Election 2016

If You Think Life Was Better 50 Years Ago, You're Voting Republican. Or Democratic.

And you're probably betting that your life will suck even more in 2066.

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New York Times staffer and author of The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas Anand Giridharadas posted the above to Twitter this morning.

You never want to ascribe too much meaning to a single point, especially one made on Morning Joe, but the implications here are not only pretty clear, but pretty striking, particularly on the Republican side. Of course conservatives think things were better 50 years (or 100 years ago, or 25 years ago, depending on the personality and age of the person in question). That's pretty much the definition of conservatism, isn't it? That it "stands athwart history, yelling Stop," or at least begging, Slow Down.

So it's not surprising that supporters of the two candidates who inveigh against political correctness, want to make the country more homogenous by kicking out (mostly Mexican) illegals and stop immigration more broadly, and invoke American Greatness like they're being paid by the mention are fonder of the past than the present.

More interesting to me are the barely optimistic responses by supporters of Sanders and Clinton. Even they cannot muster much fun feelings about the present. Are they too young to remember 50 years ago or too senile not to remember? Either way, there is simply no reason to believe that life was better in 1966, despite an absolutely killer year in music (more on this in a moment).

To be fair, the presumption that those good old days were a) much better than today and b) gone for good is such a feature of the American psyche that it predates the founding of the country. The settlers in New England were convinced that things were going to shit about 15 minutes after docking at Plymouth Rock. By the late 1600s, pastors were already proposing "half-way covenants" to second-generation puritans who were drifting into secularism and a generation before the American Revolution we were already "sinners in the hands of an angry God."

Throughout the 1990s—those glorious, go-go years when even those of us who didn't become tech gazillionaires saw our wallets fatten up and our life possibilities expand geometrically!—Reason published a never-ending stream of rebuttals (like this and that) to people proclaiming the death of the American Dream and invoking that old, horseshit-covered chestnut that "this next generation may be the first to have a lower standard of living than its parents…"

So to me, what's most striking to the chart above isn't the spread between Trumpists and Clintonistas (though it is stunning, to be sure), it's that only a bare majority of the latter feel things are better now than they were 50 years ago.

In such a tepid response to the present, you see the failure not of America to deliver on the promise of a better, richer, freer life for those of us lucky enough to wash up on these shores before they are barricaded against foreign people and foreign goods (all the remaining Dem and GOP candidates are to varying degrees protectionist against both), but the failure of politics and the two major parties.

I don't mean to scant the authenticity of respondents and their feeling of despair, but c'mon already and get a grip. By orders of magnitude, we are all richer, smarter, and better off. We are more educated, we live longer, we smell better, we DIE LESS. In terms of lifestyle and speech, we are freer to express ourselves; we are objectively less racist, homophobic, sexist, and generally uptight. There are many serious problems in today's world and this country: We document those several times an hour at Reason.com, in fact, and offer ways to remedy many of them.

As Matt Welch and I argued in The Declaration of Independents, in most aspects of our lives—our personal lives, cultural lives, work lives—things are in fact improving. It's in the areas of our lives governed by politics that things are stagnant, declining, or barely improving. The only large parts of our lives that haven't gotten obviously better over the past 50 years include areas like K-12 education (where we spend about 2.5 times as much money to achieve exactly the same results), government spending (the government spends vastly more money per person and is succeeding mostly only in bankrupting future generations via old-age entitlements and dampened economic growth), and foreign policy (in 1966, we were in Vietnam; in 2016, we're everywhere but Vietnam).

You leave the hothouse sphere of politics—harder and harder to do, for all sorts of reasons—and most people suffer not from too few choices and opportunities but too many. That's where our lives should be lived, far away from the madding crowd filled Team Blue and Team Red tribalists who vote on what kind of food we can eat, dope we can smoke, sex we can have. Party identification is "at or near historic lows" not because America has failed but because politics and politicians and partisanship have failed. Once we fully understand, accept, and act on this and create a government that is smaller, more effective, and less intrusive, who knows? We might actually start realizing that the present beats the past but pales in comparison to our future.

NEXT: It's the Worst Day on the Internet, Reddit Removes 'Warrant Canary' From Transparency Report, Milo Yiannopoulos 'Does Not Exist': A.M. Links

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  1. By orders of magnitude, we are all richer, smarter, and better off. We are more educated, we live longer, we smell better, we DIE LESS.

    Yeah, but you can’t tell what criteria they’re using. Maybe they preferred leaded gasoline. Maybe they fear the climate change we gots today. Or maybe it seemed in their memories (for those included in the poll old enough to have them) their smaller world seemed safer. Instant access to information from around the globe makes sure we know all the bad things that are happening.

    We’ve seen it already. For example, everyone thinks they’re kids are more vulnerable to the boogeymen today – which is not based in fact – because they read stories about bad things happening that they didn’t really have access to in the olden days.

    1. People really like shitting their pants, it seems. I should have bought stock in whoever makes Depends.

      1. Given our aging population, there may still be some upside on that bet.

        1. Not so funny for those of us with spinal cord injuries….(;-P… So far, I have only had one problem in the last four years. But, I could not see those decades being better! The only thing I tend to remember is my bad decisions. Life is so much better and convenient, now!

    2. Or maybe they think that government has grown exponentially along with regulation and interference in people’s lives and the economy, and we are in many ways less free.

      1. The interference of the press into our lives, the fact that they chose socialism and the systematic omission of its ills.
        The fact that it is perceived as shameful to be patriotic – love your country, or even be a republican in Hollywood. Most of the actors of 1966 would kick the snot out of the present day crew.

        But they are after all cowards just like our politicians. If you don’t follow the narrative (BLM, OWS, LGBT, kneel before Islam), you just can’t make it – and not just in Hollywood. Just think of all the things you can’t talk about in mixed company these days. It is a type of oppression of freedom.
        RAAACIST!!!

        1. The thing is, the same could be said for tye publishing industry…..and it’s rapidly becoming irrelevant. That can’t be said of movies, yet, but it clearly might in the near future. If you don’t offer the public something they want, no matter how much smarter you may be than the average punter, you WILL go out of business.

      2. Criteria please? Technology makes all of our lives better than fifty years ago. Big and really stupid gov makes all of us much less free than fifty years ago. Maybe Anand should compare apples to apples.

    3. Here’s the criteria I use: My grandfather was a working man, He was able to buy a house and support a wife on one salary. He had a pension. When he died, my grandmother continued to be supported by that pension. My parents were able to buy a house. My father also had a union, so he also had a pension.
      I’m a truck driver, I work 50, or more, hours per week. My take-home is $600. I’ve been working since I was a ten-year-old, and I have none of those things my forebears had. For most of those years I had no health insurance. No union. No pension, no house, and no hope of ever being able to retire. Do something else, you say? Well, someone has to do the work, even if it’s not me.
      I’m glad it seems to be working out for some of you, but for those of us who work, and have no union? Not so much. My parents and grandparents – all working people – were far better off, in large part thanks to the New Deal policies that Reagan began dismantling when I began working. And as one who lived through the sixties and seventies, I can tell you they were better for a lot more than mere economic reasons.

    4. It’s about freedom not the level of government control and social engineering going on now in order to brain wash dumb asses {AKA} Democrats.

