26.9.11

THE MONUMENTS WE'VE DESTROYED.

Columnist Clarence Page ruminates on the recent run of television shows, including Mad Men and Pan Am, set in the days just before the Kennedy assassination and the Consciousness Revolution.
The new retro TV dramas offer us sexism and other problems in a comfortably safe form for today's audiences. They offer a past that was much worse than today, but also one that offers directions to a better future.
That's the view of history from the perspective of the winners of the first round.  The final verdict might be different.
Pennsylvania Station came down and first President Kennedy, then Senator Kennedy, were murdered, and The America that Worked(TM) had to be deconstructed for its sins, rather than have its redeeming features extended, which was the original civil rights vision.
The background to the intrigues and hypocrisy merits further study.  Those properly-suited, fedora-wearing account executives were able to support a family (or a mistress and alimony) on one paycheck.  There were no security checks at Idlewild Airport, apparently no protracted "boarding process".  Pan American with its brand new 707s probably set the standard for transoceanic travel.  And construction season meant the provision of new roads, not perpetual resurfacing of existing roads.

A Victor Hanson essay hopes for the spread of the Consciousness Revolution to the emerging countries.
My expectation is that soon that the affluent of suddenly rich China and India will come down with the Western disease that we see endemically in Europe and among our own, even as America snaps out of it, and recommits itself to self-reliance and wealth creation.
Suppose, though, that these countries avoid a culture war, and keep those trappings of The America that Worked(TM) that preclude the worst features of "do your own thing" amid their new-found prosperity.

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