Nostalgia

False Nostalgia

The "good old days" weren't all that good—but they're still messing with politics.

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If you visit Hagley Park in the West Midlands of England and make it to the big 18th century house of the Lyttelton family, walk another half-mile to the east and you'll come upon an exotic and impressive sight once you clear the trees.

In front of you is what seems like the ruins of a Gothic castle. There are four corner towers, but only one is still standing, complete with battlements and an intersecting stair turret. The others are reduced to one or two stories and the wall connecting them has collapsed. Just two remaining windows impress the spectator with their tall Gothic arches. Below them is a pointed doorway and above it three shield reliefs.

You stand there in awe, lost in thought. It is a place of history and memory. You start thinking about the ancient experiences of which this place could speak, and you wonder what spectacular building once stood here.

The answer is none. The ruin was constructed just like this in the mid–18th century. The purpose was to give the impression that this was a place of wonder where a magnificent castle had once been until time, nature, and a few heroic (or barbaric) acts reduced it to a state of decay. It is a selective, artificial version of history—very much like the politics of nostalgia that are in vogue today. They tap into a powerful sentiment, a widespread yearning for the good old days. When asked if life in their country is better or worse today than 50 years ago, 31 percent of the British, 41 percent of Americans, and 46 percent of the French say that it is worse.

Nostalgia is not new. The mock castle of Hagley Park was not extraordinary back in its day. Building ruins from scratch—"ruin follies"—was at the height of fashion for the European aristocracy in the 18th century. They built shattered castles and crumbling abbeys to commemorate their real or imagined past. In 1836, Edward Hussey III of Scotney Castle in Kent improved his old house by smashing it and turning it into a ruin that made for a nice view from his new house. In the late 18th century, another aristocrat built an extravagant six-story tower in Désert de Retz in France, made to look like the remaining column of a colossal temple. Right beside it he built a ruined Gothic chapel.

The ruin craze was part of a broader reaction against the Enlightenment and its ideals of reason and progress. The reaction came to be called Romanticism. It glorified nature, nation, and history and turned the nostalgic desire for childhood and home country from pathology to movement. Sometimes it was not a rejection of modernity but a way to create a continuity that made it easier to live with change, as industrialization and urbanization quickly changed living conditions. "This acute awareness of tradition is a modern phenomenon that reflects a desire for custom and routine in a world characterized by constant change and innovation," wrote the architect and writer Witold Rybczynski in 1986.

Nostalgia and Nationalism

The term nostalgia was coined by the Swiss doctor Johannes Hofer in 1688. It was his word for the sad, obsessive desire of students, servants, and soldiers in foreign lands to return to their home. In The Future of Nostalgia, comparative literature scholar Svetlana Boym points to the curious fact that, by the end of the 18th century, intellectuals from different national traditions began to claim they had a special term for bittersweet homesickness that did not exist in any other language. Germans had heimweh, French people had maladie du pays, Russians had toska, and Polish people had tesknota. Other emerging nations also claimed that only they, because of their unique national identity, knew the true meaning of the sad, beautiful welling-up of longing. Boym "is struck by the fact that all these untranslatable words are in fact synonyms; and all share the desire for untranslatability, the longing for uniqueness."

This was the era when governments and intellectuals began to construct national identities, especially to resist occupation during the Napoleonic Wars and to rebuild afterward. The folk songs they praised as a pure expression of the people's traditional sentiments were rewritten with new lyrics because the old ones were just a little bit too authentic—far too vulgar and not sufficiently patriotic. Authorities also created national languages, often by systematizing a local dialect and enforcing it on everybody through the education system. Linguistic boundaries became rigid, and many oral traditions perished. In the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, which lasted until 1806, only one-quarter of the population spoke German. Even in Prussia, which did the most to encourage poets and writers to create a common German identity to resist Napoleon, German was just one of six major languages. At the 1815 Congress of Vienna, Prussia was registered as a "Slav kingdom," and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel talked of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg as "Germanized Slavs." In his book The Myth of Nations, the historian Patrick J. Geary claimed that even in a country like France, with centuries-old national boundaries and long linguistic traditions, not many more than half spoke French as their native language in 1900. Others spoke different Romance languages and dialects, and in some areas Celtic and Germanic languages.

Just as the aristocrats built fake ruins, kings and poets were now erecting artificial ethnicities and nations. Some did it out of love for the homeland, but some also saw its potential as a cement for ideological collectivism. Yet although such ruins and ethnicities are artificial, our feelings for them are real. Evolutionary psychology has revealed that it only takes trivial -similarities between people to create strong bonds with strangers. So it's not strange that an idea of a common history and destiny unites people easily. And while the history of ethnic nationalism is, as former U.S. diplomat Dan Fried has pointed out, like cheap alcohol—first it makes you drunk, then it makes you blind, then it kills you—civic forms of nationalism have inspired fights for freedom and inclusion of immigrants and minority groups too.

Nostalgia is a natural, even important, state of mind, according to psychologists. Anchoring our identity in something enduring helps us when all that is solid seems to be melting into air. Everything changes, but we need a sense of stability and predictability. When things change too fast, we lose our sense of control. This is probably why a yearning for the past is especially likely when we experience rapid transitions, like maturing into adulthood, aging into retirement, dislocation, migration, or rapid technological advancement.

People going through rough times can be helped by remembering better days in the past. For dementia sufferers, nostalgia can help establish some sense of personal continuity. The best way to deal with it is not leeches or opium (or execution, which a Russian general threatened nostalgic soldiers with during the War of the Polish Succession in 1733). It is a glass of wine, the favorite music from your teens, and the family photo album.

As James Madison University religion professor Alan Jay Levinovitz explains, it is important to make a distinction between three sorts of nostalgia: personal, historical, and collective. Personal nostalgia is made up of first-person memories and contributes to your own sense of identity and history. If personal nostalgia is about what life was like for you in the past, historical nostalgia is a generalization about what the past was like, often in the form of a longing for an enchanted, simple world—the good old days. Collective nostalgia is the emotional attachment to collective cultural identities: "This is what my group was like" or "this is what my group endured in the past." Just like personal nostalgia, this emotion can be a source of strength that helps someone through difficult periods. The insight (or illusion) that your people or your nation endured something together can help and inspire. But it is also easily abused by political forces, who claim they can restore the greatness that has been lost.

That is a false promise, because we can't go back—and even if we could, we wouldn't find what we were looking for. It was never there and, in any case, would not be able to give us the solution to our current problems. One way of revealing that is to look at what the good old days were really like.

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

In a wonderful podcast episode, Build for Tomorrow host Jason Feifer explored nostalgia throughout history. If you want to make America great again, you have to ask yourself when America was great, he thought. The most popular answer seemed to be the 1950s. So then he asked scholars of the '50s whether people in the '50s thought they were the good old days. Definitely not. People were worried about race and class, the impact of television, and the very real threat of instant nuclear annihilation. There was anxiety about rapidly changing family life and especially the new youth cultures and mindless, consumer-oriented students on campus. American sociologists warned that rampant individualism was tearing the family apart.

But there must have been exceptions. For example, being an autoworker in Detroit must have been amazing, considering how often this group is featured in current labor market nostalgia. Or was it?

When historian Daniel Clark launched an oral history project to find out how the autoworkers themselves experienced it, he fully expected to hear stories about a lost Eden. However, as Clark wrote, "hardly anyone, male or female, white or African American, recalled the 1950s as a time of secure employment, rising wages, and improved benefits."

Instead, Clark was told about economic volatility, precarious employment, and recurring unemployment. In 1952, one-tenth of all U.S. unemployment was concentrated in the city of Detroit. Impressive hourly wages don't say much about annual incomes if you are only called in temporarily and quickly let go. Most of the workers Clark spoke with recounted how they had to take secondary gigs (cab driver, trash hauler, janitor, cotton picker, moving company worker, golf caddy) to pay the bills.

"Autoworkers fell behind on installment plans, resulting in repossessions of their purchases, and they found it impossible to keep up with mortgages and rents," Clark wrote. "Most autoworkers, and especially those with families, were priced out of the market for the new cars that they built."