  2. I’m willing to bet that ten years ago if you’d asked this question, you would have seen the results flipped because liberals were so disgusted with the Bush Administration.

    Basically what this chart shows is that after 8 years of a Democratic president, Democrats think things are okay and Republicans think things are terrible. Which is not particularly surprising.

    The fact that Democrats are more likely to be minorities is probably part of it too, since you’d have to be an idiot to be gay or black and think things were better for your group in 1966 than in 2016.

    1. Yup, was thinking the same thing. If you take this poll in Bush’s last year instead of Obama’s last year, the results are likely reversed.

      I miss when Democrats fought against mass spying, rights violations and the Patriot Act. We need another Republican president so Democrats once again become fans of individual rights. (Don’t laugh! I swear Democrats were more rights-friendly and suspicious of government when the GOP was in charge.

      1. Except they weren’t. They were suspicious that the wrong Top Men had the levers of power. The comments and protests were all about BOOOOSHITLER, not Madisonian meditations on the importance of segregation of powers.

        1. They were suspicious that the wrong Top Men had the levers of power.

          This. The same can be said for the TEAM RED partisans bitching about Obama.

        2. Madisonian meditations on the importance of segregation of powers.

          Hah! I knew limited-government types were teh racist!

        3. exactly the only reason we know about water boarding is because of Bush I bet our military has always done that its just that everyone knew to keep their mouths shut for the countries safety but today the democrats would sell their own mother for a seat at the table.
          By the way waterboarding is torture.

    2. Yep. And if a Republican wins the White House, the war protesters will be out marching again.

      1. Well, there’s a good reason to support the R side. If you believe in voting and shit.

    3. “you’d have to be an idiot to be gay or black and think things were better for your group in 1966 than in 2016.”

      To be fair, in 1966 the country had just formally repudiated Jim Crow and adopted the Civil Rights laws of 1964 and 1965 – so it wasn’t necessarily such a bad time to be black. Certainly I’ve heard black people refer to the 1960s in very positive terms for just this reason.

      Also, the black family was stronger (though Moynihan had uttered his famous warning and been called a racist as a result), and Rev. King was still alive.

      Since that time black people have certainly made economic advances, but simultaneously an explosion of fatherlessness and (not coincidentally) a growing underclass have clouded the optimism of that time. And while having a black President was of enormous symbolic significance, I don’t see the concrete benefits for the racial situation.

      1. “To be fair, in 1966 the country had just formally repudiated Jim Crow and adopted the Civil Rights laws of 1964 and 1965 – so it wasn’t necessarily such a bad time to be black.”

        It was a better time to be black than 2 years earlier, but black people still would have faced the kind of constant discrimination that does not exist in 2016.

        1. A key point I’m thinking of is that in 1966 the trajectory seemed onward and upward – of course there were still white supremacists who thought things would blow over and they could continue as usual, but they were getting disabused of that idea – and while even then the pessimism and cynicism we know and love today was starting to build up, it still looked like a matter of mopping up the Orcs after Sauron had fallen.

          I’m not talking from the viewpoint of the leftoids of the time who of course thought Amerikkka was still the Worst Ever – they got the TV cameras, but the broader picture, again, seemed onward and upward.

          1. So a black person confronting old-fashioned white supremacism could at least know that for once it was that guy who was out of touch and could be dealt with – and just as important, that black life looked like it would be improving on all fronts.

            1. Just to be clear, in 1966 you looked at how things were going, how the stuff your parents and grandparents had to put up with could not be confronted and defeated, and things actually look kind of good.

              1. *could* be confronted and defeated

            2. “…black life looked like it would be improving on all fronts.”
              And then what happened?
              Thomas Sowell wrapped up that quite succinctly:
              “You cannot take any people, of any color, and exempt them from the requirements of civilization ? including work, behavioral standards, personal responsibility, and all the other basic things that the clever intelligentsia disdain ? without ruinous consequences to them and to society at large.”

      2. If I were gay/promiscuous, I’d want to be gay/promiscuous in the 60s-70s era with dwindling interest from the early-mid 80s and on.

        Certainly, the fantasy life of Jack Tripper seems pretty similar, if not more enjoyable than Will Trumans.

        Either way, the non-gay/promiscuous life aspects of living the gay/promiscuous life may’ve sucked worse, but I hear it’s hard to beat free love in the time before HIV.

      3. To be fair, in 1966 the country had just formally repudiated Jim Crow and adopted the Civil Rights laws of 1964 and 1965 – so it wasn’t necessarily such a bad time to be black.

        The repeal of Jim Crow was, of course, universally good and right. However, the Civil Rights Laws and their restrictions on private association may have done more harm than good. African Americans were making steady social and economic progress until the end of the 1960’s, after which things stagnated and got worse for them. Note that homosexuals were not protected by federal civil rights legislation, were subject to massive discrimination and prejudice, and yet have integrated into mainstream society far more successfully.

        1. I think that is a mis-identification of cause and effect. It seems far more likely that the great society programs (~’68) and the ramping up of the drug war (~70) had far more to do with the destruction of black communities than forcing the local Motel 6 to rent rooms to black people. And they also explain why homosexuals did better – they were not the target of those programs.

          1. “I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.”
            – Lyndon Baines Johnson about the Great Society plan

          2. It seems far more likely that the great society programs (~’68) and the ramping up of the drug war (~70) had far more to do with the destruction of black communities

            The Great Society program encompassed civil rights legislation. And the problem with civil rights legislation and affirmative action was that they created a narrative in which government intervention based on racial identity, rather than individual achievement, was the path to advancement. Previous disadvantaged minorities had to make it on their own without government support, and that seems to work a lot better.

            than forcing the local Motel 6 to rent rooms to black people

            I’m not so sure. By forcing the businesses to serve black people against their will, government effectively forced racists to serve the black community; previous disadvantaged minorities succeeded by creating their own businesses and support structures, competing with racists and taking away their business.

        2. “Note that homosexuals were not protected by federal civil rights legislation, were subject to massive discrimination and prejudice, and yet have integrated into mainstream society far more successfully.”
          A large part of that is that gay people spontaneously appear in every generation in households across America, regardless of race, class, religion or politics. We’ve never had to “integrate into mainstream society”, we’ve just had to *not be kicked out*.

          1. A large part of that is that gay people spontaneously appear in every generation

            Skin color is a pretty predictable hereditary trait, you fucking moron. And black people represent about 5 times more of the overall population than gay people. If anything, you’d expect the larger, more biologically predictable group to integrate as well or better. And you probably want to start your Olympics of suffering shit with black folks.

            1. White people don’t “spontaneously” have black kids…at least not without suspicious looks between Mom and Dad.

          2. We’ve never had to “integrate into mainstream society”, we’ve just had to *not be kicked out*.

            Are you playing dumb? Obviously, homosexuals could sort-of pass; that’s not integration. The big change over the last 10-15 years is that homosexuals don’t have to hide anymore. That’s what “integration” means.

    4. Took the words right out of my mouth.

  3. Nick, I think this sentence captures why many of us think we are worse off now:

    You leave the hothouse sphere of politics?harder and harder to do, for all sorts of reasons

    Technology is wonderful and liberating but the fact that government mandates intrude into more and more areas of our lives mean we are less free despite having all the technological toys to choose from, and the looming economic disaster you reference

    bankrupting future generations via old-age entitlements and dampened economic growth

    terrifies any of us who care about children. We are eating the seed corn here.

