning) there is no hope.

Until Cass Sustein's office is unfunded and he is sent back to Harvard or wherever there is no hope.

Until the EPA learns there is NO risk free life, there is no hope.

Until the Dept of Energy statrs looking at ways to MAKE ENERGY AVAILABLE to the people of the US instead of hamstringing every plan, every innovation -- there is no hope.

Until the Dept of Education and every other department understansds they work for us, there is no hope. (Get rid of the Dept of Education to start with.)

No more unfunded mandates, period, guys.

No mandates unless it in is to support American citizens and legal immigrants in their lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Get out of our way.

The independents and the tea partiers have not faded away guys. We are gearing up.

I cannot wait until 2012.

We want our country back.

bagoh20 said...

Because we are so much more connected today we are naturally more uniform. In the 50's different parts of the country had no idea what other people thought about things. For example, living in rural Pennsylvania, I had no idea how many communists there were in Madison. Now I see them in their cute outfits and sing-a-longs all the time. It almost looks normal to me now.

JAL said...

And not to the "good old days."

We can make good new days.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"You seem to think that happiness is material goods."

Judging by the explosion in advertising for all things home, so did everyone in the 50's.

It wasn't just the possession of material things for the mere fact of accumulation...like owning designer jeans when other jeans are just as good for covering your ass.

The explosion was in that people COULD finally own something.....own ANYTHING....after the deprivations of the Depression and Wartime Shortages. The explosion of labor saving devices for the home was a reflection of the greatly improved economy.

There was a similar explosion of household type advertising before the Depression when times were good. Granted, there was not the amount of advertising outlets then as in the 50's because of television. But, just take a look at radio, magazines directed at women and traveling salesmen who brought the products that people in a good economy could buy that would make their lives easier.

Of course some people will always want to flaunt their 'things' their cars their houses with fancy lawns and new fangled barbeques. BUT....that wasn't the real point. The ABILITY to be able to own and live without want after decades of hardship is was made the 50's a time of the joy of just living.

Trapper Townshend said...

You're begging the question by presuming to know whether a stigma is "right" or "wrong." It's ultimately a product of the society, so your choice is not "good ones or bad ones," it's "having them or not."

Nonsense. Because we are human beings, and live on Earth, we're going to have stigmas -- as you put it. The question is, indeed, which ones we are to have.

The second a human being interacts with another human being, there are "stigmas." The world isn't a modernist play in which two characters stand on stage for two hours and talk to themselves. People have to earn money, eat, shelter themselves, find someone to have sex with, take care of their kids.

Shouting Thomas said...

Why does that apply only to the middle class? Are you suggesting they're nothing but a burden to the poor and an annoyance to the affluent?

No.

The exclusion was unintended.

But, I'm from Illinois, Land of Lincoln, who I think of as the great benefactor of the middle class.

I attended the University of Illinois, a Land Grant college created from the vision of Lincoln.

Middle class in the 50s extended down a lot further than it does today. Families who could put decent clothing on their children and adequately feed them were thought to be middle class when I was a kid.

roesch-voltaire said...

I guess both left and right each have their nostaligia myth building moments. I grew up in the fifties when my truck -driver step-father was able to buy a small three bedroom ranch in a new suburb connected to Milwaukee by the recent interstate. The family survived on his blue collar wage-- my mother did not work, but I worked in a gas station for .65 cent per hour to pay for my first car, and eventually worked my way through college. Our extended family all had blue collar jobs and managed to buy a home, and those who lived long enough are now retired living on social security and pensions on various lakes 'Up North." None of that is possible today.
Yes, there was a cultural uniformity along with isolation. There were clearly divides between the rich and the poor, the city and the country kids, the blacks and the whites. Most of us went to church, but a set of twins in high school were devote atheists who freely argued their position, and nobody stigmatized them, although the lone girl who became PG had to drop out of school. The only divorced folks that I knew were part of my immediate family, and I always felt odd explaining these events. Few of us lost our virginity before 1961. In hind sight, I think the economic opportunities across the class and skill levels combined with huge local and federal projects of revitalizing the cities, more than uniformity have to do making this time a bit mythic. That said, I may agree, to some extent, with this comment from a citizen of a country that seem to have a cultural uniformity-"many socialized governments provide critical support for business growth, including first class infrastructure built by the public sector, retraining of workers and public education systems that result in better-prepared workforces, comparative to the US. "There are a lot of areas where the role of government is a benefit for the businesses in these countries."

bagoh20 said...