Our collective rosy memory of Detroit in the '50s is based on the fact that those who managed to hold on to a long-term full-time job in these industries had significantly better wages than most Americans, because the country was still so poor back then. This was especially true of the group employed during the mini-boom of 1953. In other words, the narrative of our lost era of manufacturing is based on a single American city in a single year during the very peculiar time after World War II, during which Europe's industrial infrastructure was destroyed.

And how much did these lucky few get paid? Well, the autoworkers union managed to push up the hourly wage to about $1.30, which is equivalent to around $17 today. That happens to be the same average starting wage Amazon began to pay warehouse workers in May 2021.

In fact, many people in the '50s pointed to the '20s as the good old days. But back in the 1920s, people worried about how rapid technological change was threatening our sanity—radio and recorded music gave us too much speed and choice. So did the automobile, which would probably ruin the morals of the young. In The New York Times, you could read on the front page that scientists had concluded that "american life is too fast." The famous child psychologist John Watson warned that increasing divorce rates meant the American family would soon cease to exist. Many romanticized the calmer lifestyle of the late 1800s. Seeing how family life was changing, some began to idealize the Victorian family, when they thought that fathers were really fathers, mothers were really mothers, and children respected their elders.

But at the turn of the century, the railroads, the telegraph, and rapid urbanization were undermining traditional communities and ways of life. Many people worried about a fast-spreading disease caused by the unnatural pace of life: neurasthenia, which could express itself via anxiety, headaches, insomnia, back pain, constipation, impotence, and chronic diarrhea.

The Victorian middle classes handled the transitions of the era by becoming the first generation to value the old as such; they started to care about antiques and covered their walls with portraits of ancestors. The historian John Gillis has shown that their fear of urbanization and of work outside the household led them to invent the notion of a traditional family life that has been lost—a time that was simpler, less problematic, more rooted in place and tradition. They felt life before the Industrial Revolution was better. In the U.S., many people longed for the quieter, happier life they had before the Civil War.

Before the Industrial Revolution, family life was indeed different. Around half the members of a birth cohort died before they were 15 years old, and 27 percent of those who survived were fatherless by the time they reached that age. The share of marriages broken up prematurely by death was similar to the share broken up by divorces today. Most families sent children away to live in other households as servants or apprentices. After the French Revolution, Edmund Burke thought, "the age of chivalry is gone; that of sophisters, economists and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever." In America, many worried the republic had somehow lost its way since the Founders created it.

Feifer and the scholars he talked to in his podcast episode continued to look for the good old days, wandering further back into the past until they reached ancient Mesopotamia, some 5,000 years ago. After inventing civilization and writing, it didn't take more than two centuries before humans started writing about how difficult life now was and how it must have been so much easier in the past. It seems the first society was also the first nostalgic society.

The scholar Samuel Noah Kramer found examples of the Sumerians in cuneiform script complaining about how their leaders abused them and the merchants cheated and family life was not what it used to be. One clay tablet frets about "the son who spoke hatefully to his mother, the younger brother who defied his older brother, who talked back to the father." On an almost 4,000-year-old clay tablet, Kramer found the story of Enmerkar and the land of Aratta, an expression of the idea that there was once a golden age of peace and security, and that we had since fallen from this blessed state:

Once upon a time, there was no snake, there was no scorpion, 
There was no hyena, there was no lion, 
There was no wild dog, no wolf, 
There was no fear, no terror, 
Man had no rival.…
The whole world, the people in unison, 
To Enlil in one tongue gave praise.

In other words, if you happen to think we have uniquely difficult problems today, with a more rapid pace of life, corrupt rulers, and unruly youngsters, don't trust your feelings. Every generation has thought the same. Every generation has interpreted its struggle with the human predicament and the difficulty of relationships as a sign that things have become worse since a supposedly more harmonious time.

Why We Get Nostalgic

One important explanation for this historical nostalgia is that we know we survived these problems, so in retrospect they seem smaller. Otherwise we wouldn't be here. But we can never be certain we will be able to solve the problems we are facing today. That, however, has been the predicament of every generation, and that is why we always look back at a simpler time.

We know the radio didn't ruin the young, but we don't know if the smartphone will. We know we survived smallpox and polio, but we don't know about Ebola or the coronavirus. We know the planet didn't blow up during the Cold War, but who can say for sure that it won't happen this time around? And this also leads us to forget the terrible anguish our ancestors suffered when dealing with what were then the worst difficulties that they could imagine.

Another reason is that we often confuse personal nostalgia with the historical sort. When were the good old days? Was it by chance the one incredibly short period in mankind's history when you were alive and, more importantly, young? I can't say anything certain about you, of course, but when I ask people this question, that is the most common answer. And polls bear this out. A British study found that people in their 30s think life was better in the '90s than today. Brits in their 50s prefer the '80s, and those over 60 think life in the '60s was the best. A U.S. poll found that those born in the '30s and '40s thought the '50s was America's best decade, while those born in the '60s and '70s preferred the '80s. (It is interesting that the great nostalgic '70s and '80s television show Happy Days was set in a glamorous version of the '50s. A few decades later, we got another influential nostalgic television series, Stranger Things, now looking back fondly on the fashion and music of the 1980s, when we were all watching Happy Days.)

Isn't that why we have this great wave of nostalgia in the Western world right now? The big and influential baby boomer generation is retiring, and a suspiciously large share of them think the good old days were during their youth. Because when we are young, life for most people is exciting: Something new awaits around every corner. We scheme and dream, but we can also feel pretty safe, because our parents are there to take care of us and pick up our bills. Eventually, we all grow older and learn about the horrors of the world. We take on more responsibility, and we have kids ourselves. Suddenly we have to pay attention to every kind of risk and problem in society. With time, some of our dreams are frustrated, a certain decay in physical capacity sets in, and what once seemed new and exciting is replaced by things the now-young think are new and exciting but seem strange and unsettling to us.

It's easy to assume we have a clearer memory of things that happened to us recently. That is not the case. Researchers have found that we encode more memories during adolescence and early adulthood than during any other period of our lives, and when we think back on our lives, this is the period we most often return to. We might have this "reminiscence bump" because that was a period when we started forming our identity and experienced many firsts—first love, first job, first time we went to a Depeche Mode concert. It is a period of rapid change followed by stability, and so it figures prominently in our recollection of our lives.

Although strong, those memories are notoriously unreliable. When schoolchildren returning from summer holiday are asked to name good and bad things from the break, their lists are almost equally long. When the exercise is repeated a couple of months later, the list of good things grows longer and the bad list gets shorter. By the end of the year, the good things have pushed out the bad from their memories completely. They don't remember their summer anymore; just their idealized image of it. It is difficult for any version of the present to compete with that.

We should beware of politicians, populists, and parents who claim that things were better in the past and that we should try to recreate that former world. Certainly some things were better and we should investigate and learn from that, but trusting our gut feeling is letting ourselves be deceived by our reminiscence bump.

Nostalgia is a necessary human psychological trait, but it's not a governing philosophy.

This article is adapted from Open: How Collaboration and Curiosity Shaped Humankind by permission of Atlantic Books.

NEXT: Where’s My Stuff?

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340 responses to “False Nostalgia

  1. I recall when Reason had truly libertarian writers and articles every day. Now they’re all SJWs crying for diversity, inclusion, and equity. Sad, really.

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    2. “Now they’re all SJWs crying for diversity, inclusion, and equity.”

      Please link to even one example.

      1. Nobody need examples.

        IT IS KNOWN

          1. Thanks for proving my point.

            1. Still don’t get it?

              1. "Once upon a time, there was no snake, there was no scorpion,"

                Now we have behavioral and climate change entrepreneurs threatening snake and scorpion invasions:

                https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2021/12/have-you-checked-your-christmas.html

              2. Sarcastrated sees only an ocean of grey in the comments so he has to post his TDS on any comment he sees. The good news is you can always ask to be muted.

                1. Sarcastrated? Ouch! 🙂

                  1. Are the muted ones coming up with a name for their club?

                  2. I like that. I'll start referring to the trolls as The Sarcastrated. Nice.

                  3. And you're free to join them and be cool. Just ask. Nothing is cooler on Reason than being someone I never reply to, no matter what disgusting or dishonest comments you can come up with.