    1. Technology is wonderful and liberating but the fact that government mandates intrude into more and more areas of our lives mean we are less free despite having all the technological toys to choose from, and the looming economic disaster you reference

      This.

      True, Pollyanna, I now have wifi and access to the sum of human knowledge at my fingertips. I can drive for a mere day to buy a plant. My glasses do not strangely magnify my eyes to the size of baseballs and I may even select contacts (*gasp* sorcery!). In return, here are samples of the things which were legal on the day of my birth.

      – not wearing a seatbelt
      – not having health insurance
      – children missing a dental cleaning every six months
      – drawing a picture of a gun
      – telling a cop “no”
      – walking to school

      My grandparents and father were not watched by their family doctor or the school district. The number of vaccinations they were required to get by law were surprisingly few. Their monthly budget held fewer items helpfully added by people at the legislature.

      Subjective opinions, how do they work? It appears to me, and the chart seems to agree, that freedom hasn’t expanded. It’s just been shifted around a bit. People think things are great now or great then based on whether the freedoms exchanged for oppression and vice versa worked out in their favor.

      We should aim for something better.

      1. here are samples of the things which were legal on the day of my birth.

        Aren’t you really old, though? Like, really old?

        1. Super old. I didn’t go to prom with Noah, but that’s just because I never dated my brother’s friends. I had couth.

      2. – not wearing a seatbelt
        – not having health insurance
        – children missing a dental cleaning every six months
        – drawing a picture of a gun
        – telling a cop “no”
        – walking to school

        I see an alarming trend in there. I’ll go for Double Jeopardy for $2,000:

        “What is the decline of civilization caused by officious, meddling, self-righteous twats who believe the force on monopoly of the state can bring about all the correct and goodthink outcomes?”

      3. In California it was still legal to open carry which my Dad did

      4. -You could buy firearms by mail order.

      5. – children missing a dental cleaning every six months

        This is illegal? Where? Better get the kid into the dentist before I go to prison.

        1. Anywhere child protective services hears a complaint about it and decides to fuck with you.

    2. Nick, I think this sentence captures why many of us think we are worse off now:

      You leave the hothouse sphere of politics?harder and harder to do, for all sorts of reasons

      That and this:

      Team Blue and Team Red tribalists who vote on what kind of food we can eat, dope we can smoke, sex we can have.

      It’s the fact that the government has grown and inserted itself (phrasing) into our lives to such an extent that politics can’t be ignored anymore that’s the problem. And I don’t see that changing any time soon.

      1. Yes. There is (almost) no meaningful separation between public and private life thanks to politics. Perhaps there never was, but it’s so obvious today that it cannot be denied.

        1. There is (almost) no meaningful separation between public and private life thanks to politics.

          This…does not mesh with my experience at all. What does it even mean? A huge portion of my life still takes place in private and no one has any idea what it includes.

          1. The Shadow knows…

          2. A huge portion of my life still takes place in private and no one has any idea what it includes.

            Let’s do everything we can to keep it that way, people.

          3. I was thinking along the lines of instant communication coupled with a strong desire among many individuals to report wrongthink. Even in putatively private settings it’s become easier than ever for others to tweet, text, or send what you utter out loud to the rest of the world.

            Also, try running a legal business without the government scrutinizing every last penny, practice, and product.

            1. I was thinking along the lines of instant communication coupled with a strong desire among many individuals to report wrongthink.

              Who are they reporting it to? Because I can’t tell from that statement whether you are actually talking about state interference or not.

              If you want to run a legal business, you’ve chosen to fuck with the state. Staying private means not having a legal business, but an illegal one. And certainly plenty of those still exist.

              1. If your business is illegal, you’ve also chosen to fuck with the state; it’s simply a matter of evading it. A free person should not have to make this non-choice just to earn a living.

                1. A free person should not have to make this non-choice just to earn a living.

                  But that’s irrelevant to your point. If you’re asking whether or not it’s easier to avoid the government than it used to be, the question is whether it’s easier to…avoid the government. Not easier to work with the government.

              2. Having reread the comment thread, I can see your confusion with what I was getting at; Loki spoke only of state interference in private life. I was speaking also of the non-state part of public life seemingly meshing with private life.

                Sorry for mangling the flow of the comments.

              3. See for reference court orders and threats of prosecution based on mention of woodchippers on a blog comments section.

          4. Until you talk to your doctor who is now required to ask about your sex life your guns your diet and exercise your job your stress. be careful how you answer because soon under Obama care it will be required to answer to get care.

            1. “required”

          5. But how much of that private activity is illegal or at least regulated? You may be able to get away with it by keeping it hidden, but the state does not recognize the separation.

  4. “More interesting to me are the barely optimistic responses by supporters of Sanders and Clinton. Even they cannot muster much fun feelings about the present. ”

    How do you get this from that chart? Only 20-something percent of Democratic voters think things are worse now than 50 years ago while almost half think things are better. Democrats think things have gotten better by a pretty wide margin.

  5. GAY MARRIAGES WITH COMPULSORY CAKE

    Of course the world is a better place.

    1. Compulsory cake makes everything better.

    2. Public accommodation laws = anti-choice, so I’d say that’s a black mark. But yeah, overall things are relatively better.

    3. As long as we have (courtesy of federal civil rights laws and forced private association),

      CATHOLIC MARRIAGES WITH COMPULSORY CAKE,

      I don’t see why we shouldn’t have

      GAY MARRIAGES WITH COMPULSORY CAKE

      as well.

  6. Yeah, but where are the Thirteenth Floor Elevators? WHERE? WHERE?

  7. Orders of magnitude *smarter*?
    WTF?
    Oh, wait, this is April 1.

    But seriously. Smarter? We’re no smarter than the Athenians were. We know more, but knowledge is a result of smart, not smart in and of itself. You mistake the technology for the science, so to speak.
    Good grief.

    1. IQ has trended upward.

      1. They dumbed down the tests.

        1. It does make sense, though. One of the obstacles to an individual’s potential is early nutrition. American children have never been better fed. While their baseline IQ may not have changed at all, environmental factors which would depress lasting IQ have been minimized, thus maximizing potential intelligence outcomes.

          1. the IQ should rise but our present school system now teaches to the lowest level child available in class. this is a result of using the Bell curve for grading.

            1. No, it’s the result of mandatory, state-run education.

        2. No, they didn’t.

      2. How many Athenians took standardized IQ tests I wonder…

        1. How accurate and meaningful are those tests, I wonder.

          1. About like OkCupid.

            1. “Swipe left, Left! NO! Your other left!”

      3. That’s because the dumbest people have improved, but the smartest people aren’t any smarter in 2016 than they’ve ever been. The spread of literacy and education caused the bottom to move up, but not by ‘orders of magnitude.’

      4. Maybe, but not by orders of magnitude.

        1. You’re suggesting that a society which worships Justin Bieber and votes for Trump represents a step forward from the dumb-assery of past generations?

          Egads that’s a terrifying thought!

  8. I see “Hillary voters” as a proxy for the parasite class.

    Is that wrong?

