The treacherous, feeble NeverTrumpTard cuckservatives currently overseeing the slow demise of the once respected NRO tried to have a go at Strauss and Howe’s Generations Theory, in their now-standard dishonest, supercilious way. Bill, bless his cold, black heart, ain’t having any of it.
Reasons to Doubt that America Is Reaching a Scheduled Nervous Breakdown (NRO link not transcribed, because fuck ’em—M)j
One of the problems with any theory suggesting that history moves in inexorable preset and distinctive cycles is that you have to focus your metaphorical camera lens on particular events and leave the rest of the mess out of frame. It’s not crazy to believe, as Howe and Strauss contend, that the years from 1946 to Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 represent a “high” in American life. It certainly seemed that way compared to the Great Depression and World War Two! But to classify that era as a a “high,” you more or less have to hand-wave away segregation, “massive resistance,” the Korean War, McCarthyism, the arms race, Sputnik, Mao and the Communist takeover of China, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the beginning of the Vietnam War.
Sorry, you really don’t understand the theory well enough to comment on it.
Was the postwar period a high? By just about every measure, yes.
On the ground, segregation was improving, but during that period, whites made up about 90% of the US population, and the protests and riots of the 1960s-70s era were yet to come. The Korean War was a relatively minor affair, especially as compared to WWII, (402,000 casualties vs 38,000) and Dwight Eisenhower was elected to bring the troops home, which he did.
McCarthyism was a minor political issue that did not interfere much with the average American’s enjoyment of the Good Times. The arms race, sputnik, Castro, and Vietnam were blips, (the Cuban missile crisis lasted only for a few days), and did not much affect the overall zeitgeist either. As for Mao, nobody here cared about China. A majority of Americans probably couldn’t even find it on a map.
The economy boomed, and America bestrode the world like a collossus. Everybody who wanted one had a job, and the jobs paid well. The standard of living doubled, doubled again, and then again. Science and technology churned out marvel after marvel that made life for the average America simpler and more satisfying. I can remember how thrilled my mom was when modern washing machines and dryers came on to the scene.
You could send your kids outdoors to play in the summer from breakfast until dinner time with little or no supervision, and little or no fear for their safety.
It was a true golden era, and to try to pretend that it wasn’t is disingenuous in the extreme.
Rewriting history—as those fine, upstanding True Conservatives at NRO so hamhandedly attempted—to alter the perception of the 50s in the public mind from the high-water mark of American prosperity, power, and general contentment it truly was to a stilted, joyless, uptight, soul-eating dystopia was a Big Thing™ for several decades there, beginning in the late 60s. I seem to recall that a certain ideology used to be notorious for rewriting history as a means of promoting its own inculcation and spread, but damned if I can remember which one it might have been.
Bill goes right on upsetting the faux-conservative applecart from there, and it’s a joy to behold.