                    You can be kinda cool and call me an alcoholic, or you can be really cool and call me a pedophile. Those guys are the most popular people on this site!

                    1. Ideas!

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        1. I just knew as soon as I read Big T's post, that it would summon you two clowns to rush in and white knight for Reason.

          As KMW said on the last podcast, they're deliberately watering down the libertarianism in order to not repell the urban 'liberal' crowd. Outside of touchstones like legal weed and bumsex, it's more important to not be dismissed by the fashionable elite as icky rednecks, than to stick by libertarian ideals.

          Of course you two champion poseurs can understand that.

          For people like you two, libertarianism is a way of announcing that you’re a contrarian, but that you’re socially left and totally cool with the way that sex and drugs works for the American upper-middle class elite.

          1. For people like you two, libertarianism is a way of announcing that you’re a contrarian

            Like I said:
            https://reason.com/2019/12/19/mccain-conservatives-are-rallying-behind-justin-amash/?comments=true#comment-8061120

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        2. It in known only to those who hold that opinion, and it is only an opinion.. Of course, you cannot provide examples. It is your opinion that others may disagree.

          As much as you whine, why do you keep reading Reason articles?

          1. I'm not the one who spends all day whining and crying about how Reason was mean to Trump, how they all voted for Biden, how they don't cover the right stories, how unfair they are when they criticize Republicans without being outraged about Democrats, and so on and so forth.

            If those people left these comments might not be a cesspool.

            1. I bet you have a Trump love doll.

            2. They're only a cesspool because you and your socks keep shitting in it.

            3. You spend all day whining, period.

            4. Says sarc as a tear runs down his cheek.

      2. How about all the articles attacking Trump for the military tranny ban?

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    3. " I recall when Reason had truly libertarian writers and articles every day. Now they’re all SJWs crying for diversity, inclusion, and equity. Sad, really. "

      Exactly!

      Similarly, I remember a Republican Party that championed education, achievement, competence, reason, progress, science, and modernity. Today, the Republican Party is a shambling collection of half-educated bigots, superstitious slack-jaws, disaffected clingers, on-the-spectrum incels, and backwater authoritarians prancing about in unconvincing libertarian drag.

      1. Replace “Republican” with “Democrat” in that rant and you are onto something.

        1. Nothing in Kirkland's rant would be out of place coming out of the mouth of a eighteenth century French aristocrat.
          The left became the second estate so slowly I barely noticed.

          1. It took me a long time to realize that Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland wasn't being sarcastic all the time. I found his commentary to be so hyperbolic that it was, to my mind, clearly satire. Sadly, he apparently actually believes what he writes and is clearly somewhat delusional.

            1. Same here.
              I honestly thought he was a parody like OBL or some right-winger astroturfing for the longest time. But I'm seeing more and more of that rhetoric from the left all the time now.

              1. Poe's Law, but for pinkos?

          2. This phenomenon isn't new:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Iceman_Cometh
            (specifically, see the character of Hugo Kalmar)

      2. education, achievement, competence, reason, progress, science, and modernity. are all white supremacy according to progs.

      3. You left out tu-quoque looters...

        1. But you didn't.

      4. Republicans used to champion economic liberty. Now they are just as bad as Democrats.

        1. In the same sense that COVID is just as bad as Ebola.

          1. Just like jaywalking and the Holocaust. It's all same same for sarcasmic.

            1. Decades of drinking bottom shelf liquor and hobo wine will do that to you.

        2. "Republicans used to champion economic liberty. Now they are just as bad as Democrats."

          I think you could make a reasonable case for this position, but in the broader picture, Conservatives are still much better on economic liberty than Progressives.

          1. Or rather they have a narrative of nostalgia about 'economic liberty'

            1. Reagan was a master at playing the nostalgia card.

          2. Conservatives are still much better on economic liberty than Progressives.

            Slightly less terrible than terrible isn't enough to get me to reregister to vote.

            1. Thanks for the update.

      5. you forgot to call them "deplorables" or "sans dents" or "hill billies" or "riff-raff".

        1. Also, "Hoi polloi", "Plebs", "Rabble", "The great unwashed", "Riffraff", "Proles", "Base canaille" and "Sans-culottes".

          Kirkland is so uninspired when it comes to railing against the working classes. We should pay to send him, Jeff and Shrike to the Cardinal Richelieu School for Aspiring Parveneaus.

      6. Asshole bigot shows up with standard assholish comment.

      7. Similarly, I remember a Republican Party that championed education, achievement, competence, reason, progress science, and modernity.

        How old are you Methuselah? They 've been calling Republicans Nazi's since the sixties, prior to that they called them the Monopoly Man. I'm sure your parents were praising the fuck out of the GOP when they were swaddling you in those red diapers.

        1. This. I can remember when Barry Goldwater's Jewish ancestry didn't stop the libs from calling him a crypto-Nazi. Later, of course, they were whining about the good old days when the Republicans were characterized by principled conservatives like Goldwater, not hucksters like Reagan. And now they talk about how good Reagan was, compared to that fascist Trump.

          1. Thanks to TDS they absolved "W" AND Cheney of their literal Hitleriness.

            1. Were they perhaps Hitlerdidic?

  2. Let's go Brandenberg !!

    1. Let’s go Bilderberg!

      1. Let's Go, Build-A-Burger! And Build It Back Better!

    2. He is the Incontinental champion.

      1. He's an Incontinental Ballistic Missile when somebody mixes Citricel with his pudding.

  3. Another reason we remember our youth better is that we were encoding memories on an uncluttered brain. As we age the most accessible storage capacity gets used up and the bits are stored in deeper recesses, or are over-written onto existing bits. Eventually some cells die, breaking links that are not multiply encoded, hence poorer short term memory. Getting old sucks.

    1. Another reason we remember our youth better is that we were idiots then and were only aware of knowing about three things. For example, things were simpler and easier before I knew what health insurance was and what it cost, how groceries appeared in the refrigerator, or why my older brother decided to enroll in the seminary in 1968.

      1. Right. I didn't even have to think about whether my car seat contained pthalates or was installed correctly 50 yrs. ago. It was just there whenever Mom wanted to take us to drag queen story hour at the local library.

        1. Getting woke is hard work!

      2. And some people never learn!

        Some people who should have joined the seminary never did!

        1. Some people who enrolled in the seminary should not have. [Actually, my opinion is that none of them should have done that .]

    2. The suggested study isn't objective and/or takes a narrow view of consciousness.

      Take a group of kids and send them to a forced labor camp for a summer. Chart their pro/con list over time.

      It may turn out that the brain naturally encodes positive experiences more readily and more permanently relatively than it encodes negative ones at any age and it's more incumbent on more objectively rational humans to remember not just what made the old times good, but what also made the bad times, past or present, bad.

    3. Or maybe the reason the assessments of the young and the old differ is because the young don’t know any better: they have never seen anything different so to them, whatever they grew up with is normal and desirable.

      1. Even disco?

        1. Not sure what you mean. Disco was a fashion and a musical style. It was never my thing, but people seemed to be having fun. What are you getting at?

          1. Whooooosh!

            Time for recalibration.

            1. I understand that it was meant as sarcasm, but it’s not working.

              You might as well say “Even tango?”

              1. No, your detector is broken, probably smothered by your incredible sense of entitlement and general arrogance, as I see from your comments below.

  4. "When asked if life in their country is better or worse today than 50 years ago, 31 percent of the British, 41 percent of Americans, and 46 percent of the French say that it is worse."

    I'm not convinced this is merely nostalgia, or that people are wrong for wanting a shift to something different. What is the Reason metric for better? What about today is better than yesterday? Is it mere neophilia? Is it happiness? Because if it is the latter--or even something else--then it is not so clear that the present is brighter than the past, especially considering happiness has declined steadily in the modern era.

  5. I agree with this article! The "good old days" were NOT all that good!

    Why, when I was young and poor, we had to make do with eating cockroach stew, and wearing rat-fur coats! And that was only when we could afford them! And then we had to sleep in the gutter, alongside the Chthonic Cunt!

    1. But you had each other!

    2. wow, you guys had gutters to sleep in? and high protein stew and warm coats?

