The good old days

One of the core tenants of progressivism these days seems to be the feeling that true progress can only be made by constantly, unquestioningly moving forward. The idea that all that is good lies ahead and that looking in the rear view mirror to anything that might have seemed better or worked better in the past is only useless nostalgia. Strict discipline in the schools was more effective in maintaining a stable learning environment fifty years ago? Hard to argue with, but any attempt to re-impose that which has been proven more effective, is met with howls from some quarters of repression or authoritarianism, of harming children’s self-esteem, of looking back instead of forward, and it is all tossed out the window as something tried and failed, without regard that maybe they had some of it right in the “good old days”. 

Belmont Club has a post up this morning on how out of control this strain of progressivism has become in Great Britain and serves as a warning of what can happen when good intentions and political correctness replace common sense and the hard won experience of past generations.  Coming to a school near you? A real progress must look to the past for what works and what doesn’t as we move forward. Anything less is merely groping blindly in a dark room, hoping we remember where the stair well is.


15 responses to “The good old days

  1. Those who didn’t live in it, always want to go back to the idyllik past that never was.
    This same false memory syndrome infects the tea party movement, which harks back to some imagined time when the United States was a sylvan utopia where everyone walked around peacefully carrying guns and doing whatever they wanted to.
    Nothing could be further from the truth. It was a golden age that never was.
    Sue Lowden, the Republican contender for U.S Senator from Nevada is a good example. Her idea for containing health-care costs is trading chickens for check-ups. like in the “old days”. She makes Sarah Palin sound like an intellectual wonk.

    • This “false memory syndrome” could just as easily have been used against those who fought to free the slaves or against the civil rights movement. The beauty of our Constitution and Declaration of Independence is that all the tools we need are right there if only we chose to use them. You misunderstand the Tea Party movement. It is not a backward looking movement or one that seeks a utopia, but rather one that looks ahead to a time when we might finally adhere again to those principals of free men and women deciding their own affairs without undue interference from a distant federal government as put forth in our founding documents.

      I would dispute that there was never a golden age in this country. I would submit that that age was from our founding as a country until the onset of the civil war. A common perception among people is that the civil war was fought over slavery when in fact the issue of states rights as understood in the constitution was primary. Of course this issue was deeply flawed due to the southern states reliance on slavery, and federal intervention was certainly warranted in this instance. Since the reestablishment of the Union however, the federal government, having asserted itself justifiably over the southern states perceived right to treat some humans as chattel based on their race, has increasingly over the following 150 years insinuated itself into countless other areas best left to state and local governance. This incremental insinuation of federal power undertaken by both of our political parties over decades has now reached a tipping point under the current administration. No one in the Tea Party movement is seeking a utopia. Unlike their counterparts on the Left, they know that there is no such thing. A government comprising the people of individual states with power remaining as close to a local level as possible, with the federal government concerning itself primarily with national defense and the general welfare of its citizens, will always be a more effective government. This is essentially what the Tea Party movement is about.

  2. Blah, blah, blah.

    A) The only people still under the misconception that the civil war had anything to do specifically with slavery are the modern-day Southerners in an effort to convince people at a dinner party that the civil war wasn’t at all about slavery; but purely about states rights.

    Beyond some random racist blogger, or an inept grade school level teacher, no one, I repeat no one, still teaches the overly simplistic view that the civil war was fought solely over slavery. When was the last time you were enrolled in a history class, 1974? Oh, I guess that is in fact the last time; in high school……. You can’t just read it on the interweb, then turn right around and claim that that is what is being taught in schools; held as common belief – or what normal, rational people, are thinking. My kids definitely don’t think that simplistically, do yours?

    B) The civil war was, pure and simple, about the right to secede from the Union; and secondly, SECONDLY, the individual state’s rights in regard to enacting laws that the rest of the country find repugnant and contrary to the greater ideals that this country was founded on.

