Economics

Michael Barone on Nostalgianomics

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He's baaaaaack!

Michael Barone has a good piece today in the Wall Street Journal discussing and wondering at liberal nostalgia for the post-World War II "Midcentury Moment." Excerpt:

Americans in the Midcentury Moment were unusually conformist, content to be very small cogs in very large machines: They married and bore children at record rates for an advanced society; they worked as organization men and flocked to mass-produced suburbs; they worshipped in seemingly interchangeable churches. This was an America that celebrated the average, the normal, the regular. 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. 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. The Berkeley student activists in 1964, before the major escalations in Vietnam, held signs reading, "Do not bend, staple, fold or mutilate"—I am not just another IBM card. The military draft, which more than anything else initiated the Midcentury Moment and was supposed to apply equally to everyone, was by 1965 so riddled with exceptions and loopholes that the sons of the well-to-do were largely exempt from military service in time of war. Similarly, the tax code in the early 1960s had enough exceptions and loopholes that high tax rates on high earners were eminently avoidable.

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. It has not returned and it is hard to conceive of circumstances in which it could. Big labor is no longer big, except for the public-employee unions. Big business has been subject to enormous change to the point that the Fortune 500, fairly stable during the Midcentury Moment, has seen new firms enter and old ones disappear at record rates. As for big government, its prestige has never fully recovered, leaving the military as one of our few respected institutions and the civilian government largely concerned with transferring money from current earners to the elderly at rates that are economically unsustainable but politically difficult to alter. […]

[T]here is a more fundamental contradiction here, for the 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.

For more on the subject, read Brink Lindsey's great Reason essay "Nostalgianomics." Or buy our new book, The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America, which features a chapter titled "The Disorganization Man" that examines this and similar themes. The ongoing left-of-center brainscrub of its own 20th century anti-authoritarianism remains one of the great curiosities of our time.

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94 responses to “Michael Barone on Nostalgianomics

  1. the 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.

    He was doing pretty well until he got to this point.

    There seems to be a fetish for large, centrally controlled “solutions” to stuff like health “care” reform. Our political overclass on both teams want nothing less than the Total Nanny State.

    1. Exactly. Most of today’s liberals insist upon conformity with racial and sexual preferences being the only allowable exceptions. They don’t even allow spiritual exceptions – you can belong to any religion you want so long as you don’t take it seriously.

      It takes a conformist village.

    2. WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!

      Much of the discussion in the remainder of this thread is infested with liberaltarian fagotronics. Prepare to be deceived! Wear rubber! Boots, jacket, condom, cover it all. Overwhelming quantity of duplicitous agenda driven bullshit below.

      1. New troll?

      2. Stop giving orders.

      3. Yo, dude, this is a libertarian blog, orders tend to be ignored.

  2. Robert Samuelson’s book The Good Life and Its Discontents: The American Dream in the Age of Entitlement hits a lot of the same themes too.

  3. I guess there’s one more reason to hope that there’s a hell somewhere, and that Franklin Delano Roosevelt is burning in it.

    1. Right along side with Adolph Hitler and their hero, Dishonest Abe, mass murderers all.

      1. I can’t tell whether you’re serious, or whether you’re trolling — yeah, that’s how much I suck at the Internet.

        1. They were all mass murderers. Of course, I am serious. Friends of liberty do not give a free pass to mythologized, mass murdering statists just because they were ‘muricans.

          1. Take the liberty out of libertymike and all you have is a Mike without liberty and who was still descended from mass murders.

            No political ideology has unbloodied hands….

            Well I guess some dead ones might.

            1. What, pray tell, is your point?

              Lincoln, whether you like it or not, was a mass murderer. That is a fact and it is incontrovertible.

              There are none as blind as those who will not see.

              1. DERP DERP “..Dishonest Abe, mass murderers all.” . Ok, I’ll play along…(although I am sympathetic to your point that Lincoln isn’t the saint his mythologists would people believe)… Yugo, Escort, Ferraris, cars, all 2nd grade fingerpainting, monda lisa, piss christ, art all.