"You mention interracial marriage -- an example of something that was wrongly stigmatized. What about something which is rightly stigmatized, like having kids out of wedlock? "

My family included that of course, but it was so common that it wasn't even much of an issue. My sister married a black guy, my other sister was born years before my mother married her father (her 3rd of 4 marriages). My family broke a lot of rules, but nobody ever mentioned it. We had a wide circle of friends, and most different from today, the government and legal system seemed like something far away and not our concern.

If we lived like that today, violating today's norms or even those of the 50's, The Dept. of Children's Services would have broken up our family who are still very close today.

Rialby said...

A Welfare State requires married couples having more than 2 children with little dependence on the Federal Government. In this scenario, only the edge cases - the tiny minority - would be covered by social programs. It's truly a safety net not safety floor.

When young people refuse to get married and refuse to have children OR refuse to get married and have children, we start to see the number of people requiring government assistance rise against the number of people who can pay for it. And then we have breakage.

Look to Europe first. They were decades ahead of us in this respect - they built socialist governments on the shifting sand of morality long before we did. And they are imploding.

elcrain said...

Nobody here has mentioned the big nasty blot at the back of every 1950's child's mind: The Bomb.

bagoh20 said...

"None of that is possible today."

Bullshit. My sister just bought a nice 3 bedroom home blocks from the ocean in Florida on a waitress's income. Homes are more expensive in some places simply because there are far more people inhabiting the same crowded places. In many parts of the country, homes are very affordable. I bought 2 last year myself - each for under $60K, completely remodeled 2 & 3 bedrooms. You are right about the myth making though.

Phil 3:14 said...

I'm confused now:
-They told me the 50's was the era of conformity and the Red Scare
-They told me the 60's was the era of riots and war
-They told me the 70's was the era of gas lines and stagflation
-They told me the 80's was the era of Reaganomics and crass consumerism
-They told me the 90's was the era of divided government and the tech bubble
-And finally they told me the 00's were the era unnecessary wars and terrorist threats

And now they're telling me those narratives were ALL WRONG!?

elcrain said...

Nobody here has mentioned the big nasty blot at the back of every 1950's child's mind: The Bomb.

Scott M said...

Nobody here has mentioned the big nasty blot at the back of every 1950's child's mind: The Bomb.

The 50's? It screwed with my head pretty good in the 80's.

Phil 3:14 said...

Professor says:

"Read the whole thing."

WSJ says:
CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING...
Save Over 80%! Start by Choosing a Subscription...

Scott M said...

And now they're telling me those narratives were ALL WRONG!?

My motto is that any narrative outside a Morgan Freeman voiceover is suspect.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Nobody here has mentioned the big nasty blot at the back of every 1950's child's mind: The Bomb

You know..... I don't recall having any angst about that.

Perhaps it was because we traveled quite a bit during that period and didn't stay in any particular school or place long enough to be indoctrinated into that fear or because my family was rather bohemian in outlook and didn't focus on political stuff.

It just wasn't something that I remember being worried about.

Trapper Townshend said...

My family included that of course, but it was so common that it wasn't even much of an issue. My sister married a black guy, my other sister was born years before my mother married her father (her 3rd of 4 marriages). My family broke a lot of rules, but nobody ever mentioned it. We had a wide circle of friends, and most different from today, the government and legal system seemed like something far away and not our concern. If we lived like that today, violating today's norms or even those of the 50's, The Dept. of Children's Services would have broken up our family who are still very close today.

Well, you would know better than I what your family did that would warrant such action, but I'm not sure I'm convinced that today's guvmint would act the way you claim. You haven't mentioned them doing anything that would bring in the feds in today's age, except for maybe drugs, and the war on drugs is hardly the responsibility solely of liberals.

bagoh20 said...

"many socialized governments provide critical support for business growth, including first class infrastructure built by the public sector, retraining of workers and public education systems that result in better-prepared workforces, comparative to the US. ".

Who do you think build the infrastructure and educates the people in the U.S...poorly? The Government.

Those countries that you describe who do it successfully, only can because for much of their socialist history they didn't have to defend themselves or anybody else, and they lived off of the consumerism of the U.S., with it's resultant innovation and world economy supporting vitality. Our government is sucking that dry now and it's drying up around the globe.

roesch-voltaire said...