    For instance: (in the declaration of independence) where it states that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”, etc, etc. And: (from the bill of rights) “prohibits the federal government from depriving any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. – Wouldn’t you say that these two small examples kind of go against the very concept of slavery? But there was nothing in the constitution that specifically prohibited slavery……oops. So, should it have been up to each state to make all of it’s own laws regarding this? Which ones should be universal, and which ones should be left up the the individual states? It sounds like in your personal utopia, they should be able to decide whatever they want. Hang those lefties up in Mane or out in California, that’s not how we do it around here!

    If it were 1863 and you lived in a state that allowed slavery, it was an easy cop-out (and it still is) to say that the war isn’t at all about a state’s right to slavery; but solely about a states right to make slavery perfectly legal by a vote of it’s people. Big difference there; in the eyes of lawyers and states rights zealots that is.

    What if a certain state wanted to make it legal to kill your wife if you caught her cheating on you? What if your state decided that there was no such thing as murder at all (if you had a good reason that is) Or that it’s a-ok beat your kids senseless, or force children to work in sweat shops or coal mines, or openly discriminate against a certain race, or steal from another person, etc, etc. Where do you draw the line?

    Everybody agrees with (most) of the big picture concepts that the tea-partiers are expounding, but it’s just not that easy to draw a hard line, where national interest overrides state’s rights.

    You have to give up some things, sometimes, to be part of a greater thing. It’s true, there is no Utopia. Everyone understands that; right and left. But do the tea-baggers? They seem to want to have their cake (autonomy) and eat it too (all the benefits that go along with being a US state)

    I just think they’re a bunch of “me first, screw everyone else” complainers. That’s my take on ’em at least.

    Here is a good one I read the other day on “the good old days”:


    And what do you think of this:

    • You know what really pisses me off? Typing out a long, well reasoned response and then accidentally hitting the return key and watching it disappear into the ether. Shit.

      I will say brother, that you are building air castles. You and mother will know what I am referring to with that last sentence. Go back and read my response to her comment and tell me where I advocated any of this. I stated clearly that it is entirely appropriate for the Federal government to intervene in especially egregious circustances such as slavery or any of the other red herrings that you just tossed up. These would all certainly fall under the general welfare clause of the Constitution. The concept of the general welfare being rather opaque however, it is the right of the people to determine it’s limits within certain boundaries, not the right of the government to impose those limits upon us to no end. We are a fairly reasonable people. I am confident that honor killings or no fault murder are not right around the corner if people at a local level are allowed to determine their own affairs. Even in Wasilla.

    • Oh…and if as you claim you are not a leftist, please refrain from using dailykos to back up your argument. It would be as if I claimed that I wasn’t a Nazi, and then referred you to an article in Stormfront for proof.

  3. I’m afraid we are not a reasonable people. Arizona is a good example of people at a local level being allowed to determine their own affairs. We are now the laughing stock of the world for allowing local police to stop and arrest anyone they suspect of being in this country illegally. What does an illegal alien look like anyway? We also now allow every adult in Arizona to carry a concealed weapon anywhere (except government offices) without permits or background checks. Even bars and schools.
    If the Federal government should concern itself with only national defense and the general welfare of it’s citizens, shouldn’t that include securing our borders and not expecting the border states to handle it alone? The reason the Arizona legislature has passed such stupid laws is because the Federal government has refused to secure the actual border, preferring to throw millions of dollars at building checkpoints anywhere from 30 to 100 miles from the border, expecting illegals to line up to go through them. Then when they skirt the checkpoints, chasing them all over the state
    after they’ve crossed the border.
    Our only hope is that the Federal Government will step up, declare these laws unconstitutional, reform immigration and really secure the borders they are responsible for. BEFORE the local government stupidly makes laws that are unconstitutional.
    My point is that the Federal government has a responsibility to supercede State law in many cases. Thank God.