    1. I thought those were Trump voters.

      1. The correct answer is Both.

    2. Only in that the qualifier is redundant and unnecessary.

  9. Part of it may be that the future seemed brighter 50 years ago.

    Nowadays, imagining the future as anything other than an environmental catastrophe where women are paid less than men and blacks are still the victims of white privilege may be considered uneducated, misogynistic, and racist.

  10. Once we fully understand, accept, and act on this and create a government that is smaller, more effective, and less intrusive, who knows?

    You slay me, Nick.

  11. Did you even read NR’s Mission Statement?

    The “history” they’re talking about standing athwart is the “inevitable future” of scientific socialism. Buckley didn’t think things were so great in 1955, in fact he thought things were pretty damn dire, and he wanted to wake people up to what was coming down the pike. And here we are.

    It is the job of centralized government (in peacetime) to protect its citizens’ lives, liberty and property. All other activities of government tend to diminish freedom and hamper progress.

    The largest cultural menace in America is the conformity of the intellectual cliques which, in education as well as the arts, are out to impose upon the nation their modish fads and fallacies, and have nearly succeeded in doing so.

    The most alarming single danger to the American political system lies in the fact that an identifiable team of Fabian operators is bent on controlling both our major political parties(under the sanction of such fatuous and unreasoned slogans as “national unity,” “middle-of-the-road,” “progressivism,” and “bipartisanship.”)

    1. And if you think the Fabian pink skirts forming a fifth column army of mod bastards were a problem back then, that’s nothing compared to the neo-lumber jack, zoom dweebs proliferating like a Positivist plague of locusts on our college campuses today!

      The other day, I saw a guy with a really weird beard, and you know what he was doing? He was registering to vote!

      So you just think about that.

    2. Buckley was a smart man I think the only person who comes close today is Thomas Sowell(sp?). Are their any others?

    3. Despite the differences in ideology, at heart, William F Buckley was the same kind of bloviating, arrogant intellectual that are so common among progressives.

      1. Yes but he was OUR blovating, arrogant intellectual.

  12. “Get a grip” says Nick

    Funny how when you had a chance to confront that kind of pessimistic thinking with one of your guests, you didn’t. In fact you were sympathetic when he said things have only gotten worse in recent years, America is in decline, “America has ceased to exist” he says, and who produced a documentary called “Meltdown America.”

    You seemed to think Doug Casey was hitting the right notes.

    Maybe all those Republicans and Democrats above have who similarly yearn for the good d days have been listening to libertarians at Reason.

    https://reason.com/reasontv/201…..ys-liberta

    1. That guy was talking about unfunded liabilities and excessive spending. You think if Nick sees unfunded liabilities by state and federal governments as a legitimate problem, then he can’t caution other people against being irrationally pessimistic?

      You think because Nick is genuinely optimistic about our general future, that means he has to consistently ignore real problems like overspending and unfunded liabilities to government employees, et. al.?

      That doesn’t make any sense.

      1. Joe is even dumber than Longtorso. Ponder that on the tree of woe and then stop giving him the attention he craves.

        Joe, how’s being a short loser treating you these days? Bad, right?

      2. Hate to break this to you, but libertarians don’t get to pick which looming catastrophe is righteous. It just lumps you in with all those above in the poll.

        But go ahead and listen to Nicks interview with Casey and how America is in the midst of a meltdown.

        On the bright side, maybe those in the poll just agree. There you go, Ken…glass half full. But your defense of Nicks pessimism is touching.

        1. Here’s your evidence that people haven’t been getting smarter. joe’s an idiot, he’s always been an idiot and he will continue to be an idiot for the rest of his hopefully miserable life.

          1. He’s a debate club outlier!

        2. Yeah, unfunded liabilities are a problem, and Nick recognizing that means nothing if not that he can’t be trusted to tell us not to be overly pessimistic.

          By the way, are you suggesting that unfunded liabilities to government employee unions aren’t a real problem?

          Are you saying that problem can’t be overcome or won’t be overcome? What are you saying about that problem exactly?

          1. Actually I’m not. It is a problem. Just pointing out that in the poll those Rs and Ds feel life was better years ago. Same as Casey who said Anerica has ceased to exist (as in one time it did).

            Maybe Nick should have said to Casey “Hey, get a grip.”

            Of course he didn’t, because that is a looming catastrophe that fits Nicks ideology. What else is a libertarian if not selective in criticism?

            Like I said, maybe all those responding in the poll listened to Nick and Casey. How do you know what they are pessimistic about?

            1. I bet you’re pessimistic about never being taller. Or smarter.
              Want some cake?

            2. On the contrary, Joe, I think the Reason commentariat has been more than generous in criticizing people of all political creeds. Your particular sect just happens to be the most deserving of it!

          2. Unfunded liabilities to government employee unions are chump-change compared to the unfunded liabilities to the New Deal and Great Society programs. And now we have Oblamocare to pile on top of that.

  13. I definitely don’t think life was better 50 years ago, but I do think it will be much worse in 2066 than it is today. Largely because of Republicunts and Democraps. What does that make me (besides a cynical asshole)?

    1. Accurate in your assessments.

  14. It depends upon what criteria people think of when they answer. In the early 60’s an average white male just out of high school could get a good job and earn a living wage that would allow him to support his family buy a house and live a middle class lifestyle. His world made perfect sense to him, and all of societies institutions catered to him. I can see where this same guy today might say things were better then, despite the fact that today he is healthier, will live longer, and arguably has a much higher standard of living that he would have had 50 years ago.

    I think that this aggrieved white male is the Trump supporter. He wants his privilege back.

    1. Of course in the early 60s his car didn’t have mandated pollution controls, ABS, airbags, and all that other stuff that drives up the price. Fewer building codes meant that the place where he lived was much less expensive. He wasn’t expected to have a smart phone, cable television, internet, air conditioning, and all these other things most people now consider to be basic necessities. Life was much cheaper back then.

      1. He wasn’t expected to have a smart phone, cable television, internet, air conditioning, and all these other things most people now consider to be basic necessities.

        Oh please. This means life is better now, not worse.

        1. Please point out where I said life is worse.

        2. My point was that life is more expensive nowadays as compared to then, and a good portion of it is because of government mandates.

          1. Fair enough, but you made a bunch of awesome stuff not mandated by government sound pretty negative.

            1. It’s negative in that it means less money left over for other things, like saving and such.

            2. But that’s more because of a lack of responsibility than anything else. Can’t blame the toys for that.

          2. I think manual labor was simply more valuable, too, so taxes on labor, like the income tax, were less destructive, competition from illegal immigrants was less of a threat, foreign trade wasn’t as much of a threat, etc.

            Why we continue to tax labor when the more reliant you are on manual labor for work, the less well off you’re likely to be–in the face of all that competition from overseas–is mind-boggling.

          3. “My point was that life is more expensive nowadays as compared to then, and a good portion of it is because of government mandates.

            Sometimes it seems like Nikki’s solution to the problems of the white, blue collar, middle class is for the rat-fuckers to go light themselves on fire.

            1. Sometimes it seems like Nikki’s solution to the problems of the white, blue collar, middle class is for the rat-fuckers to go light themselves on fire.