                If there wasn’t slavery and/or the union wasn’t the least bit divided, would lincoln still be a mass murderer? The only way Hitler woulnd’ thave been is if he didn’t get the power to be one, or there weren’t any Jews, Poles, Gypsies etc (and even then he’d have found some group to hate).

                To seriously equate Lincoln or Roosevelt with Hitler shows either seriously intellectual dishonesty coupled with low grade sophistry, or cluelessness. Roosevelt and Lincoln were imperfect men, but far from Hitler… or using your logic, they were all Male and homosapiens so they belong in the same category.

      2. Just as this thread got going, someone mentioned “Dishonest Abe” and the entire thing got threadjacked into a discussion of the “War Of Northern Agression” and why the Civil War was really all about the Tariff of Abominations and had nothing to do with Slavery.

        Jeebus, stop now, before this place turns into Freep!

  4. The hours in our department are 8:50 to 5:20 — they’re staggered by floors, so that sixteen elevators can handle the 31,259 employees without a serious traffic jam. As for myself, I very often stay on at the office and work for an extra hour or two — especially when the weather is bad. It’s not that I’m overly ambitious — it’s just a way of killing time, until it’s all right for me to go home.

    You see, I have this little problem with my apartment.

    1. I’m going to make my daughter watch The Apartment every day of her teenage years, and then, maybe, let her date when she turns eighteen.

  5. The midcentury moment was primarily a story of the semi-urbanites, and forgets the issues boiling in the urban areas and the pains of the rural ones. A certain sector of society wrote the history and thats whats remembered.

    1. The mass of “semi-urbanites” was a novel phenomenon and a choice happily and willingly pursued by it’s denizens.

      Barone is characterizing the culture as the left used to portray it more so than what it actually was.

  6. [T]here is a more fundamental contradiction here, for the Midcentury Moment’s confidence in big institutions was inextricably connected with an acceptance of a cultural uniformity that almost all of today’s liberals… would find unacceptable.

    Huh? Has this guy ever been to Berkeley/Park Slope/NW DC/… ?

  7. I also share liberal nostalgia for when the rest of the industrialized world had been bombed flat, leaving us with no significant competition.

    1. Overly simplistic myth, oft repeated.

      1. In all seriousness, complicate it for me. I’ve wondered about this since first hearing it, as it sounded too simple for the real world, but have yet to hear a refutation. And I’ve been looking for one. Not PHD looking, but I’ve got my ears and eyes open. What have you got?

      2. How so?

        I mean, anything that can be written in a sentence is probably simplistic, but my father was a skilled machinist from Europe. He came here to the US, moved up in the company, got much farther than he could have in Europe.

        There were two reasons: Europe had been bombed out, and governments were happy to restrict business at the behest of trade guilds.

        But seriously, if we were, say, to nuke the industrial centers of Japan, Europe, and now Korea and China, would we not sell a lot of mediocre GM cars to the re-developing economies for 10 years? I’m betting we would. That’s not the whole story, but it’s part of it.

      3. There’s nothing overly simplistic about two of one’s own cities being vaporized by tactical nuclear weapons, while one’s own capital city is firebombed into the ground.

        Then there’s Germany. Volkswagen much?

      4. I doubt it, and see you haven’t offered any back up.
        Further, there was the matter of a billion Chinese who were, shall we say, not in a position to compete. And nearly that many Indians, plus a couple of hundred million Russians.

    2. Indeed.

      The age of corporate paternalism after WW2 that people want to latch onto as the “norm” that was somehow “artificially” ruined later was in fact an anomoly and not the norm.

      It had never been that way before the war and it went away after the rest of the world rebuilt after the war.

  8. The mid century moment was also built on Jim Crow and seriously restrictive immigration laws. When black people and women are prohibited from getting good jobs and no one can immigrate in, it is pretty easy for those who are left over to have good, stable jobs. Liberals don’t seem to get that.

    1. All the more reason to repeal the 1967 immigration law, or at least reform it so it is “skilled and educated immigrants ONLY”. We don’t need any more Mexicans.

      1. How about the Chinese? Do we need any more of them?

      2. That’s an odd thing to say since before the mid sixties there was no quota at all on Mexicans while current legislation shuts the door to all but some of those who already have family here.