    • Your statement of people “being allowed to determine their own affairs” speaks volumes I’m afraid on your views of living in a constitutional democracy, but I actually agree partially with you here. The border issue is a Federal responsibility as it falls under the category of national security. Arizona should never have been forced to pass this bill. The utter failure of the Federal government to enforce border security has forced their hand however. The bill does not as you say “allow local police to stop and arrest anyone they suspect of being in this country illegally”. It does allow the police to ask for documentation proving citizenship if the subjet has been detained or stopped for another infraction and the police have reasonable suspicion to believe that they might be in the country illegally. It really is no different than being asked for legally required proof of insurance when you are stopped for another infraction is it?

      As far as your statement of “What does an illegal alien look like”, let’s try a hypothetical here. Suppose a vice squad detective pulls over a car for running a red light and the driver in his judgement looks like a methamphetamine abuser. Should he not be allowed to question him based on his professional judgement of what a meth user looks like or even ask for a driver’s licsense?

      And the gun thing? A constitutionally protected right. If you don’t like it, work to have the 2nd amendment repealed.

  4. Oh, and another example of self-regulation is the oil companies.

  5. I never said I wasn’t a bleeding heart Leftist; I’m just not a nut-job right winger. heh heh

    Who cares where it was posted; did you find anything that wasn’t true? I thought you were open minded….. Maybe you only read articles that support your predetermined opinions? So is the Daily Koss some sort of subversive/leftist meet up place? I don’t really read it, I just stumbled across it a few days ago.

    I just don’t think it’s honest, or even relevant, to look at the period from 1776 to 1864 as some sort of golden era for America. Yeah, if I went out and found an unclaimed, pristine, virgin land, then decided to start growing tobacco or hemp (yeah!) there; I’m sure the first seventy years would be super idyllic – because I’d be busy pulling out 180 acres of stumps! And, I’d be kicking back while my negro slaves did all of the hard labor. And the kids wouldn’t be underfoot, because they would be busy working at the fabric mill. – Well, not my kids…. they would be getting one of those creepy folk art paintings done – you know, the ones with the giant head, and knickers.

    You’re right, I did take one sentence out of what you said and build a whole argument around it. It just makes me crazy when Southerners pull out the old “the civil war wasn’t about slavery” crap. It was all about state’s rights; and they lost. You can’t be a part of a Nation (with all the benefits that go along with that) and then just arbitrarily thumb your nose at whatever federal laws you don’t like. Kind of like being a teenager and living in your parents house; you can do anything you want, as long as it doesn’t go against your parents rules. Enough already, it was 150 years ago; read a history book about it, learn from it – and move on.

    Maybe I’m living in a different world than most of those tea-baggers. I know I’ll bring down the wrath of people like Morgan Freeberg, but to tell you the truth everything the tea-partiers are going on about, doesn’t really affect me all that much. Oh great, here it comes….

    Nobody likes paying taxes; but everybody likes getting services. It’s as simple as that. Well, maybe not that simple….

    So have those Tea Partiers suggested any programs to cut? Why aren’t they working to get elected? Last time I checked, it’s a Republic after all.


    • At the time of the civil war it certainly was about states rights and not about slavery as it was a common, though repugnant, pratice world wide. Lincoln himself said, and I paraphrase, it didn’t matter to him whether all the slaves were freed or none of them were. His sole purpose was to retore the union. Later on in the Jim Crow south, I think the state’s rights argument had lost most of its legitimacy and was just a tool for rednecks to keep their boot on the necks of Blacks. The second paragraph in the Declaration of Independence and the 10th amendment to the Constitution can be interpreted to have given the southern states justification for seceeding from the union. Read them and see what you think. Perhaps, if not for the fatal stain of racism and slavery, the south’s cause of state’s rights was the just one Constitutionally speaking, and the wrong side won! The struggle between the good and the bad is never as black and white as we would prefer. No pun intended.

  6. Mark,

    Your example of the officer pulling over a driver, then “in his judgement” suspecting the driver of being a meth user speaks volumes about how you view your civil liberties.

    As any competent attorney will tell you, you can’t pull someone over for one thing (fabricated or not) and then start searching their car, or asking for proof of citizenship, etc, without probable cause. Otherwise they (the police) could make up any reason to pull someone over (other than looking Mexican or black) and then start searching them or their car. The same reason they can’t come in your house without a search warrant. Probable cause. And having dark skin is not a good enough reason to doubt citizenship.

