October 14th, 2007
|10:55 pm - An interesting window on the past|
peaseblossom linked to a US-made 1946 Encyclopedia Brittanica short educational film (clearly meant for classroom use) on despotism. What is truly shocking is how liberal it is for the era. I'm guessing that it was likely considered excessively liberal within 5 years, but for a short time after WWII, the horrors of what had happened briefly overwhelmed the extreme nationalism and xenophobia that followed. In addition to being a fascinating glimpse of what was likely a fairly short, but also very hopeful period of time, it also made me speculate about what percentage of parents in the US would object to this being shown to their children today, in the more conservative areas, I fear the numbers might be frighteningly high.
As a side note, I look at this piece, and I think of the immediately post-Vietnam, post-Watergate era that I was a young teen in, and in both I see glimpses of the ideas that I fervently support, hope, optimism, freedom, a real desire for equality of opportunity, a concern for the welfare of others that is greater than any pervasive greed, combined with a distrust of nationalism and jingoism. I sadly also seen (in the US at least) how fleeting these moments of hope seem to be. These ideals have been replaced time and again with corrupt or foolish concerns like religious zealotry, the will to power, fear, paranoia, xenophobia, individual and corporate greed (both monetary greed, and the desire for utter control that is another name for greed, found (among other things) in all manner of radical property rights measures and those who support them), and most of all, a complete dismissal and distrust of the idea of any sort of common good.
I do not know why Western Europe, and to a slightly lesser extent Canada and New Zealand have all done so much better than the US. I miss what the US has briefly been and even more what it might have been.
Current Mood: sad
|Date:||October 15th, 2007 08:44 am (UTC)|| |
It isn't all cheery here either. But Europe lost much of its idealism, nationalism and pride in ashes of fallen empires and ruined cities, and the systems appealing to people in such cases were more communal, be that christian democracy or social democracy. I mean, it can be argued the welfare state in a sense is founded on wartime economy. Of course, America was too safe and powerful for that to take hold in the same way.
Still, all empires fall.
" I mean, it can be argued the welfare state in a sense is founded on wartime economy"
It has often been said that the US Army is the largest socailist economy in the world.
I've once seen it said -- Paul Krugman? -- that the US can be seen as a pension plan with an army. Social Security/Medicare dwarf defense expenditures which in turn dwarf all other functions. Well, interest payments are competitive.