Bag yes I agree housing in Florida is cheap. My neighbor just bought a few duplexes for next to nothing, but he single women who rents one from him, could not even afford the down payment and is now two months behind. Huge underemployment problems and over-building make this possible, which in no way mirrors my description of the fifties.

edutcher said...

Agree with shout on women working in the 50s, my mom did.

As to conformity, keep in mind most of the adults in that period went through the military in their late teens - early 20s and that shaped a lot of attitudes.

Also, the 50s and 60s were the payoff for the generation that grew up in the depression and survived WWII. The material goodies available from the only intact, functioning industrial plant in the world led to a more materialistic life generally. By the mid-50s, most homes had a TV, at least one car, and the basic household appliances (washer, etc.).

The sexual hedonism probably started in the late 50s, but didn't hit the culture until the Kennedys were all over the front pages.

thule222 said...

Society seems to do whatever the Boomers are doing. The 60's was rebellion, the 70's sex, the 80's materialism, the 90's having kids, the 00's helicopter parents. The 10's are nostalgia for the good old days when the Boomers were kids.

He forgot cowboys, private eyes and Barbie dolls in the 50s.

Something else available in the 50s: ways to spoil the kids.

WV "sablatio" What the Mrs does to Larry on Saturday night.

bagoh20 said...

"but I'm not sure I'm convinced that today's guvmint would act the way you claim. "

The drugs, the spanking, the alcohol and the smoking around the kids, being left home alone while the parents worked.

Those things today could get either a SWAT team busting down our door and shooting the dog, or Children's Services removing the children for their own good. The thing is, many today think it would be justified. Don't you? Our family was very happy and my childhood was fantastic, despite all the "dangers".

carrie said...

But the 40s, 50s and early 60s were before the Great Society and all the big government social programs that followed. It was also a time when religious values dominated society and people took great pride in fulfilling their duties to God, their families and their country. The democrats don't think that people have duties anymore (other than the duty to do what makes you happy), which is why the democrats keep creating social programs to do things that people used to think that they had to do for themselves.

garage mahal said...

-"many socialized governments provide critical support for business growth, including first class infrastructure built by the public sector, retraining of workers and public education systems that result in better-prepared workforces, comparative to the US.

And since the 1980s, stocks of those socialized countries have outperformed stocks of the U.S.

Drew said...

Everyone watches the same television, listens to the same nationally-syndicated top-40 radio, reads the same websites. There aren't the stark regional differences there used to be.

Nonsense. Just as an example, the numbers who watched the finale of MASH versus the numbers of any particular show today.

You're just talking about the expansion of choice in television entertainment. What I'm talking about is the fact that the same entertainment goes everywhere. The whole nation is exposed to the same notion of what is popular, but also through entertainment (and here I include news) what is good, what is right, what is acceptable -- and of course (perhaps more importantly), what isn't. Look no further than the absolute brainwashing of everyone under the age of 30 to be little Greenists, accepting without question the whole Global Warming scam.

The leftists have created a new Puritanism, as suggested upthread, under which we must all conform to their ideas of proper behavior.

We have dangerous cultural uniformity right now, and I fear for the world my children will inherit. Will they ever know a time we didn't all suckle at the government teat? Will they know what real freedom is like?

KLDAVIS said...

"Do you buy this — the notion that belief in big government depends on cultural uniformity?"

Of course...if we're all one big hippy family, expansion is fine. But, once you're smart enough to realize that government hand-outs are a zero-sum game and someone out there is just taking the money you worked to earn, then you'll have a problem.

Peter said...

Perhaps they've been reading Galbraith's "The Affluent Society"

This "Affluent Society" envisioned by Galbraith consisted of big government and big corporations.

As Galbraith saw it, all innovation in the future would come from these giant corporations, as no one else could afford the necessary R&D.

And these corporations would be paternalistic, providing high wages and endless benefits. They'd do this because they could afford to, because barriers to market entry gave them pricing power in the marketplace. And unions would impose pattern contracts on entire industries, which would inhibit low-cost competitors.

Which is why RCA and IMB are the dominant players in electronics manufacturing today, and Detroit's Big Three dominate the world automotive industry.

Or perhaps not- actually, in reading this it's hard to see how Galbraith could have been so wrong.

And the reasons why he was wrong are the reasons why this Liberal vision is not very likely.