    3. Is that were you acquired your self-described taste for shit?

      1. Citation please? Or does "lots of stupid people say so" constitute validation?

        1. TDS-addled spastic asshole refers to self.

          1. Speaking of "lots of stupid people", Super-Perv-Predator-Sevo the Pedo, Hippo in a Speedo, AKA SmegmaLung, just HOW many stupid (and evil) people do you hold in your multiple-personality-disordered, disassociated so-called "brain"?

        2. We all remember you admitting you eat shit.

          1. Hi Tulpa!

            “Dear Abby” is a personal friend of mine. She gets some VERY strange letters! For my amusement, she forwards some of them to me from time to time. Here is a relevant one:

            Dear Abby, Dear Abby,
            My life is a mess,
            Even Bill Clinton won’t stain my dress,
            I whinny seductively for the horses,
            They tell me my picnic is short a few courses,
            My real name is Mary Stack,
            NO ONE wants my hairy crack!
            On disability, I live all alone,
            Spend desperate nights by the phone,
            I found a man named Richard (Dick) Decker,
            But he won’t give me his hairy pecker!
            Dick Decker’s pecker is reserved for farm beasts,
            I am beastly, yes! But my crack’s full of yeasts!

            So Dear Abby, that’s just a poetic summary… You can read about the Love of my Life, Richard Decker, here:
            https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/10/11/farmers-kept-refusing-let-him-have-sex-with-their-animals-so-he-sought-revenge-authorities-say/#comments-wrapper
            Farmers kept refusing to let him have sex with their animals. So he sought revenge, authorities say.
            Decker the hairy pecker told me a summary of his story as below:
            Decker: “Can I have sex with your horse?”
            Farmer: “Lemme go ask the horse.”
            Pause…
            Farmer: “My horse says ‘neigh’!”
            And THAT was straight from the horse’s mouth! I’m not horsin’ around, here, no mare!

            So Richard Decker the hairy pecker told me that, apparently never even realizing just HOW DEEPLY it hurt me, that he was all interested in farm beasts, while totally ignoring MEEE!!

            So I thought maybe I could at least liven up my lonely-heart social life, by refining my common interests that I share with Richard Decker… I, too, like to have sex with horses!

            But Dear Abby, the horses ALL keep on saying “neigh” to my whinnying sexual advances!
            Some tell me that my whinnying is too whiny… Abby, I don’t know how to fix it!

            Dear Abby, please don’t tell me “get therapy”… I can’t afford it on my disability check!

            Now, along with my crack full of yeasts… I am developing anorexia! Some are calling me a “quarter pounder with cheese”, but they are NOT interested at ALL, in eating me!!! They will NOT snack on my crack!

            What will I DO, Dear Abby?!?!?

            -Desperately Seeking Horses, Men, or ANYTHING, in Fort Worth,
            Yours Truly,
            R Mac / Mary Stack / Tulpa / Mary’s Period / “.” / Satan

            1. High, shitbag!
              TDS-addled spastic asshole gets fragged agian.
              Hint, steaming pile of shit: Fuck off and die. Please.

  6. Life in the 50’s was great!
    If you were a white collar male. Otherwise, probably not so much.

    1. Yeah. I can't imagine how brutal the lockdowns, vaccine and mask mandates were for minorities during the Asian Flu pandemic. I mean, even the name was oppressively racist.

    2. By the measures of the left, you’d reach that conclusion. By measures that matter to real people, even that isn’t clear.

      As a gay man, I have to say: things have been getting worse over the last few of decades. Community and social life has been replaced by Internet hookups and mindless parroting of phrases.

      1. True for all. Sometimes new choices drive out older, ‘better’ choices. But we are free to choose. Not required to choose wisely.

        1. We didn’t choose this. LGBT policy was canon fodder for neo-Marxists exploiting divisions in society, and it was progressive voters who imposed these policies. And young gays were indoctrinated in school to accept this.

          Since E.O. Bernays, there has been very little free choice in US politics. By design.

          1. Community and social life has been replaced by Internet hookups and mindless parroting of phrases.

            These are choices you make.

            1. No, they are not. The community and social organizations have ceased to exist, as a result of government policies, technological developments, and government indoctrination.

              The idea that we got to this point as the result of free individual choices in a free market is ludicrous. It’s like saying that the Soviet Union in 1980 was the outcome of people’s choices.

              1. I think the term is "crowding out."

              2. True for some things: charities in particular. But Elks clubs, PTA, soccer clubs, religious groups, VFWs, little league, gardening clubs, hiking clubs, birding groups, etc are still vibrant, if one chooses to participate. Maybe your local environment has become bleak; ours is rich.

                1. I was talking about LGBT communities and groups.

                  But having joined some of those straight organizations, let me tell you: they aren’t doing all that well either. They are getting geriatric, politicized, and woke as well.

                  Our local rescue organization does native land acknowledgments, people give their pronouns, and grants and mentorships exclude white males. The museum curator I was talking to gave me ten minute rant against Trump and Republicans out of the blue; it apparently never occurred to her that some of the people she deals with might not be progressives.

                2. "Elks clubs, PTA, soccer clubs, religious groups, VFWs, little league, gardening clubs, hiking clubs, birding groups, etc are still vibrant"

                  Up here in Canada they're all dying. Covid lockdowns absolutely devestated them.

          2. LGBT Every policy was canon fodder for neo-Marxists exploiting divisions in society, and it was progressive voters who imposed these policies.

            1. True. I was simply using something that is relevant to me and that I personally observed as an example.

          3. Marketing, including political propaganda, are a symptom of more choice, not the cause of choice paralsysis.

            The problems you attribute to marketing are better attributed to expanding government intrusion. The more government does, the more it intrudes into, and controls, daily life, the more isolated and frustrated we feel, painted into corners we don't like by forces we don't understand. At the same time, we want the targeted benefits we get, we envy the targeted benefits of others which we don't get, and we are blind to the distributed and diluted costs.

            The resultant partisan politics are inevitable. We want others to pay their fair share of the taxes which grow seemingly more for us then others because the grass is always greener on the other side. They get better benefits, they pay less taxes, they know the right people and are more corrupt and nothing but a bunch of cheaters.

            Like so much else, government is the root of most evil. Or to put it differently, if government is involved, the situation gets worse.

            1. To elaborate…

              Marketing influences people’s economic choices in a free market; people spend their dollars and receive a product. If you make a bad choice, you bear the consequences.

              Propaganda is when governments manipulate political choices. If you make a bad choice, it’s mostly others that bear the consequences.

              1. ^Both Comments +1000000000000000

    3. Most 1950s and '60s married women didn't have to work if they were married. Technology and abundance had removed most of the drudgery of housework and they were free to enjoy leisure activities like spending time with their children, shopping and watching soap operas.

      1. And cooking. Don't forget cooking and raising babies. Barefoot and in the kitchen! Man, them broads had it made, amiright?

    4. From the looks of it modern day black people are nostalgic for segregation.

  7. In China, 2008-2012 was way better than 1958-1962. One way or another, Beijing, June 4th, 2039 will almost certainly be better than June 4th 1989.

    1. One way or another, Beijing, June 4th, 2039 will almost certainly be better than June 4th 1989.

      94 99% of Chinese citizens responded.

    2. Beijing in 2039 is shaping up to be a state where you are under 24/7 surveillance by AI, a universal panopticon more intrusive than a prison, with no ability to earn a living outside the state and death only one database entry away.

      That seems worse than 1989 to me.

      1. But 99% of citizens polled say things have gotten better!

        1. Make that 100%.

          The voluntary organ donations by the 1% who were dissatisfied are appreciated and they live on inside the bodies of happy Chinese citizens now.

      2. China has had some freedom forcibly replaced by repression, uniformity, and material goods. No society has ever been closer to 1984.

        1. I see North Korea raising its hand…

      3. China will collapse economically long before 2039, just like the USSR did.

        Hopefully the next government will allow a lot more freedom.

        1. "China will collapse economically long before 2039, just like the USSR did.

          Hopefully the next government will allow a lot more freedom."