        The only reason for illegal immigration before 1965 were that Mexican laborers who only wanted to come for a few years to earn the big money they could get here thought that it wasn’t worth it to wait for months (or even years – the INS/ICE has always moved at a glacial pace even for those with the most preferred statuses) to get a green card. They didn’t want to become permanent residents and they did not want to become citizens.

      3. Funny, America was built on unskilled and uneducated immigration from many places, including Mexico.

        Why all the hatred for Mexicans? I like my Mexican-American friends. Good luck getting any of them to vote for your Republican platform with comments like “We don’t need any more Mexicans” or “Mexicans are responsible for starting forest fires”.

        1. “Good luck getting any of them to vote for your Republican platform”

          You have no idea where you are, do you?

          1. Last time I checked, libertarians weren’t Republicans. Or is that you Dodero?

      4. “We don’t need any more Mexicans.”

        Fuck you, racist bastard.

      5. We don’t need any more Mexicans.

        Amazing how there are no skilled or educated Mexicans. I wonder how that came about.

    2. Immigration restrictions were reduced after the war. Women and minorities had more and better employment opportunities than they did before the war as well.

      1. The feminist stereotype of the post-war working/middle class suburban housewife didn’t work because she couldn’t, but because she didn’t have to.Many of their mothers and grandmothers toiled in sweatshops, farms, textile mills, etc.

        1. Yep. My grandparents on one side met in a laundromat, working the same job.

          By the time I was born, my parents could afford not to work, in stark contrast to my grandparents.

        2. That is a good point SIV. But women could and did work. But they were generally not professionals. But most of them who didn’t work, didn’t work because they didn’t have to. Now they have to because taxes are so high.

          When you think about it, the increased productivity of women working is what funds our huge government. Get rid of big government and taxes would be low enough that a lot more women could choose not to work and stay home with their kids. So basically big government is being built at the expense of women staying home with their children. But government is so for the children.

  9. Other than Jim Crow, immigration restrictions, the suppression of women, and bombed out competitors, what have the Romans, excuse me, liberal nostalgia, ever given us?

    1. uh, free love? or not.

      1. Isn’t liberal nostalgia for The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit the last and final defeat for the hippie baby boomers?

        1. The fact that their grandkids are hipsters isn’t defeat enough?

    2. By “liberal” you mean big statist institutions, including the military, yes?

  10. Leftists always pine for when the proles conformed, did what they were told, and the collective prospered. But then again, so do right-wingers. Which is why they both keep driving us towards statism.

    1. There’s an old saying: Both sides are nostalgic for the 50’s. Liberals want to work there (age of the union). Conservatives want to live there (traditional values). The dwindling far left hated that age of conformity, of mass men, of organization men, of the technostructure. Obama Democrats, they aren’t taking us to the left; they are dragging us back to that stultifying age of consensus.

    2. As a libertarian I pine for the days when you could sell off a piece of you land without asking permission from a county planner.

      Like it or not the past 60 years is a graveyard of lost liberty you don’t have to be a leftist or a conservative to see that.

      1. There have also been gains, you need to remember. We are freer in many other respects. The long run trend is quite good.

      2. Agreed.

        1. I mean wrt land.

  11. You know, I own that book. The one in the image, I mean. I think it was my dad’s (I somehow ended up with some of my parents’ books, even though both are still alive with libraries of their own–was this some plot to unload their unwanted books on me?) Never read it.

  12. How about the Chinese? Do we need any more of them?

    Hell yes; who do you think is going to lay the tracks for our fabulous network of high speed traaaaaaaaaaaaains?

  13. proles conformed, did what they were told, and the collective prospered.

    Where are our best and brightest, now?

    1. Where is your GOD now, Teh Troof?

      I think he’s on the fast train to China, but I may be mistaken.

  14. This has been one of the most disconcerting subjects of mine; it took me rather by surprise. When I was a little kid, I always associated the left with dissent, rebellion, resistance to big impersonal institutions. Some more conservative commenters might claim this is revealing their true colors, but this is not so. The conservative movement at the time sought to defend the organization man status quo. This is an attempt by the left to bury it’s noble, anti-authoritarian history-and are slowly becoming the corporate consensus their forebears once opposed. It’s easy to see why they’re doing this; mass appeal. One can only hope history will repeat itself. As for the Australian Appalachian; most of the commentors here, despite this being a libertarian mag, are conservatives.