But if there's one thing that has changed, it's respect for authority. Why, people were just *shocked* that Pres. Eisenhower lied about Gary Power's U-2 spy plane (it was an off-course weather plane, he said, not realizing that the pilot and plane had been captured).

Trapper Townshend said...

The drugs, the spanking, the alcohol and the smoking around the kids, being left home alone while the parents worked. Those things today could get either a SWAT team busting down our door and shooting the dog, or Children's Services removing the children for their own good. The thing is, many today think it would be justified. Don't you? Our family was very happy and my childhood was fantastic, despite all the "dangers".

Victor Davis Hanson has written a number of essays recently about the "two Californias," in which busybody guvmint types bust middle-class people in industry and agriculture through lots of intrusive nanny-state regs, but a vast underclass gets away with pretty much everything. Many of the behaviors you talk about are mentioned by him as quite common among this underclass.

I think you're being a bit hysterical. I'm not convinced that there's any less drinking around kids than there used to be, or that kids aren't still being left alone while their parents work just as often. My point about people getting busted for drugs being as much related to conservative attitudes as liberal attitudes still stands.

I was raised more recently than you were, and the behaviors you discuss happened in my family, too. And happened in the families of a lot of the other kids around me. Children's Services did not removed any of these children from the homes of the families.

To answer your question, no, I don't think it's justified. I agree that today's government is too bad and it intrudes on our freedoms in a number of ways and that to a large extent this is due to liberalism. But I think conservatives also romanticize the "Midcentury Moment," just as liberals do -- there's certainly evidence for that here in the comments -- only they overlook different things.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"...And since the 1980s, stocks of those socialized countries have outperformed stocks of the U.S..."

USA! USA!

Socialism, fuck yeah!

bagoh20 said...

"in reading this it's hard to see how Galbraith could have been so wrong."

Well, back in the day, I bought it. There was a belief in bigness in the 50 - 70s. Big company's and governments had accomplished great things. But, it was a "moment" before they became monsters of control and killers of innovation.

This is the problem I have with modern liberals. They are dinosaurs, still believing the myths developed from "the moment" when people and their companies, and even their governments were still free, motivated, and effective.

Regulation and unionization has worked together to make the simple impossible, and liberals seems to have not noticed at all. Once-easy things like road building or going to the moon, or winning a war are now impossible.

Trapper Townshend said...

We have dangerous cultural uniformity right now, and I fear for the world my children will inherit. Will they ever know a time we didn't all suckle at the government teat? Will they know what real freedom is like?

I'm not sure there's ever been a time when people didn't fear for the world their children would inherit, and maybe they wouldn't be very good parents if they didn't.

Socialism was on the march, globally, in the mid-20th century, and modern liberalism was a threat then just like it is now.

Classifying all under-30-somethings as "culturally uniform" is about as dumb as all the baby boomers who complain that *all* baby boomers are narcissistic liberals, except for themselves. As far as I can tell, there are about an equal number of baby boomers complaining about the liberalism of baby boomers as there are baby boomers who actually are liberals. Hardly a monolithic force in politics or culture.

The next generation will not be a solid bloc of liberals because liberalism is culturally dead. The world moves on. Something that can't go on forever, won't.

Teach your kids principles and how to work with their hands and be self-sufficient and encourage them to develop skills that have practical value. Don't treat them like victims of horrible liberals and the world they've wrought or like they must think a certain way as a result of some category they belong to (those born after 1981).

William said...

America is more a continent than a country, and anything you chose to say about it is true of some neighborhood somewhere....I'm fairly maladjusted. I've always longed for a static environment. My feeling was that if the world held still for a while, I could find a way to adjust to it. It's never happened.....Also many here mourn not for a lost ethos, but for their own lost youth. I have a friend who likes to tell me how much nicer people were in NYC in the seventies when she first moved here. The seventies! Can you imagine someone with their head so far up their ass as to be nostalgic for the seventies.... I knew her back then. She was very pretty at that time, and now she's not. She's quite right in her observation that people were nicer back then, but it's not what I would call a universal truth.......Nostalgia, as they say, ain't what it used to be, and no one can predict the past. In thirty years some poor bastard is going to be observing how much music has degenerated since the golden age of Lady Gaga.

Carol_Herman said...

The liberals are in so much trouble, it's becoming easy to diagnose the problem. But the ability to fix it, flew out the window.

WW2 was the last American war that was fought with the People on boadr! All the others that followed are quagmires.

While wars, ahead, are going to be different.