              Well, if the nihilism fits…

              1. It isn’t nihilism. It’s elitism.

                Objectivists aren’t nihilists. But they are elitists.

                It’s no more respectable in capitalists than it is in collectivists, really.

                People who believe that free markets and capitalism won’t improve the lot of the stupid and uneducated are wrong.

      2. So true. It wasn’t just in the 60’s though. I remember my telecom bill in ’95 was like $23 for my landline, and $30 for my cable (with HBO). Now, it’s $110 for satellite, $150 for wife/my iphones, $43 for DSL, $8 for Netflix.

        That’s $53 in ’95 and $311 in ’16. That’s an almost 600% increase, and I don’t feel like we have anything more/less than most people do.

        1. Functionality + inflation.

          How good was the camera on your landline in 1995?

          1. I’d rather not have a camera on my phone. Feature bloat is a bug, not a benefit.

            1. Then buy a phone which doesn’t have it. $25 bucks at VoldeMart.

              1. I said “I’d rather not”. My desire not to enter that establishment is stronger than my irritation at unwanted bells and whistles becoming standard.

                1. I shall defend to the death your right to not be sucked in by false economy.

          2. I’m not arguing the economics of it. Just waxing about “the good old days” when we didn’t need all these newfanangled devices and such.

            1. Fistbump to that. I didn’t have a phone for years, until my children started public school a few months ago. Now, I rather have to have some means of being reachable by phone, just in case. Which I never use.

              1. HoD, check out Consumer Cellular. Seriously. Depending on what you’ve got for a plan, you may be able to save some serious cash by going through them. My cellular plan went from over a hundred a month for two phones to just over half that, with the same minutes and data. If you hardly use your phone, you could get a plan for twenty bucks a month.

                1. MetroPCS gave me a free flip phone and charges me $25 a month, nationwide included.

            2. here is a good example. I’m a draftsman, when I started back in 83 I had a drafting table for $40 and a T square and I was in bussiness. Anyone starting today needs a minimum $2000.00 computer and a $5000.00 program + yearly upgrades and a $5000.00 plotter. Are the plans any better today not really only in the client understanding of what they are getting but not much else.

              1. Except that you could still buy a T-square and drafting table today and draft your heart out.

                Some writers still use typewriters or hand write the drafts of their work. You don’t *have* to buy into technology, but there are distinct advantages to do so.

                1. Hell, in 83, you could have gotten a bachelor’s in architecture and gotten a damn license.

                  Now you have to get a master’s degree and need to do 2 years of internship under a licensed architect just to pay to sit for the damn exams.

                  So just wait a few years and I’m sure the state will come up with a way to put draftsmen out of work. Probably require you to get at least an associates degree and a license.

                  (Can you tell I’m pretty bitter about all of this?)

        1. More to the point, one example is that long distance calls were ridiculously expensive to make. I can recall paying 20 bucks for some calls in the DC metro area, simply because the other person was outside of the Local Exchange area.

          Now, these calls cost nothing by themselves, on these amazing portable devices that can tell us practically anything we, literally, ask it. I could call anywhere on the planet, as long as the other person has Internet access.

          1. I’ve been following Don for years, and while it is true that people today have to work fewer hours to buy things like refrigerators and washing machines, they don’t buy those things every day. I didn’t buy either of those things until I was in my 30s. I’m talking about the cost of everyday life, and how far a paycheck from a menial job goes. In the 60s and even the 70s, someone with a shit-job still had some disposable income. Today, not so much.

            1. It’s hard to directly compare the 2 eras with hard to quantify quality of life areas. We have access to massively more technology and information that didn’t exist then.

              Does this make our lives better? I’d argue that it does, although YouTube commenters make me doubt that assessment.

              1. A big difference, at least in my view, is how the government has increasingly made it illegal to be poor. Someone in the 60s could live in a shack if they wanted, and drive a junker of a car. Today that shack wouldn’t meet zoning standards, and that junker wouldn’t pass inspection. That same person could buy a meal that was prepared under conditions that would make a modern health inspector recoil in horror. But it would be a lot cheaper than a comparable meal today. So one and so forth. But it adds up. Especially for people who don’t have much of an income to start with.

                1. A big difference, at least in my view, is how the government has increasingly made it illegal to be poor.

                  Well, there’s your problem.

    2. I think that this aggrieved white male is the Trump supporter. He wants his privilege back.

      You said it.

      1. Again, looking at the USA in 1966 and thinking “privileged white males” shows a fairly selective reading of history.

        1. Yes, Eddie, clearly privilege was evenly distributed by a year after the CRA passed.

          1. It’s not “evenly distributed” now! How much “privilege” does the average black kid have in a modern American city? Yet by a racial analysis, you would have to conclude he is more privileged than not, since the city government which effects the most immediate and visible curtailing of his liberties is more often than not run by people who share his skin color.

            It’s a stupid fucking game and I’m tired of seeing libertarians/anarchists play it.

          2. Fuck, how privileged is a white male with a large bank account, a new car, and a nice house, when the EPA shuts down his business for some bullshit regulation?

            How privileged is a white male with a well paying job and a comfortable life, when a cop decides to stand in front of his son’s car so that he can murder the kid?

            Fuck this noise.

          3. Can we get away from using the false prog notion that in a situation where person A is oppressed and Person B is not, we call person B privileged? The fact that women and people of non-caucasian ancestry were oppressed is the problem NOT the fact that white males weren’t.

            1. It is pretty stupid for supposed libertarians to be going on about collectivist notions like group “privilege”.

          4. “Yes, Eddie, clearly privilege was evenly distributed by a year after the CRA passed.”

            (a) yeah, that’s exactly what I said, and (b) thank you for being so coherent and using such easily-measurable metrics.

          5. Now we can all rejoice in being equally oppressed!

        2. The 60’s were great. Most countries had abolished slavery by then. By 1970, even by some of our close allies…finally.

          1. To be fair, the 13th Amendment was ratified by Kentucky in 1976, and Mississippi in 1995.

      2. You said it.

        Goddammit, stop buying into their stupid fucking narrative.

        There were plenty of white males without “privilege” in the 1960s. How much privilege was there in Appalachia? How much privilege did a guy who was priced out of the labor market because of widespread unionization have? How much privilege did Richard Loving have when the state of Virginia violated the security of his home in the middle of the night and tried to separate him from his wife, “compromising” on evicting them both from the state?

        Just because there were more egregious violations of individuals’ liberty does not mean we should give an inch of ground to these fucks. Racialism is bullshit; it always was and it always will be.

        1. Racialism is bullshit, but unfortunately for many of us, society does exist.

          1. And it’s always going to exist. So what?

        2. You’re bringing up micro to argue against macro. On a whole would you rather be black or white in 1960 vs today? Your answer of “yeah, but there were poor whites and rich blacks then so it makes no difference what color your skin was” is crap. Being a white male during the first 200 years of this country meant you had so many more options that anyone else. You’re full of shit if you refute that just because some whites had it bad too.

          1. Your answer of “yeah, but there were poor whites and rich blacks then so it makes no difference what color your skin was” is crap

            Don’t put words in my mouth.

            Being a white male during the first 200 years of this country meant you had so many more options that anyone else.

            And if I was Thomas Jefferson, I would have had even more options than the average white man!