    That being said, I am rather disappointed; they aren’t moving left at all. They are dragging America back to that dull, stultifying, post-WWII consensus. A world where the individual doesn’t stand a chance.

    1. We seem to be cursed with conservatives who think they are libertarians but are unable to accept ideas like brown people migrating to America, or letting people vote without showing state issued photo ID.

      1. Indeed. That has been the history of the interaction between libertarians and the right; they take the parts they like, ignore the parts they don’t. It’s a fad that will fade with time; Ron Paul’s movement made libertarian-esque ideas and rhetoric popular, so they use it to get votes while concealing their real agenda underneath so much rhetoric. Consider Michelle Bachmann, who claimed to read Mises as a ‘summer read’. In all honesty, Human Action is not something that can be read on the beach. It requires a degree of intelligence I don’t believe she possesses. Same thing with Beck’s endorsement of Hayek; Hayek was actually making a fairly nuanced argument in Serfdom. He didn’t seem to convey that fact, however.

        With the exception of paleoconservatives (who are honest enough to not call themselves libertarians), most of the Right is pro-war.

        It’s sad, really. I think the period when libertarians gave the Tea Party the benefit of the doubt will be considered, by libertarians, to be the most boneheaded act of desperation ever done.

        1. Appalachian Australian / Null Void

          Who are these two fuckers?

          1. *shrugs* Two real libertarians, it would seem. In contrast to you.

            1. LITMUS TESTS GO!!!

              1. Support for personal liberty (no drug laws, no sex laws, no blue laws, no censorship of media) Support for voluntary economic arrangements (whether capitalistic, socialistic, or whatever. As long as no government promotion is involved.) And, at the very least, a realist approach to foreign policy; non-interventionist is preferred. As for whether anarchy, ultraminarchy, minarchy, or whatever, that is up for debate.

                There’s lots of variations, but holding liberty (in the sense of an absence of interference by government (state, local, or even federal…all are equally prohibited), neighbors, or thugs. Defense of individual autonomy extends to the defense of illegal immigrants-who are guilty of harming no one by virtue of being here.

                1. Dude, how long have you read this blog? Seriously, I’d say most are libertarians. A few, like John, are conservatives.

                  But Warty, Sugarfree, Episarch, et. all would agree with most of those positions, so come down from the high horse a bit bud.

                  1. I suppose I take it all too seriously, and I don’t spend enough time here. I also have a a low tolerance for anything that sounds remotely conservative. And I also probably am over sensitive to stuff. I need to chill out more. I guess I don’t know if people are joking or what.

                    1. “I also have a a low tolerance for anything that sounds remotely conservative.”

                      Then you’re an authoritarian.

                2. no drug laws
                  no sex laws
                  no blue laws
                  no censorship of media
                  support for voluntary economic arrangements
                  a realist approach to foreign policy (non-interventionist preferred)

                  Um, I’d say 99% of the people (trolls and token ideological opponents excluded) here agree with all of those.

        2. She’s got a degree in econ and one in law. The other house members refer to her as “a really smart lady.” I think she could slog through Human Action.

          1. I think she could slog through Human Action.

            It’s a conceit of some that only *they* are smart enough to be able to fathom the intricate arguments and reasoning of the books they claim to read. Anyone else is necessarily an idiot.

  15. I always thought pining for the 50s was a conservative meme? I mean, Bob Dole ran a campaign on the phrase “building a bridge to the past”. A bunch of white people in suits going to church every Sunday and blindly believing anything the gov’t told them…it’s a Team Red wet dream.

    1. It depends on what part of the fifties we are talking about. The conservatives want to live there, for the reason you describe. Mainstream social democrats want to work there, due to the high unionism and job security.

    2. But, yes, conservatives are not really against big government. They want their kind; and demand obedience all the same. They are against Obama because they percieve him as undermining government authority, when in reality he is continuing their policies.

      1. I agree on the motivations for the nostalgia, but I think that’s a relatively recent thing from the Left. They were content to simply spit on the ’50s for a long time, before opposition to unions and paternalistic government gained some traction and it started to look like more of a golden age in those respects.