          I used to believe exactly that. I believed it from the 1980's through the mid 2000's. Doubt started to creep in with the continued authoritarianism and simultaneous economic growth of China. My doubt has grown over the last 15 years.

          It looks as if China has managed to successfully develop a form of extreme authoritarianism down to low level social control of their population and still manage to consistently grow their economy.

          1. Any reading of Chinese history suggests the culture is accepting of some form of central authoritarianism; those favoring freedom are outliers.
            Hong Kong gave its population a taste of freedom, and they are doing their level best to hang on to it. IFAIK, the population of mainland China has never been given that, except in the Uighur west.

          2. I used to believe exactly that. I believed it from the 1980's through the mid 2000's. Doubt started to creep in with the continued authoritarianism and simultaneous economic growth of China. My doubt has grown over the last 15 years.

            It looks as if China has managed to successfully develop a form of extreme authoritarianism down to low level social control of their population and still manage to consistently grow their economy.

            You're ignoring fundamental principles and glossing over several decouplings. Marx himself, even if not directly, acknowledged that socialist societies live off the accumulated wealth of capitalism. Parasites can, quite readily, grow and multiply for a long time provided the host or host population is strong enough. The problem comes in when the host dies or the population is depleted. At which point, you die, or expand your pool of willing/acceptable hosts.

          3. Growing from zero isn't that tough. Just a little freedom will do it. But as the CCP has maintained authoritarian control and been increasing it again lately, at some point in the not-to-distant future it will level off and start it's decline. Sad. We should always root for freedom anywhere and everywhere.

      4. Yeah, that is exactly the sort of attitude the article criticizes. Tiananmen square?

  8. Here in Georgia conservatives pine for the pre-segregation forced school prayer days before the hippies fucked everything up.

    1. If they really want segregated schools, they should just move to Chicago.

      1. Stop it. You'll make him lose his fifty-cents.

    2. Segregation was never a conservative thing. Then as now, it is a progressive policy supposedly rooted in science. That’s why Democrats are bringing it back.

      As for school prayer, as an atheist, between the Christian variety and the neo-Marxist variety, I still prefer the Christian variety.

      1. At this point, most Christians I know are more than content just observing a moment of silence. The only people I see not being on board with that are assholes.

        1. The religious certainly have a right to remain silent, as does everyone according to Miranda v. Arizona.

      2. Segregation in the churches certainly wasn't rooted in science and churches were the main source of agitprop for status quo society in the Fifties and before.

        As for this Atheist libertarian, I say free people don't have to pray to or pledge allegiance to or be so obsequiously eager to please anyone or anything.

        The moment any of it becomes an official State practice is the moment I say: "I won't 'Stand For The Flag' or 'Kneel For The Cross,' but instead, I'll just sit down and think!"...maybe while whittling and duct tape finning some crossbow ammo.

    3. conservatives pine for the pre-segregation

      Freudian slip, or are actually so dumb you didn't realize what this meant?

    4. Only the left wants to teach racism in schools.

    5. I hear you’re not allowed within 500 feet of schools.

    6. correction --

      days before the Gov-Commie-Education fucked everything up.
      There is ZERO excuse for Gov-Dictated Commie-Education.

    7. "before the hippies fucked everything up." Actual hippies were too damn lazy and high all the time to do much of anything.

      1. Hippies were as likely to be in favor of some expansive benediction that was guaranteed to piss off Xtian fundies and atheists, alike. Rock n' rollers getting roped in by Eastern gurus didn't help. I got sent to Catholic school, so we had prayer for years and years. A huge chunk of us were just mouthing words .

  9. The gaslighting Is strong with this one.

    In fact, the US has changed massively and for the worse over the part century. We don’t have to rely on our memories, basic economic and social data shows that to be the case. Of course, it has also improved on some measures, measures that matter to technocrats and progressives.

    Nor is nostalgia a universal as the stocks falsely suggests. There are many periods in history where large majorities do believe things are getting better.

    1. Even when things get better, people will always bitch. The good things are taken for granted, leaving the annoyances garnering most of out attention.

      1. There are always people who bitch, but they are always an unrepresentative minority, no matter what the majority thinks.

        1. Everyone bitches, just about different things. A minority may bitch about certain social situations, but everyone has a vision of the ideal life they are not living.

          1. Most people don’t actually botch, they just go on with their lives quietly.

            1. Just because you don’t hear them bitching does not mean they ain’t. They are just bitching in private, not loud and annoyingly. Go into any bar and have a conversation with the guy on the next barstool - mostly complaining.

              1. The point is: if you take a random sample of publicly visible complaints, you are not getting a representative sample of the state of the country.

                1. So much for faith in "basic social data".

                  1. Social scientists usually don’t use public rants for collecting data, so I don’t see what you are trying to say.

                    1. Of course you don't see anything contrary to your internal propaganda. None are so blind as those who intentionally shut their minds. You didn't get your blindness from rational argument. Rational argument won't change your mind.

                    2. Coming from the fucking retard arguing that barstool discussions are a representative sample of national sentiment, this is fucking rich.

              2. Yeah, that was me. Sorry about that.

                Everything Is So Terrible And Unfair(tm)!

                1. Be thankful you didn’t have to talk to the guy on the barstool next to me. Boy was he downer.

                  Said his name was Jfree, I think.

                2. I'm the guy at the bar with the non-alcoholic fizzy flavored water, for medical reasons, to go along with his well-done burger.

                  *Ducks and waits for Sarc to go off.*

            2. Yeah sure. That's why Facebook is still struggling to get people to use it.

            3. People bitch, government botches. I’m sure there’s no connection though.

      2. The good things are taken for granted, leaving the annoyances garnering most of out attention.

        Yeah! Why can't people bitch about the good things in life too?

        1. Enviro-leftists do that constantly.

    2. Yeah, only technocrats would believe that the massive improvements in material wealth, health care, and public life since 1921 make life better for the average American.

      1. Better in what way? Happiness and life satisfaction haven’t increased; in fact they have fallen.

        Once basic material needs are met, happiness becomes decoupled from material wealth.

        Health care has primarily extended unhealthy lifespan, not necessarily a contribution to happiness, and at a ridiculous cost.

        As far as public life is concerned, the massive decline in civil and social organizations, increasing social isolation, and decreasing multigenerational living are a clear and massive negative.

        1. You sound like the Pope, decrying materialism, and embracing personal involvement.

          1. I’m stating objective, verifiable facts about life satisfaction and demographics.

            I’m not “embracing” anything. Policy wise, these are the outcome of a century of progressive and collectivist policies. The Pope erroneously thinks that the solution is more progressive and collectivist policies. I Jahren to think that the solution is less progressivism and less collectivism.

            But whatever the cause or solution, the developments themselves are simply facts.

            1. I [happen] to think…

              (Autocorrect is throwing in random foreign words for some reason.)

            2. Read Mans Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl - purpose in life is an incredibly important need, our circumstances influence our purpose. The Pope is not wrong about the problem, only the solution, as you noted.

          2. You sound like a bitter, miserable, dialectical materialist Marxist cunt whose worthless piece of shit of a life will go unmourned when you mercifully shuffle off this mortal coil. If you ever want any help with that, please let me know.

        2. Happiness and life satisfaction haven’t increased; in fact they have fallen.

          You have zero evidence to support any of that. You are an ignorant huckster pushing a narrative which you know to be false.

          Provide some "basic economic and social data" to back up your claims, or go fuck yourself. You can't do either. Are are a fraud and a liar.

          1. What I’m stating is basic stuff: life satisfaction, social structure, and happiness indexes, both over time and versus GDP. You can look it up yourself, it’s basic textbook stuff. These generally go up as countries get out of poverty and then plateau or decline beyond a certain point.

            But, hey, you know that you are an ignorant huckster pushing a narrative, and facts and data scare you.

            1. Yes, basic unmeasureable subjective stuff, which no one can refute. It is entirely your personal opinion, and since you weren't around back then, your personal opinion of those unmeasureable subjective values is even more useless than your current interpretation of them.