            You’re full of shit if you refute that just because some whites had it bad too.

            That’s not what I said. Learn to read.

            1. You brought up isolated events to argue against what you perceive as unjustified racialism from the 60’s. My point is that there WAS institutional racism/sexism in (and prior to) the 60’s that placed major roadblocks in front of minorities and women.

              Trump is courting those whites males who lost their institutionally guaranteed apex status over the last 50 years. His rhetoric is aimed almost exclusively at their grievances: blaming immigrants and advocating for border walls, economic protectionism to bring back manufacturing jobs, bringing back “American greatness”. You’re in denial in your attempt to remove the racial element here. It’s real.

              1. “Goddammit, stop buying into their stupid fucking narrative.”

                This is literally the first sentence I made on this topic. Their = Trump and his followers’.

                Yes, he’s playing to their grievances and desires. And those grievances are mostly exaggerated and those desires are mostly ahistorical fantasies.

                That’s my whole fucking point.

              2. If you bothered to think outside of your little box, you might be smart enough to realize that Trump, like all “third-way” populists before him, is just taking the language and character of victimization and turning it against the people who usually employ it.

                The moral and intellectual superiority of libertarianism/classical liberalism/anarcho-capitalism comes not from being smug and self-righteous but from rigorously applying a philosophy of individualism.

                Of course the situation in 1960 was shit for most black people. Everbody fucking knows that, and if I see somebody genuinely claiming otherwise, I will call them out. But if you can’t appreciate that the world is and was more nuanced than that, then you’re no different from the race-mongers, white or black.

              3. No Trump is NOT! He is just reminding us that the narrative is all of societies ills are the fault of wasps and white male in general. We are sick of every protected class and race.
                Really? I miss the “institutional” supremacy, my apex status, when the hell did I enjoy that?
                Do you honestly believe that?

                You must be mistaking Joe citizen with a plantation owner in 1899 Georgia.

          2. Being a white male during the first 200 years of this country meant you had so many more options that anyone else.

            You had the option of being called on to fight and die pretty much that whole time. If not legally, then the social expectation was there.

            I’d rather be Jackie Robinson or Bo Diddley than Bo Jackson and I’d rather be any one of them than O.J. Simpson or Barrack Obama or John Kasich or Donald Trump.

            Not saying that things haven’t gotten better but ‘life’ is an exceedingly hard thing to define and, as you should well understand, things can get better for the collective while getting decidedly worse for huge collections of and even the majority of people. A 200 yr. life span is great unless you live in a society where incarceration rates are through the roof. Then it’s worse.

            1. “Being a white male during the first 200 years of this country meant you had so many more options that anyone else.”

              Then the white males who competed and won against other white males must have been real achievers–not that prosperity, growing standards of living, or economic growth are a zero sum game.

          3. Lots of things bring advantages in life. It is not a libertarian imperative that everyone must like everyone equally. People today and in the past are judged on how they look, judge, act, etc. the popularity of those groups change but unless your a progressive you shouldn’t see any need for government to shape societies preferences.

  15. While non-government related things have gotten better, the government has expanded into more and more areas. Small businessmen spend far more time complying with regulations, individuals have to deal with more and more idiotic laws. How long before government expansion not only stalls economic growth but actually turns it negative? Can technology expand faster than the government?

    How long can a country last that takes seriously the mindless prattling of Trump and Sanders? Protectionism? Socialism? Xenophobia?

    The US has moved from the 2nd freest economy on earth in 2000 to 16th place in 2015. Sanders, Trump and Clinton would push us into 20th or 50th place. How useful is technology to people without the means to purchase it?

    It’s true that every era has had its nostalgic longing for a mythical golden age but that doesn’t mean that people living in the Roman Empire in 400 AD were wrong to fear for the future. Or the people in France in 1789, or Russia in 1914, or Germany in 1920. Sometimes the dragon wins.

    1. Like I was saying, people may be nostalgic for a time when they believed the future was brighter.

      The future may have seemed much brighter from 1994 to 2001 than it does today.

      Whether things were quantifiably better is a separate question.

      1. I look forward to the day when the robots and reptilians battle over who will enslave us mammals.

        1. We’ll make great pets.

          1. Remind me to get paper-trained.

  16. Voting for Almanian will give you a sense of jocular pleasure.

  17. People just focus on negatives because of their own issues.

    The left hates the establishment more than anything, so think in relative “us” versus “them” terms. The fact that “poor” people are obese and living a lifestyle that was considered middle class 50 years ago is not relevant, what matters is the ratio of their median pay to the 50 highest paid CEO’s (as calculated in carefully selected boom years). It’s worse.

    The right consists of old people looking around and shaking their head at “kids today”. Yeah there’s riches and freedoms and smartphones, but young boys wearing make-up, what has become of us??

    1. Now that you’re here! About yesterday. It was probably incredibly weird to see me that super-serious. I can see how jarring that might have been, and why one might interpret that as anger. I promise you, though, an absence of cunt jokes doesn’t mean I’m mad. Sometimes, I’m just waiting for the ibuprofen to kick in and not feeling the funny.

      I thought, at worst, I was just being brusque. It didn’t occur to me at the time how odd that might have looked to anyone else.

  18. A lot of Clinton voters were actually alive 50 years ago, and realize the question’s rubbish.

  19. What is this promoted comment wizardry? Has the URKOBOLD been informed?

    1. Planted for April fools, I assume.

  20. “this next generation may be the first to have a lower standard of living than its parents…”

    Funny. My anecdote is “It depends on which kid you’re talking about.” I’m certainly doing better than my parents, but all of my (grown) siblings are doing worse.

  21. Life is way, way, way better and you’d be insane to think otherwise.

    Government is probably worse, though, even considering the 60s saw a large expansion under LBJ.

  22. On select articles, Reason is testing a new comment promotion feature developed by SolidOpinion. Commenters can purchase points and bid to promote their comments and/or the comments of others. Winning comments are displayed at the top of the comment thread for each article, and are identified as “promoted comments.” Point purchases and bidding are handled SolidOpinion. Please send any questions and feedback to promoted-comments@reason.com.

    Please tell me this is April Fool’s content.

    1. Also, they’re bringing back the blink tags.

      1. Allow images and then get back to me.

        1. Hell no. We’re not going to let the degenerates that inhabit this commentariat post whatever images they please.

          1. No fun = you.

        2. Allow images and then get back to me.

          Edit button or GTFO.

          1. Collapsible threads. And I say again, collapsible threads.

            1. Profiles from which we can quickly navigate back to posts we have made.

    2. I vote we create a Kickstarter to ensure that “Fire Sheldon Richman” is in every promoted comment thread.

      1. As disparate as the commentariat is on many things, I’m glad there’s at least one agenda we can all unite behind.

      2. Woodchip Sheldon Richman

        1. Richman is many detestable things, but he is not in a position of power and he has not exercised actual force against another (AFAIK). Save the metaphorical woodchippers for actual abusers.

          1. And I thought taking aeay his paycheck was the more cruel of those two options. And I wasn’t advocating for actual chipping.

            1. Sheldon’s tendency towards high derp levels of stupidity performs a valuable service, i.e. It reminds libertarians why non-libertarians think we are assholes. Sheldon helps us to remember that we “too, are mortal”.