        I don’t buy the idea that conservatives oppose Obama because they think he’s “undermining government authority”. I can’t see how he can be accused of having done that in any respect. Their opposition is chiefly a matter of Identity Politics — They want ever-growing government power in the hands of someone who’s _their_ kind of benevolent despot.

        1. How recent would you place this nostalgia? Surely, it’s older than a couple of years. I would guess the basic attitude among the mainstream left was about since the early 90’s, while the counter-cultural left about a few years ago.

        2. As for your estimations of conservatives, I think it is better than mine, however part of the conservative identity is a reverance for authority; if saluting the flag and getting all weak-kneed for the men in camo and blue isn’t a subvervience to authority, I don’t know what is.

          1. I agree that I think I first started seeing the Left point to the ’50s fondly, specifically in reference to its high income tax rates, in defense of the tax hikes of the Clinton era. I consider that “recent” in comparison to the Right’s ’50s nostalgia, which dates back to the American Graffiti/Happy Days era of the 1970s.

            And I wasn’t claiming that conservatives were anti-authoritarian (though they seem to deploy that rhetoric more often) — I was simply saying that I haven’t seen any criticism of Obama on the grounds that he’s undermining authority. It’s all been about his usage of it in realms the Right doesn’t approve of (e.g. environmental or business regulation) and not using it in ways they do approve of (e.g., “defense of marriage” or a tougher-talking foreign policy). Where, besides possibly defense spending, do you think conservatives have accused Obama of “weakening” the government?

  16. The the mid-century restaurant scene sucked ass.

    1. yeah, I forgot about he no food choices…

      1. Spam, spam, spam, egg, bacon, spam….

  17. Grandpa, tell me ’bout the good old days
    Sometimes it feels like this worlds gone crazy
    Grandpa, take me back to yesterday
    When the line between right and wrong
    Didn’t seem so hazy

    (Chorus)

    Did lovers really fall in love to stay
    And stand beside each other, come what may
    Was a promise really something people kept
    Not just something they would say
    Did families really bow their heads to pray
    Did daddies really never go away
    Woah oh, grandpa, tell me ’bout the good old days

    Grandpa, everything is changing fast
    We call it progress, but I just don’t know
    And grandpa, Let’s wander back into the past
    And paint me the picture of long ago

    Did lovers really fall in love to stay
    And stand beside each other come what may
    Was a promise really something people kept
    Not just something they would say and then forget
    Did families really bow their heads to pray
    Did daddies really never go away
    Woah oh, grandpa, tell me ’bout the good old days
    Woah oh, grandpa, tell me ’bout the good old days

    1. About the good old days. They sucked.

      1. The chicks in Mad Men are hot.

        I have fond memories of siting in in the back of a moving pick up.

        Plus smoking in bars was awfully nice.

        1. You can do it now. So what if there is a law against it? Just do it.

  18. Authoritarianism is a lot like everything else to them. Like war and censorship, it is only bad when they don’t perceive themselves dishing it out. The new left didn’t see itself in control until the 90s. Then we were always at war with eastasia.

  19. As many do, Welch assumes, incorrectly, that the left was anti-authoritarian in principle. The greatest part of the left when it has been anti-authoritarian has been so only as to the specific case at hand.

    1. Yes, exactly.

      The great mass of people are very much for something, anything. Some sort of annoying ideology that they’d like to foist on their neighbors. The left just looked anti-authoritarian for a while because it had something to rebel against. Now look around. All these hippies became college professors and journalists and creators of culture, and they have become authority. But it’s not about authority; it’s about ideology. It’s about structuring the world the way you want it, indeed, the way you believe it *should* be, whether that means going to church on Sunday or buying American or what.

  20. It’s important to note that “Peace, Land, and Bread” was Lenin’s slogan while he was OUT of power.

    Once in power? Well, he had Iron Feliks to see to things.

  21. And sone day history will also read: Americans in 2011 were unusually conformist, content to be very small cogs in very large machines: They married and bore children at record rates for an advanced society; they worked as organization men and flocked to mass-produced suburbs; they worshipped in seemingly interchangeable churches. This was an America that celebrated the average, the normal, the regular…………

  22. I thought I read something, maybe even on this website, a few years ago (?) to the effect that the ’50s and early ’60s weren’t really the stultifying gray conformity that people seem to think. That there was actually quite a lot of ferment and action and whatnot going on.