              1. In other words, you asked for data, got it, but that data doesn't comport with your Pollyannaish libertine Marxist manifesto so you reject it out of hand. You know, just like you're accusing everyone else of doing. Because you're a stupid piece of shit Marxist cunt who does nothing but project just like every other stupid piece of shit Marxist cunt in the history of which you are utterly and completely ignorant. As if the "Happiness Index" was any less a crock of horse shit than the pseudo-scientific academic racism you support you fat ugly cunt.

              2. We have an excellent example of Dunning Kruger in you: not only are you evidently completely ignorant of how subjective phenomena are measured and quantified in the sciences, you are so ignorant that you don’t even think it is possible or meaningful.

                1. You cannot show how to measure happiness, satisfaction, or any other such subjective value; otherwise you would have. Links to studies which assume such measurements do not qualify.

                  If you cannot explain how to measure such things, and in the space of a Reason comment, then you are just another woke statist power freak.

                  Fuck off, slaver.

                  1. FFS, were you born yesterday? Have you heard of Google?

                    Neugarten, Bernice L., Robert J. Havighurst, and Sheldon S. Tobin. "The measurement of life satisfaction." Journal of gerontology (1961).

                    Pavot, William, and Ed Diener. "The satisfaction with life scale and the emerging construct of life satisfaction." The journal of positive psychology 3.2 (2008): 137-152.

                    Veenhoven, Ruut. "The study of life-satisfaction." (1996).

                    Kapteyn, Arie, James P. Smith, and Arthur Van Soest. "Life satisfaction." International differences in well-being (2010): 70-104.

                    Lyubomirsky, Sonja, and Heidi S. Lepper. "A measure of subjective happiness: Preliminary reliability and construct validation." Social indicators research 46.2 (1999): 137-155.

                    Angner, Erik. "Is it possible to measure happiness?." European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3.2 (2013): 221-240.

                    Angner, Erik. "The politics of happiness: Subjective vs. economic measures as measures of social well-being." Economic Measures as Measures of Social Well-Being (October 1, 2008) (2008).

                    Frey, Bruno S., and Alois Stutzer. "Happiness and public choice." Public Choice 144.3 (2010): 557-573.

                  2. I've helpfully provided you with dozens of link to snap off in your asshole. Now go ahead and tell us that truth is relative and therefore anything that doesn't comport with your Marxist dialectical materialism is non-quantifiable and can be dismissed without examination.

        3. Once basic material needs are met, happiness becomes decoupled from material wealth.

          Only life-long affluent people believe that. Everyone who has been both poor and prosperous knows how much material wealth contributes to happiness.

    3. But there were new inventions. Which means today is better than yesterday. Because stuff.

      Ignore that happiness is at an all time low and still declining.
      Ignore that birthrates are at an all time low and still declining.
      Ignore everything that isn't cool new bugman stuff. That's what matters. If we didn't make the political/social changes we did, then all that cool new stuff wouldn't have been developed because reasons.

      1. You too have zero data to back up your claims.

        Ignore that happiness is at an all time low and still declining.

        An entirely subjective "value" which is literally unmeasureable and incapable of comparison from then to now, or region to region.

        Ignore that birthrates are at an all time low and still declining.

        First you need to prove this is objectively and generally bad. You can't.

        Ignore everything that isn't cool new bugman stuff.

        You then toss out everything else with a sweeping subjective generalization.

        You have no case. You are another fucking statist. You want everyone to bow to your subjective feelings.

        Fuck off, slaver.

        1. An entirely subjective "value" which is literally unmeasureable and incapable of comparison from then to now, or region to region.

          We are talking about nostalgia, i.e. preferences and values.

          You are another fucking statist.

          You are endorsing a century of progressive management of the country and a state whose objective has been the maximization of certain economic quantities. And when people say “hey, your technocratic analysis doesn’t actually reflect the preferences people might reveal in free market” you lose it.

          You are the “fucking statist”.

          1. Slavery is freedom.

            War is peace.

            Woke progressivism is individualism.

            Government is liberty.

            1. Slavery is freedom. War is peace. Woke progressivism is individualism. Government is liberty.

              Those indeed seem to be your beliefs, since you agree with progressives both on their measures of progress and believe that a century of statism and progressivism has been effective in delivering on their promises.

              Let me tell you in no uncertain terms, using your own words: Fuck off, slaver.

              1. We should just get rid of them.

                1. Getting rid of people isn't a libertarian thing to do, and it doesn't bring about liberty. If we want a free and prosperous country, we have to carry out our own "long march through the institutions", since the predicament we are in is largely due to the takeover of governmental and civil institutions of society by the left. AOC, Sanders, and Biden are symptoms, not causes.

        2. An entirely subjective "value" which is literally unmeasureable and incapable of comparison from then to now, or region to region.

          Well, actually it's not. Researchers have been tracking happiness on a 10 point scale for decades. That you don't like the results of that research doesn't make it any less valid than your idiotic Marxist dialectical materialism.

          First you need to prove this is objectively and generally bad. You can't.

          People who aren't mentally ill narcissistic death cultists like yourself tend to have a preference for the things that have given life actual meaning for 10,000 years or so, like families and children. But even a retarded Marxist self-involved faggot cunt like you should be able to comprehend why having below-replacement-level reproduction might cause some problems for your venerated welfare systems. Here's a clue for you: the sub-literate spics you're counting on to keep you in social security checks are all broke as a joke and consequently have a net negative tax burden. Have fun with that one.

          You have no case. You are another fucking statist. You want everyone to bow to your subjective feelings.

          Yeah he's the statist relying on subjective feelings. Not the literal Marxist retarded faggot rejecting social science he doesn't like and having a temper tantrum because not everyone else jerks off to a wall sized poster of young Stalin like you do. Fuck off and die slow you ugly fat faggot piece of shit. Stomach cancer will do nicely. Unless you want some help - just let me know.

          1. You must be the first Marxist I have ever heard of who uses "marxist" as an insult.

            What a weird weird crowd you statists are.

            1. Well, you're not the first Marxist I've ever heard who uses "statist" as an insult. You're also not the first Marxist faggot piece of shit to dismiss evidence and fabricate false facts to fit your narrative. Matter of fact, you're pretty much every tired cliche of a pathetic bootlicking Marxist.

            2. What a weird weird crowd you statists are.

              You are the one defending statist measures of progress and are arguing that a century of progressivism actually delivered on its promise.

              You are defending statism in this discussion and you don't even realize it.

      2. Bugman stuff? You mean like The Tick?
        https://youtu.be/-j3d8-cpbpg

    4. Republicans struggled to believe National Prohibition was The New Jerusalem. as suicide rates increased by 12%. Their Germanic fellow-travelers were convinced Adolf Hitler was the Reincarnation of Jesus even as the Serfs of Russian monarchy starved on the altar of Settled Science and a Planned Economy. Yet... they're still here, and still hawking the same sermons and legislation. Only the Libertarian Party offers any relevant alternative.

      1. You need to read some history. American progressives were the Nazi sympathizers in the US, the same people who favored eugenics and segregation.

        1. Hank is mentally ill and makes up history as he goes along. The senate vote to send the 18th amendment to the states for ratification was 65 to 20, with the Democrats voting 36 in favor and 12 in opposition; and the Republicans voting 29 in favor and 8 in opposition. The enabling legislation known as the Volstead Act passed the house by a vote of 287-100, and both the house and senate overrode a presidential veto to pass it - requiring a 2/3 majority, which the Republicans did not possess. Trying to discuss real history with this deranged lunatic is pigeon chess. Just ignore him or mercilessly mock his dementia-addled obsolete old ass.

          1. Hank is a TDS-addled spastic asshole.

            1. Don't be mean Sevo. You know Hank is very old now and doesn't remember current events.

              For old Hank it's always 1965.

              1. And he vividly remembers last year—when both the LBJ and Goldwater campaigns refused to respond to his inquiries about their stance on Prohibition.

              2. Thought he as stuck in 1932.

              3. Actually, 1972. That's when John Hospers and Toni Nathan were the first Libertarian Party Presidential and Vice-Presidential Candidates. and the Libertarian Party wrote the ruling for Roe v. Wade for the Supremes, as he constantly reminds us.

                I'm still waiting for him to provide a citation for that about Roe because I would find that fascinating if true.