I'll give an example.

let's say Israel goes to war, again. It will be over in 15-minutes. Sure. It can start with iran throwing a nuke. But the nuke has a very good chance of landing in Senegal. Iran doesn't have "accurate" weapons. They've only weaponized propaganda.

Propaganda is just another word for "belligerence." And, the best thing to do is let those who use belligerence knock themselves out. Those aren't arguments you win. Those are arguments you watch as those using it knock themselves out.

By now, you should know hitler lost. And, stalin, in his end years, was terrified to leave the kremlin.

How do you win a war in 15 minutes, you might ask?

Well, look at STUXNET. You know it appeared. You know it somehow conked out iran's nuclear equipment. And, you probably know there's parts of STUXNET that still lurk around. Somewhere.

Have you noticed North Korea isn't threatening nuke assaults?

Did you know from Pakistan to North Korea, the technology is old? And, degrades? Nebraska just had a melt down. Because the floods did something to the cooling rods. WHich caused great local (we hope only local) damage.

Japan is also dealing with this old nuke technology.

The Chinese, however, have marched ahead. They don't even use uranium. They use the soft metal, Thorium. Which is so soft you carve a brick of it with a knife. Like butter.

In China, the egg crates shake ... producing a lot less heat. But everything is scaled smaller. And, when the thorium is no longer active, sand grains drop to the ground, harmlessly.

In the future, it's not going to be long drawn out quagmires.

And, Israel won't go in and build roads for people who hate her. And, refuse to see she has a right to exist.

Libya? Did you know it was a sand pile? Do you know Italy is OUT. And, NATO didn't accomplish a thing. And, Q-Daffy started out have enough military hardware ... that he was unbeatable.

Oh, yeah. Obama wants to provoke the arabs into a conventional attack on Israel.

Then? He'll have the UN attack Israel further. While off to the side the EURO is blowing up all on its own.

And, lots of Americcans have lost sympathy for all the old bullshit. Hollywood can't even turn out blockbusters!

So, no. People aren't unified.

But the elites? What do they have in terms of ground? A few slices of land along both coasts. And, all their jokes for "fly over country."

Where's Norman Rockwell when you need him?

Oh, I meant to add, in spite of obama's hatred for Israel, lot of Americans, who aren't Jewish, dislike obama no end. And, this is the capping stone on his career.

When it comes the time to build obama's monument ... they'll just put up teleprompters. How many? I dunno. But enough to make it look like it's presidential timber.

bagoh20 said...

What happened? My circle of friends being young people, we were pretty uniformly hippie liberal, but as Trapper points out, we ended up on both sides of the continuum. What made some of us change so dramatically and other not? We even lived reasonably similar lives later as well, but still ended up very different politically. I've looked at it. People of both directions either attended or didn't attend college, were religious or not, all got jobs, some made families and some didn't, etc. This part is really confusing: Some became government teat suckers, but many of those also became conservative.

One thing that does stand out, and Crack makes this point all day, the ones ending up liberal, have a high tendency to believe in New Age ideas. I don't know which comes first but there is definitely a correlation.

bagoh20 said...

Carol Herman, you kill me. It's like stream of consciousness - which I usually hate - but I Like yours.

I know everybody is saying: "No, don't encourage her."

garage mahal said...

Some became government teat suckers, but many of those also became conservative.

Conservatives suck on all kinds of government teats. Ever heard of lobbyists or the Chamber of Commerce?

Patrick said...

"Do you buy this — the notion that belief in big government depends on cultural uniformity?"

I don't think "big government" is a goal in itself for the left. It is what big government will (they suppose) offer: safety, freedom from fear of consequences, freedom to make decisions without consequence and the power to make others do things they might not otherwise want to do, because those "others" don't have the proper outlook on things. So, a large government can function without homogeneity, but it cannot function as the left would like, without a general consensus on a generally leftist ideology, such that the populous will generally agree to enforce the norms they would like.

Trooper York said...

The fifties worked better because the old white guys were in charge. Just sayn'

Patrick said...

Garage: certainly business sucks on all kinds of government teats, no question. The question is, however is it a conservative policy to allow such sucking? It's not. It is another question entirely whether, once the game is on, should a "true conservative" participate or not. But it has long been the notion on the left that big business, or even business in general favors free market policies. This is not true. Most businesses hire lobbyists to exempt themselves from the free market. This is called Crony Capitalism, a branch of capitalism relied upon by Pres. Obama at least as much as previous presidents - usually just a question of which cronies reap the benefits. See, e.g. Obamacare waivers, corporate bailouts benefiting the unions, etc.

bagoh20 said...