    What happens with crap laws like these is we, as taxpayers, get to foot the bill to (most always unsuccessfully) fight for these laws in federal court; to the tune of millions of our tax dollars.

    Recial profiling is pure and simple racism. It’s a great idea, but it’s flat out against the law.

    • I didn’t say anything about searching. I said questioning, which any competent attorney will tell you is perfectly within a cops right to perform. During said questioning, the cop may or may not find probable cause to search. The person being questioned also has the right to not say squat. As usual, you are building an argument over something that I never stated.

      As far as being pulled over for having a dark skin, the Arizona bill has been written very carefully to preclude this. Why don’t you read it. Now if the officer pulls over this brown skinned person for a legitimate reason, and the person speaks absolutely no English, would this be probable cause that he may in fact not be a citizen and perhaps might be here illegally? If I’m not mistaken, an ability to read, write, and speak English is a qualification for US citizenship. Would this be cause in your mind to ask for his identification, as all permanent foreign residents are required to carry and show on demand according to Federal law?

      • Joe America

        What is a legitimate reason for pulling someone over? Driving while mexican? – Sorry, driving while dark skinned. Any compitent cop will tell you that you don’t need a reason at all to pull someone over and start questioning them. And unfortunately (or fortunately) not everyone is an attorney and knows that they can tell a cop to piss off when they ask for proof of citizenship well inside the US borders. It’s funny, cops never ask me for my papers when I get pulled over, even in Arizona – because I’m white, not because I speak good english.

        Having a working knowledge of english is a requirement to gain US citizenship, not to be a citizen. What about the people of Mexican descent who’s parents were born in the US, but they speak only the spanish language? Are they less US citizens than you or me? Should we require all US citizens to speak only english? Other than for their own benefit, who cares? – as long as they were born here. Last time I checked, being born in the US, to Parents who are US citizens, is the easiest and shortest route to becoming a US citizen. And you don’t have to speak a lick of english if you don’t want to.

  7. I wrote that last one before I saw your responce to that first one….uh, duh… Huh?

    First of all, the USofA was one of the very last civilized countries to still practice slavery at the onset of the civil war. All of Europe had outlawed it decades prior to the 1850’s.

    Anyway, good points as far as state’s rights being paramount in the spirit, and word, of the constitution. Things were a lot more simple back then.

    That was a time when people traveled by horseback and the next state over might as well have been on another far off continent. In this day and age, where you can be in Asia one day, Europe that night, then back in your bed deep in the mountains outside of Albuquerque the next morning, wouldn’t it be more productive for us as a nation (in the global sense at least) to be only one Nation, with a lot of different viewpoints; Rather than a bunch of self interested (ie: self centered) people that don’t give a crap about the plight of their fellow citizens, much less some a-rab or some dark skinned mexican “Screw ’em, I gotta do for me and mine” – It still seems we are all in the same boat; only the boat is much, much larger these days.

    If we as a nation, allowed every state (or maybe even every county?) to splinter off every time they didn’t like a certain federal law that went against the local norm, we would soon be the 6,456 states of America. Even the chinese flag factories would have trouble sewing on that many stars.

    One thing that really is too bad about the outcome of the Civil War: If the South had won, at least we wouldn’t have to count Texas as one of our member States. That sure would have made for a much better last decade or so….ha!


  8. I guess I thought every thing that could be said about this had been said but the statement about the police being trusted to not do any racial profiling just has to be addressed. The border patrol pays about twice as much to it’s agents than the local police department down here can afford to pay. Consequently, the police department has lost their best people to the border patrol, and what’s left are mostly morons who have very little training about civil rights or any other rights. Just this morning a deputy sheriff from Santa Cruz Co. tried to go through the checkpoint north os us with a bunch of cocaine in the trunk of his patrol car.
    If it hadn’t been for the dogs, he would have had no trouble getting through.

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