                I would also be fascinated as to why the Supremes didn't cite the rest of the Libertarian Party Platform and make the U.S. more Libertarian with each new ruling. That would make life way easier if we could have freedom entirely by judicial ruling and precedent.

                Poor Hank. I think he has many great thoughts, it's just that they are the same dozen thoughts over and over and over.

    5. Right, because a century ago, the President's son died of an infected blister from playing tennis. Life was so much better before modern medicine, before people had refrigerators or the internet, when half the country still made their living from farming, when half your income went to food without any of the choices and variety we have today.

      Your knowledge of "basic economic and social data" is a lie.

      1. Well, we can certainly agree that the US has gotten materially wealthier during part of that period, that people have more choices than ever before, and that they live longer. That process lasted until maybe the 80's, and since then the middle class has stagnated.

        Throughout all that time, other economic and social measures have declined: marriage rates have dropped, people are having fewer children, single parenthood has risen, homelessness and drug addiction have increased massively.

        Happiness and life satisfaction have also stagnated. They weren't surveyed early on in the 20th century, but they have stagnated or decreased in recent decades. Internationally, we know that increases of per capita GDP beyond a certain point (about $30-40k) don't increase life satisfaction (and may decrease it).

        Is that clearer?

        1. That process lasted until maybe the 80's, and since then the middle class has stagnated.

          I couldn't disagree more. Perhaps you could make that case if you simply look at dollars. But dollars don't matter. What matters is what those dollars can buy. And while wages may have stagnated, those wages can buy some really cool shit for much better prices than anyone could imagine in those halcyon 80s.

          1. What matters is what those dollars can buy.

            Home price to income ratios are at 70 year high (probably all time). Education has massively declined in quality and increased in price. Healthcare has made the majority of Americans chronically ill. Cars have substantially increased in price and maintenance costs. Those are the things that matter.

            those wages can buy some really cool shit for much better prices than anyone could imagine in those halcyon 80s.

            Yes, instead of the basics (houses, cars, education), people can now buy high tech trinkets that are obsolete within a year made by Chinese slave labor and paid for by a rapidly increasing national debt. For now. That's not going to last more than another few years.

            1. Home price to income ratios are at 70 year high (probably all time). Education has massively declined in quality and increased in price.

              Ayuh.

              Healthcare has made the majority of Americans chronically ill.

              I don't know what that means. Medical science is extending lives and making life better for people who are chronically ill.

              Cars have substantially increased in price and maintenance costs.

              Yes and no. Price keeps going up thanks to mandated gadgets, but around here the body of a car will rust out before the drive train dies. I had to sell a car because the rocker panels rusted out. It had 225,000 miles on it, and the drive train was tip top. But the fix was more than the value of the car. Could have driven it to 300,000 if not for the rust. And maintenance was much cheaper than a car payment.

              Those are the things that matter.

              To you.

              people can now buy high tech trinkets that are obsolete within a year made by Chinese slave labor and paid for by a rapidly increasing national debt.

              Not sure what that means. The national debt and the "trade deficit" have nothing to do with one another. One is what the government borrows, the other is the difference in value between imports and exports.

              For now. That's not going to last more than another few years.

              They've been saying that forever.

              1. I don't know what that means. Medical science is extending lives and making life better for people who are chronically ill.

                US life expectancy has stalled for a decade and is behind other nations. And the US healthcare system is creating chronically ill patients by favoring drug treatments over prevention and lifestyle changes.

                Not sure what that means. The national debt and the "trade deficit" have nothing to do with one another. One is what the government borrows, the other is the difference in value between imports and exports.

                They have everything to do with each other: the US is borrowing money from the Chinese and other foreign nations and interests, handing it out to Americans, who then turn around and buy Chinese goods with it.

                They've been saying that forever.

                No, not forever just for a few decades. Roughly every decade we hit a crisis, and the government papers it over with more borrowing, more spending, and more regulation. Look at the behavior of the Fed during the financial crises since the 1980's; they have become more and more extreme. Are you really the kind of statist who wants to defend that?

                And in the long run, that doesn't work. You can't lower interests rates below zero. Other countries stop buying our debt even if we threaten them militarily. Etc. I give the system one or two more financial crises (maybe another decade or two) before it completely collapses.

                1. US life expectancy has stalled for a decade and is behind other nations.

                  Figures don't lie, but liars figure. That's a metric I don't trust as a measure of comparison because of differences in how it is calculated.

                  And the US healthcare system is creating chronically ill patients by favoring drug treatments over prevention and lifestyle changes.

                  Doctors should have the power to mandate lifestyle changes? "Lose weight because I'm not giving you medication for your blood pressure, fatass."

                  They have everything to do with each other: the US is borrowing money from the Chinese and other foreign nations and interests, handing it out to Americans, who then turn around and buy Chinese goods with it.

                  This is the very first time I've seen that argument. There's a reason for that. It's silly and economically ignorant.

                  Are you really the kind of statist who wants to defend that?

                  What did I defend? Oh yeah. Nothing.

                  I give the system one or two more financial crises (maybe another decade or two) before it completely collapses.

                  You might be right. You might be wrong. I think you're wrong.

                  1. Figures don't lie, but liars figure. That's a metric I don't trust as a measure of comparison because of differences in how it is calculated.

                    So you are saying that US healthcare extends life expectancy despite all the statistics saying the opposite?

                    Doctors should have the power to mandate lifestyle changes? "Lose weight because I'm not giving you medication for your blood pressure, fatass."

                    Where did I say anything about "mandating"? Doctors should recommend the best available treatment and have the time and incentives to work with patients on implementing it. And patients should pay for drugs out of pocket.

                    Instead, doctors and insurance companies are incentivized to prescribe inferior drugs and government forces patients themselves to pay for them through sunk costs.

                    This is the very first time I've seen that argument. There's a reason for that.

                    Yes: your ignorance. If there were anything wrong with the argument, you would have instead come up with a counterargument.

            2. I would disagree about cars. Reliability of modern cars is amazingly better. Thanks to the Japanese for prodding all manufacturers upward. Appliances, however, have taken a turn for the worse. Washer, dryers, refrigerators used to last 30 years or more and replacement parts were easy to find, now you're lucky to get 10 years use out of them and manufacturers only stock replacement parts for as long.
              Oh and shoelaces, when was the last time you had to replace one of those?

              1. Oh and shoelaces, when was the last time you had to replace one of those?

                Like every couple months.

                I had you on mute but as I recall you aren't a total ass. Did you ask to be one of the cool kids? If so I'd be happy to mute you again. Wouldn't want to ruin your reputation by replying to your posts.

              2. Never mind. I'll put you back on mute. I recall now you being a putrid dick.

                1. LOL! Peek a boo.

                2. So fucking pathetic.

              3. Never-mind 90% of every single EPA regulation modification of the last decade either causes consistent problems under 100,000 miles or has to be CHOPPED right out and/or turned off.

        2. Let me get this clear: you would rather live 40 years ago, forever, than now. No internet, crappy computers, lousy TV and movie choices, crappy jobs, crappy medicine, crappy cars, pollution, expensive food with little variety, the threat of nuclear war, lying media with little choice, crappy home applianes .... hell, everything was more expensive and had less choice.

          That is really your desire?

          Sir, you can do so at any time. Shut off your internet, dump your computer, ignore everything good in the grocery stores, pay twice as much for it, buy new home appliances twice as often and pay twice as much, reject all medicine and medical practices made after 1985, buy used cars which are twenty years old and rusted and polluting beyond belief.

          I double dog dare you. You won't. You are a hypocrite, a liar, and a fucking slaver who wants everybody else to be more poor and miserable than you are.

          1. No internet, crappy computers,

            I was using the Internet 40 years ago on a UNIX machine. There were online discussion forums, online news, email, and chat. Education, healthcare, transportation, housing, and travel have gotten steadily worse. People have become fatter, sicker, and lonelier over those 40 years.

            lousy TV and movie choices, crappy jobs, crappy medicine, crappy cars, pollution,

            To the contrary movies were better (few great movies produced in the last few decades), TV was better (it actually provided a broad range of political opinions), medical care was better (if less high tech), and cars were certainly better. Service sector jobs (=crappy) were a much smaller percentage of the economy. Pensions and full health care coverage were common.

            reject all medicine and medical practices made after 1985

            I do indeed: instead of the latest drugs or treatments, I choose lifestyle and diet changes when necessary. Has served me well.

            buy used cars which are twenty years old and rusted and polluting beyond belief.