  23. so conservatives want things from the past like less regulation so that companies can invest in expanding and employing more people rather complying with onerous regulations and fewer taxes so that again companies can expand and employ more people. Or like in the 70’s when a divorced mother of three could afford to buy a house on a bank tellers pay. Try doing that today. Or even like myself in the 90’s at one fifth of todays pay could buy a house I can’t today. in 1990 dollars the same house cost 30% more due to new regulations alone. Anecdotal yes but also true..

    1. I finally can afford a 1,000 sq ft house – by earning as a single person in the top quintile of households for my area.

      1. Move to flyover country. Shit is affordable where no one wants to live, broheim.

        1. Shit is affordable where no one wants to live

          Reduced demand does tend to have a downward pressure on prices.

        2. reduced demand due to reduced job opportunities?

          1. Warty lives in flyover country. Just sayin’.

      2. its all about perspective isn’t it. several of my friends are doing far better then their parents, my siblings and I are not. I think we choose the wrong professions since we were told do what we love and that doesn’t always pay. However when talking to my mother about what she paid for a house was 1/7 of her salery where as today it is 25% to 50%. and taxes were around 10% compared to todays 34%.

        1. Let me do some math…

          My mortgage, with taxes and insurance, is 37% of my net takehome pay.

    2. And yet homeownership rates have been basically the same that whole time.

      1. Thanks to market manipulation by the government. How do foreclosures and mortgage defaults compare?

  24. “The Golden Age never was the present age” — Ben Franklin

    1. True dat.

  25. //That’s pretty much the definition of conservatism// Ahh… no. Not in politics it isn’t and you know better. The conservative movement doesn’t want to go back to the disastrous policies in semi-recent history of sky high taxes. Nor do they argue this is the way we’ve always done it- that is just not a common argument across issues like you seem to want to make it. Who argues that for lower taxes? Who argues that for cutting government spending? Who argues that for eliminating government departments? Can you find someone who argues that for some position? Sure, but don’t try to characterize a movement by its outlier minority positions.

  26. Not a word about debt or deficit or monetary policy. In the article or in the comments (through 139). We are so unbelievably worse off fiscally/economically/monetarily it’s not even funny. THAT is the root of individualism and freedom. And we’re on the cusp of hardline collectivism to make the “math” workout. We are so much more poorly off as we are TRILLIONS in debt, beyond a point that productivity per worker could even make a dent in it. But people are so ignorant of economics, and fiscal policy, and WHAT THE FUCK IT MEANS, that it’s not even on the table when talking about better or worse. Where the root of freedom is, we are so much worse off it’s nightmarish. But most people are too ignorant to even know it, much less discuss it. Fine, Reason is a swinging magazine about butt-sex etc. But for christ’s sake if there’s going to be even a discussion about now or then, you’d think there’d SOMETHING about being $70,000,000,000,000 in accrual basis debt.

    1. The debt is a red herring, for now. As bad as it is, most other countries have it worse. It would be a much bigger problem if the other developed economies weren’t rushing headlong into financial insolvency ahead of us.

      The biggest thing to be worried about is squandering our position (see: $15/hr minimum wage). We don’t have to be unimpeachable; we just have to be less stupid than the others.

    2. Not a word about debt or deficit or monetary policy. In the article or in the comments (through 139

      Not true, what do you think I meant way up the page about eating the seed corn?

    3. Nick likes his welfare. Talking honestly about the entitlement state in uncomfortable and incovenient. What really mattters is fighter jetz, pot, and equality before the welfare state.

  27. NK today has more technology than 50 years ago. 40’s Fermany was more advanced than 50 years before. These things aren’t measures of freedom.

    1. 40’s Fermany was more advanced than 50 years before

      This is just as bad as when Gitler took over Fermany!

    2. They were advances of freedom.

      Oppressed people with the benefits of penicillin are still oppressed, but that doesn’t mean penicillin didn’t change things.

      Pushing the boundaries of what free people could do if only they were free, that probably expands the pressure for freedom by itself.

      Didn’t communism falling have something to do with the people of eastern Europe and China wanting everyday consumer goods that maybe didn’t exist when the communist revolutions happened? How many Russians had automobiles in 1917? In 1989, they wanted two cars and a garage like we have in America. How many Chinese people had televisions during the Long March in 1935? In 1989, they were clamoring for Japanese made consumer electronics. Technology pushed those boundaries.

      My grandfather was born in the days of horse and buggies. His father was a missionary, and he grew up in Shanghai. He lived to fly to China on a commercial airline. Average people eat exotic foods today and take exotic vacations that Louis XIV could never have dreamed of. Want to fly to Bora Bora for a week from Paris? That’s priced within the reach of most any Western consumer that’s willing to work for it–and isn’t that because of technology?

      1. It’s certainly not a bright line distinction, Ken, between the two things, but I don’t think you would disagree that you can have greater technology as a society while people are being shipped off to concentration camps. That’s no bueno, either. My lifetime has largely tracked the growth of technology. I was 6 or 7 playing “pong” on my grandparents B&W TV, then putting quarters in “Defender” machines at 10, and then it was Atari, Commodore 64’s, an “intra-net” at college that always broke when everyone had programs due, and now look: we’ve got better than Captain Kirk had (short the handheld laser).

        But the government has gotten pretty fucking oppressive. All of that technology is being used to watch us against our will. The cops now think it’s cool to kick in doors and they constantly want training in it; I can’t go to an airport like when I was a kid and just watch the planes take off and land unless I buy a ticket and am willing to be publicly denuded; kids can’t even walk around like we did without some fucking neighbor calling CPS and the parents are in jail and the kids are gone.

        Seriously. Sure, a LOT more people have access to a LOT of shit they didn’t before, but something about “freedom…trade…security…neither…” something something…

  28. Before I saw the bank draft which had said $9426 , I didnt believe that…my… brother woz like actualy earning money part-time at there labtop. . there uncles cousin has done this 4 less than fifteen months and by now repaid the dept on there place and got a great new Mini Cooper . read the full info here …

    Clik This Link inYour Browser
    http://www.JobToday60.com

  29. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do,

    go to tech tab for work detail,,,,, http://www.onlinecash9.com

  30. “we are objectively less racist, homophobic, sexist, and generally uptight”
    According to conservative radio, that is why the country is getting worse, yes.

  31. The future always sucks. So does the past and right now

  32. In modern day America, white people are considered by law to be an inferior race. They are forced to the back of the line when looking for work.
    How does this make America better than it was back when blacks were considered by law to be an inferior race?

    1. Just checked, the official unemployment numbers for the first quarter of 2016 put whites at 4.6, and blacks at 9.0, and Hispanics/Latinos at 6.1 Overall is 5.2

      So I think you might want to check your assumptions.

  33. Frankly I’d take the relative freedom we had in the Beatles sixties to the Kafkaesque regulatory “administrative law” bureaucratic state we are slave to today .

  34. I’m going to take advantage of my incredibly increased access to entertainment in 2016 to forget about politics for the weekend.

  35. Actually, since I was born in 1965, 1966 DID look pretty good to me. I had a mother to feed me and change my diaper, and a father to provide the food, clothing and shelter. But we all have to grow up eventually.