    1. The ’50’s have probably suffered the usual historical revisionism, much like the Middle Ages. We are fed a 2-dimensional picture of the era, when things were actually much more complicated. I suppose it’s understandable. We can only absorb so much information and we generally focus on the present much more than history. Simplistic generalizations are much easier to take in.

  23. I do not agree that the 60’s were stultifying and conformist, because I grew up in the 70’s and had older sibling who grew up in the 60’s. I think today is FAR more conformist.

    I think the show Mad Men has it right. The conformity of the 60’s was largely a veneer, and it is today where everyone lives in fear of what happens if they touch or even yell at another parent’s kid for misbehaving, or drive down the street without a proper safety seat for a child under the weight of 90lbs, or take a gun to work to show one’s friends, or punch a guy in the mouth for insulting your wife.

    What happens if your wife is acting out a scene from ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe’ and someone calls the cops after you are merely tried to physically restrain her from injuring you? Ever have a kid show up at school with a black eye? Ever hit your dog or want to physically punish your kid? Ever want to do it in public? Would you even feel comfortable explaining to your kid why there are people on welfare (i.e., because some people are lazy and stupid and revel in that lifestyle?) if you knew that conversation might one day be relayed to a judge trying to determine what sort of influence you’d be] Hell, You can’t even let kids be kids and play with other kids unsupervised because we are afraid to handle pedophiles as we would handle serial killers, so letting the kid go off unsupervised is tantamount to child endangerment (from threats both real and imagined). Such lapses in your “responsibility” to raise Harvard-bound child geniuses that are apparently as fragile as glass could prove very useful in some future custody hearing.

    Overreact today or even fail to act as others believe you should act and it has long term consequences that could come back to bite you: Your right to vote, your right to possess a gun, your right to act as a father to your children can all be lost.

    And if things go that way, then it’s better to be a financially unsuccessful member of the patriarchy, because otherwise your wife might decide that she’d rather live like the professional leeches they laughingly call “housewives” on reality shows that glamorize the near total domination of our supposedly “liberated” “values”.

    The only people who are free today are the ones wearing leather and rainbows in the street… and you’d better not call them out on that, because it could be a career-ender for you.

    So, you want me to rail for the rights of a statistically insignificant 3% of the population? -Fuck them. They’ve have done more to bring about this stranglehold on freedom of personal expression than any other group I can think of.

    There is a play about a society were people with little to no responsibility are accorded status and power by merely making unfounded accusations that result in dire consequences for the accused. It’s called “The Crucible”. How’s that freedom taste, Freedom lover?

    1. I’m so sorry your divorce went badly……but I can see why she divorced you, now.

      1. Umm, I’m not divorced. I’m just reporting what I see because I’m not a blind idiot that thinks wearing leather in the streets is some kind freedom. When I get divorced, I’ll see it coming from a mile away. You? Not so much I think.

      2. I get it though, Ginny: You’re not used to hearing someone who speaks their mind freely or says things you strongly disagree with because most people you only think you know, including your husband/significant other/(or is it yet-to-be-found-savior-from-cat-ladyhood) can’t be bothered/wouldn’t have the balls to tell you. There’s your liberation for you: Conformity of thought or else.

        Yep, I’m a total anomaly, not because I wish to dominate another adult fully capable of taking care of themselves, but because I expect to be treated fairly by my spouse, which means I’m more than a disposable combination sperm-donor & ATM. –And nobody thinks like me, which is why the marriage rate continues to drop precipitously (to the lifelong detriment of the children caught up in the new normal).

        But it’s not whether I’m right or wrong about you or even whether I’m right about conformity now or in the 60’s. You felt compelled to get personal because you’re offended by a viewpoint you disagree with. If you were truly a liberated mind you’d simply disagree, but your visceral reaction shows you count yourself as a self-styled enforcer of our ‘liberated’ age’s values. Why tolerate an opposing viewpoint when you can make a desert and call it peace?

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