"certainly business sucks on all kinds of government teats, no question."

I think that's a bull, cause the teat keeps growing the more you suck.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"...Conservatives suck on all kinds of government teats..."

Liberals just suck, period.

garage mahal said...

You've been a little off lately Hoosier. Everything alright at home?

SunnyJ said...

Point of diminishing return...we never seem to learn that lesson. It is always more for the sake of more, and every positive aspect in life is eventually ruined by not adhereing to this priniciple.

Those that differ here on their 50's experience do so because there were actually differing cultural existences going on...right next door...or down the block. We just weren't acting it out in the public square, it was in our homes. Everyone thought everyone "did it that way"...who knew? It was surprising to go to someone's home, event or party and find out there were all kinds of different ways to do and behave. Townies came out to visit their country cousins and loved it...country cousins went to town and lived it up.

The idea to "force" acceptance had some merit but like everything else, it was pushed beyond the point of diminishing return and becomes too costly to freedom and the checkbook. But, the more is more crowd rushes on and ideas that had brought some merit become destructive to free thinking.

As a society we've found the gas pedal to promote an idea we've just never found the brakes.

Chip S. said...

Seems to me that a lot of the mystique of the '50s stems from how big a departure they were from the past. There hadn't been much in the way of downtown building since before the Depression, aside from federal buildings. Then all of a sudden, sitting across from each other on Park Avenue, there are Lever House and the Seagram Building. The auto industry had been busy cranking out war materiel instead of cars until '46, and the really new designs didn't start rolling out until the '50s--when Harley Earl designed cars that invoked airplanes. And as for air travel itself, has there ever been a bigger single step forward in transportation than the switch from the DC-6 to the B-707?

How could people not have thought that progress was limitless and inevitable, in times like that? Well, white people anyway.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"...You've been a little off lately Hoosier. Everything alright at home?..."

Things are grand. It's summer, already blew threw one propane tank with all the drilling I'm doin. Got close to 450 miles on the Trek, and last week I ran over a bunny while mowing the lawn.

Life couldn't be better.

Cedarford said...

Do you buy this — the notion that belief in big government depends on cultural uniformity?
=========================
NO.
I accept the belief that successful government depends on a population that has accepted certain standards and norms and - together - all wants the same certain things from government by a solid majority.

The Yugoslavian cheer from Sarajevo Olympics "Diversity is our Greatest strength!" - tends to fail in actual practice as different cultures in the same nation but wanting different things eventually cause government to lose effectiveness and coherency as they succor competing special interest groups.
(Unless held together by a Tito, a Saddam Hussein, or cabal of old gray men with blood on their hands and a Gulag system)

Hoosier Daddy said...

No 50s for me. Music sucked, fashion sucked, girls looked like they were 40 when they were 17. And there were no thongs. No wonder people went fucking insane in the 60s.

I'll take the 80s when music was great, we dressed Sharp and had a President who knew what he was doing.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Oh and that should be grilling. I am doing some drilling too. If you get my drift.

Chip S. said...

Nebraska just had a melt down.

Big difference between a meltdown and a shutdown, Carol, although as of 5 hours ago neither had occurred in Nebraska.

David R. Graham said...

'"This is a period of grinding "cultural uniformity."'

I haven't read all of Shouting Thomas' notes here but the several I have read compel me to say he speaks the truth. Especially in comparing the 50s with now.

The 50s in USA were a time of great expansion, enthusiasm, experimentation. I could ride my bike (balloon tire Schwinn) from Claremont to San Bernardino or Pasadena on US 66 and no one though a thing about it. I did that summers 8th-@12th grade. Little were people fearful, excepting regarding the Russians, but that was distant at the street and home level. Confidence in our Armed Forces existed, an assumed competence and duty done.

Today is a time of contraction, fear, women gripping their lives in the palms of their hands. Or, alternatively, strutting, swishing about arrogantly, throwing bombs of anger indiscriminately because they can, which is as destructive as fear.

No one has ever explained why "the 60s" got started. It started at Berkeley with Mario Savio. But why, how, who was behind it? External agent?

There was no internal reason for the explosion that was "the 60s." We were happy.