  36. RE: If You Think Life Was Better 50 Years Ago, You’re Voting Republican. Or Democratic.

    Obviously you’ve forgotten it was LBJ vs. AuH2O.
    But at least it wasn’t Tricky Dicky vs. Clueless McCarthy.
    2016 has to offer the worst candidates in the history of the United States (with the exception of Mr. Johnson).
    Depression over politics sets in.

  37. I don’t mean to scant the authenticity of respondents and their feeling of despair, but c’mon already and get a grip. By orders of magnitude, we are all richer, smarter, and better off. We are more educated, we live longer, we smell better, we DIE LESS. In terms of lifestyle and speech, we are freer to express ourselves; we are objectively less racist, homophobic, sexist, and generally uptight.

    From the viewpoint of the nomadic big city Cosmotarian, with money to burn and maybe one designer kid who you’re not really that interested in, everything is better now.

    Back in the sixties, for the vast majority of the country who wanted a family and community, there was still the expectation that with a high school diploma, you join The Company, get married, get a home, bring up your kids. Mom stays home and does most of the child rearing, and has time to make home a real home and be involved with the local community. You work 9-5, and move up through the company until you retire. Your kids’ lives are expected to repeat the pattern, except they would go to college, make more money, and live in the nicer part of town.

    Your family was secure, your lifestyle was secure, finances were always improving, and things would only get better for your kids. You had real ties to your community. Maybe you moved away from your parents, but you lived your adult life in the same house til you died.

    1. Compare that to the single parent homes of today. The divorced homes. The dual parent homes where both parents work. The lack of economic security. The often *diminishing* financial security as you got older. The lack of community. The nomadic search for employment.

      Yes, we have a lot more and better gizmos. The houses are biggers. The cars are shinier. The toys are cooler. Lifespans are longer. But for most people’s big picture arc of their lives, lives look worse.

      For the Seinfeld set, lifestyle is better. For the Leave it to Beaver set, the arc of your life is worse.

      It’s a better world for happy, committed cosmo couples like Nick and his Jacket, but for most people who dream of a secure life of family and community, their prospects are worse.

      1. ^^^Agreed.

  38. It just might take the fear of socialism to change the government! I think we are seeing the backlash of the last Republican convention. But, I am afraid that we will be stuck with the likes of Hillary, this time. Trump scares the “corporatists”. We are so screwed! I don’t see the system changing this election cycle. Wall Street is affecting both parties. The corporations buy the government they want. And, the bankers have both parties covered. It looks like the government is going to have to get, even, bigger to fail! Democratic socialism? Who knows if it might send us back to the old Republican party that supports limited government and spending within a budget. The money bag is not bottomless. How long will the Chinese allow us to keep borrowing from them?

  39. Without seeing the income tax returns of each respondent it’s difficult to make any rational sense of the results of this poll. In what way is better being defined by the respondent? This is one reason I find polls useless, and elections of politicians no matter by how large a margin they are won, not producing a mandate to proceed on any single issue.
    In general my life has improved, not as a result of government, but more often in spite of government as a result of my finding ways to eliminate or lessen the impact of government on my life.

  40. The only problem is establishment republicans and democrats (whether marxist progressives or “moderate” democrats) only ever disagree on HOW the government should be invading our lives, stealing our money and property. This idea that we’re going to magically convert a bunch of statist authoritarians (remember, economic authoritarianism is still authoritarianism) to the free market loving, limited government policy of the libertarian ideology is the textbook definition of a pipe dream. People choose to believe that government is the solution, and not the problem. They believe this because marxists control our education system from top to bottom and they indoctrinate these children from DAY ONE.

    I honestly don’t know how anyone maintains any level of hope these days. I mean let’s be honest here. Let’s say best case scenario and someone like Gary Johnson (or maybe Rand Paul) gets elected… guess what is going to happen? Nothing. Why? Because congress is still filled with authoritarian politicians that have been bought and paid for by special interest groups, etc, and the SCOTUS will continue to be filled with partisan puppets.

    Literally our only hope is that we can plug the holes in the hull long enough that these people quite literally die off and can possibly be replaced by people who understand that government is never ever ever the solution.

  41. my friend’s mom makes $73 hourly on the laptop . She has been out of a job for 6 months but last month her pay was $18731 just working on the laptop for a few hours…..

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  42. Certainly improvements in technology and healthcare will continue to improve the quality of life for advanced countries. These innovations will make things cheaper and more convenient but the author is missing some of the concerns of those who fear the future.
    There is a valid arguement that we are regressing from the enlightenment. If the us does not implode into a failed fascist state, tech can still out wit the progs. But there are real issues with our society and the uneducated animals within and that is a true departure from humanity even in the early 90s. Don’t forget also that there is a real crusade going on in the Muslim faith and it is hardly civilized.

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  44. my buddy’s step-mother makes $89 /hr on the laptop . She has been fired for seven months but last month her income was $19439 just working on the laptop for a few hours. you could check here

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  45. Not enough kilobytes on the internet to go into how wrong this guy is. He had to pick his measurements very carefully and even then he’s off the mark.
    We were freer by far. Safer by far. Socially more stable in spite of the nascient counter culture. Government was not yet able to make an open show of disdain for the voters.
    Universities accomplished their prime mission despite its leftist slant. California was still regarded as the coolest place instead of a disputed territory with Mexico and a finished experiment with socialism. Ron Reagan ran the joint. We had a bad president who was American enough to step down in a couple of years. LBJ.
    Mom never worked. Dad was a factory rat who owned a house, two cars, went on vacations every year, put 4 kids through college and managed a nice nest egg.
    One could save in banks or savings and loans and beat inflation a bit.
    The list is exhaustive.

    1. You got that right.
      +10

  46. “Throughout the 1990s?those glorious, go-go years when even those of us who didn’t become tech gazillionaires saw our wallets fatten up and our life possibilities expand geometrically!?Reason published a never-ending stream of rebuttals (like this and that) to people proclaiming the death of the American Dream and invoking that old, horseshit-covered chestnut that “this next generation may be the first to have a lower standard of living than its parents…”

    Those glorious 1990s saw my income drop every year from 1993 on – despite working longer hours and spending more time away from home, working. . . decreasing, nearly exponentially, my life possibilities.
    I ended the 90s homeless. . . and still working my ass off.

    Anyone who says the 90s were great. . . wasn’t there.

  47. 8″Once I saw the draft of 6274 bucks,,, I admit that my friend’s brother was like really generating cash in his free time with his PC. His uncle’s neighbor has done this for only 9 months and by now repaid the loan on their home and bought a new Car …
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  48. before I looked at the receipt of $8884 , I have faith …that…my cousin woz like they say realy receiving money in there spare time at their computer. . there dads buddy haz done this for only about 14 months and just repaid the mortgage on their place and got themselves a Honda . try this…GHT109.

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  49. The belief that things are shit now is an important defense mechanism against complacency. Those who think everything is wonderful now don’t go out and change things.

  50. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.
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  54. before I saw the bank draft which had said $9426 , I didnt believe that…my… brother woz like actualy earning money part-time at there labtop. . there uncles cousin has done this 4 less than fifteen months and by now repaid the dept on there place and got a great new Mini Cooper . read the full info here …

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