This would make a fine subject for an epidemiological study: trace the origin and spread of the virus/parasite that was "the 60s", the virus that said it was for freedom and "change" but that produced contraction and fear in a host that was healthy.

The host was duped by the virus into thinking the virus was good for the host. As I say, an epidemiological study, perhaps a doctoral dissertation to describe what happened. Such would be valuable.

mariner said...

carrie,

The democrats don't think that people have duties anymore (other than the duty to do what makes you happy) ...


Democrats today think that everyone else has the duty to do what makes THEM happy.

mariner said...

Drew,

I fear for the world my children will inherit. Will they ever know a time we didn't all suckle at the government teat? Will they know what real freedom is like?

Probably not.

Scott M said...

Will they ever know a time we didn't all suckle at the government teat? Will they know what real freedom is like?

If things keep going swirly like they are, they'll never have the chance.

Chip S. said...

Will they know what real freedom is like?

In one unfortunate sense, perhaps: Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose.

mariner said...

David R. Graham,

No one has ever explained why "the 60s" got started. It started at Berkeley with Mario Savio. But why, how, who was behind it? External agent?

Soviet communists. No, I'm not kidding.

Kruschev said, "We will bury you!" He was right, he just didn't live to see it.

Scott M said...

Kruschev said, "We will bury you..."

"...I don't subscribe to that point of view,
It's such an ignorant thing to do
If the Russians love their children too"

I'm a Sting fan (minus the role in that abortion they called Dune), but, even as a teenager I thought this was stupid.

Andy Freeman said...

DisneyLAND opened in July 1955. It was built in exactly one year.

Disneyworld opened in Oct, 1971. Construction started in 67, planning in 65, and land purchases started in 64.

No one went to disneyworld in the 50s for spring break or anything else.

cubanbob said...

Sure the fifties were a time when blue collar workers could make such achievements, how could it have been when the US accounted for 40% of the world's economy? Today we are at 17% and the trend line is going down.

caplight said...

Shouting, I was born in 1951. Lived middle, middle class suburban Philly. I disagree with your characterization of the fifties as a time of hedonism. And I'm not a moron, maroon or macaroon. The vast majority of mothers in my area didn't work. Very few families went through divorce. People saved for what they wanted. They rarely if ever bought an item to be noticed with perhaps the exception of a car. Lot's of community involvement. personal responsibility and postponing of gratification. Churches out the wazoo and all well attended. People lived in the same houses for twenty and thirty years or more. Maybe it was different where you grew up. So many of the fathers of my friends were just glad to be alive after the war that they lived with a different kind of appreciation for life, family and community. And yes my next next door neighbors dad had a stash of Playboys.

caplight said...

I think there is a difference between uniformity and cultural consensus. I think the fifties were the latter more than the former.

jamboree said...

Well, I've always said that Socialism only worked well in Sweden and not other places because only Sweden is full of Swedish people. Recently Sweden is less full of Swedish people and Socialism is not working as well there as it used to.

So, eeerrrr...yes, I think it helps.

Trooper York said...

I like Ike.

Trooper York said...

Senate Majority Leader LBJ.

Trooper York said...

Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn.

Trooper York said...

Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirckson.

Trooper York said...

House Minority Leader John Martin.

Trooper York said...

I mean Joseph Martin. Or Charley Halleck.

dick said...

How can you have the one without the other. Ifyou don't have the conformity, then the belief in big government will not hold.

James said...

"Do you buy this — the notion that belief in big government depends on cultural uniformity?"

Big government can only do a limited number of things. And to do them efficiently, the things it does should not conflict or undermine each other. In order to agree on what limited things Big Government does, you have to have cultural uniformity.

In my opinion, Brown vs Board of Education destroyed the veneer of uniform consensus regarding what America should be and what government should do to ensure that identity.

Phil 3:14 said...

And since the 1980s, stocks of those socialized countries have outperformed stocks of the U.S.

OK now I'm REALLY confused. First you tell me liberals are saying the '50's were good.

Now you're telling me liberals can use the stock market as a measure of success of social welfare programs!!

gutless said...

"... it was a time of enormous cultural uniformity that stigmatized being unmarried or unchurched or gay." I don't remember it that way but it sure would be great.

Dad29 said...

If you had the money, and you wanted to blow it to hell in the 50s... well, just about everybody though that that was your right.

Couples had 5 or 6 children without worrying about whether they were polluting the environment.

The 50s was the heydey of American hedonism.


Whatever you shout.