            My 25 year old car passes modern emission tests and gets 35 mpg. It's not rusted. I may eventually get a 60's car, though they are getting really expensive.

            I double dog dare you. You won't. You are a hypocrite, a liar, and a fucking slaver who wants everybody else to be more poor and miserable than you are.

            No, I want to share my experience so that people like you can't say you haven't been warned or told.

            It doesn't affect me either way; I'm close to retirement, and I can move to some nice wealthy enclave either in the US or elsewhere.

            1. Dude, you epitomize the article! It's great!

              Do you really pine for the "Good Old Days"?

              Would you give up your smartphone and the prescriptions that are keeping your gay boomer ass alive?

              You want to go back to being at the mercy of three channels?

              What about long distance? Five bucks to call your buddy out of state. Great.

              Tour the grocery store and think about how much of what you take for granted wasn't there in 1981.

              Nostalgia is silly.

              1. Do you really pine for the "Good Old Days"?

                Where was I "pining" for anything? I love having gigabit to the home, Bitcoin, GPUs, 4k displays, and all that. I'm simply correcting your misconceptions. And I don't like seeing society falling apart around me, and it is.

                Would you give up your smartphone and the prescriptions that are keeping your gay boomer ass alive?

                Unlike you, I'm not a sick, fat alcoholic, so I don't actually need any prescriptions.

                Nostalgia is silly.

                It is. And so is your belief that the authoritarian sh*thole you live in is something to be happy about or your unshakable and ridiculous conviction that things will just keep going. But I suppose the regime needs fools like you to keep it in power.

                1. And so is your belief that the authoritarian sh*thole you live in...

                  What authoritarian shithole is that? If you think having to wear a mask on a plane is the same as living under Mau or Stalin then you're a living insult to history.

                  1. What authoritarian shithole is that?

                    The one that spies on its citizens, weaponizes the IRS against political enemies, destroys people's lives for holding the wrong opinions, prosecutes people based on race, tortures people to extract information, deliberately kills civilians and even citizens, lies to its . The one that mandates that people purchase products, where the government controls more than 50% of the economy, where the government transfers trillions of dollars into the pockets of billionaires, where the top 20% are forced to pay for the entire government, and where you have to pay taxes even if you leave the country. The one whose cities have been overrun by homeless and race riots in recent decades. That one.

                    But, hey, if you're doped out, poor, and without a future, you don't mind, you actually like it.

                    If you think having to wear a mask on a plane is the same as living under Mau or Stalin then you're a living insult to history.

                    The masks aren't authoritarian per se, they are just there to make people like you complacent and compliant.

                    And Mao and Stalin were totalitarians. The US isn't there... yet.

          2. Let me get this clear: you would rather live 40 years ago, forever, than now. No internet, crappy computers, lousy TV and movie choices, crappy jobs, crappy medicine, crappy cars, pollution, expensive food with little variety, the threat of nuclear war, lying media with little choice, crappy home applianes .... hell, everything was more expensive and had less choice.

            Where the hell were you living, behind the Iron Curtain?
            Internet? Computers? People had a life back then.
            Crappy jobs? The blue collar guys I worked with regularly took off Friday afternoons to go party and still made their monthly rent and car payments.
            Crappy cars? Four of those blue collar guys I knew were leasing Porsches. The Japanese quality invasion was on the upswing. Datsun 240z anyone?
            Home appliances lasted more than 30 years and parts were easy to find and you could service them yourself.
            Food wasn't expensive and housing was the last thing hit by inflation before the boomers settled down into buying homes. You could get a house for less than 30 grand in the early 80's.
            Where'd you pick up these fairy tales? The brothers Grim?

      2. Life was so much better before modern medicine, before people had refrigerators or the internet, when half the country still made their living from farming when half your income went to food without any of the choices and variety we have today.

        Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Sounds like a really great improvement. And hey, you can linger for 2 or 3 years with dementia or cancer ravaging your body at an average cost of about half a million dollars.

        Refrigerators first went into mass production during the 1920s and had been invented a decade earlier.

        In 1920, 30% of workers were employed in agriculture according to census data. Not 50%. Even 2 decades earlier in the 1900 census it was 40%. Median income households spent 30% of their income on food, not 50%.

        Your knowledge of "basic economic and social data" is a lie.

        No, actually you're just an incredibly stupid piece of shit pulling numbers out of your ass. You're also ignorant, but that's curable. Stupidity is permanent and terminal. Let's hope it gets you sooner than later. I'll post links to sources for all my data to stuff up your cocksucking faggot Marxist ass in subsequent posts. And then we'll compare that to all of the cites you provides for your made up numbers you lying piece of shit.

        1. Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States

          Source

        2. Refrigerators first went into mass production during the 1920s and had been invented a decade earlier.

          Source

          And that, of course, is leaving out that iceboxes were common for decades prior to electric refrigerators.

        3. In 1920, 30% of workers were employed in agriculture according to census data. Not 50%.

          Source

        4. Even 2 decades earlier in the 1900 census it was 40%.

          Source

        5. Median income households spent 30% of their income on food, not 50%.

          Source

    6. We all want to go back to three channels, minimum homes with AC, paying a vastly higher percent of income on food and necessities, leaded fuel, no home computers (let alone laptops and smart phones), land lines, extremely expensive air travel (although the accommodation was better that today's cattle cars), lack of vaccines for MMR, more primitive cardiac and cancer care, etc?

      Are you sure "the US has changed massively can for the the worse?"

      1. HEAR HEAR!

      2. There were individual vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella long before the combo vaccine you historically illiterate stupid prick. Jesus fuck.

      3. Obviously, right now, Americans appear wealthy because we are capable of massive consumption. But that's deceptive. Economically, the US is on the brink of a massive crash, and unlike the crashes of the early 20th century, it has destroyed the social and economic capital needed to recover from it.

        Couple of other points:

        - Many people are getting rid of TVs, choosing smaller homes, paying more for food, avoiding air travel, and minimizing smart phone use, so apparently many people do. We've done some of that too and it has improved our lives.

        - Small, incremental improvements in cardiac and cancer care are meaningless compared to the massive increase in obesity, which is responsible for the majority of cancers and cardiac events. In addition, those new treatments are so expensive that they are not rationally justifiable.

      4. You haven't been to a grocery store this year have you?

      5. Gotta love the marxist focus on only the material. Now do whether people are happier and more fulfilled in their lives with that stuff and whether communities are better or worse overall.

    7. Sooo...Why does everything have to be an Either/Or of false binary dilemmas?

      Why can't we have all the technological and lifestyle advancements of today and lower taxes, lower regulation, sound money based on Gold or Silver, fiscal responsibility to the point of eventually getting debt free, foreign intervention unless our nation is attacked, no entangling alliances, etc.

      And on the cultural front, why can't we reject both Left-Wing Progressive, Identity Politics Wokeism and Religious Right, Neo-Reactionary, Anti-LGBTQ, Dark Age-ism?

      Inquiring mimds want to know...

      1. No foreign intervention, that is.

  10. Shorter version: hindsight bias and tribalism make most people stupid--and wrong.

    1. Yeah, but the people who are stupid and wrong are the ones that claim, against evidence, that life has been getting substantially better. That because such people are using the wrong measures to determine quality of life.

      1. What are the correct measures?

        1. You’re making the technocratic and erroneous assumption that there are “correct measures”.

          What we can say is that there are measures that provide rational reasons for people to be nostalgic.

          In other words, life has improved in some ways and gotten worse in others.

          1. I suppose. When I was a kid nobody had to supervise me, but air conditioning was a luxury for the rich. Now you can get the cops knocking on your door for letting your kid play outside unsupervised while you sit in a cheaply air conditioned room.

            1. And I grew up in a house that was built so that you didn’t need air conditioning: thick sturdy walls with high thermal mass. These days, trying to build such a house is a nearly unaffordable luxury, due to regulations, labor costs, and energy costs.

            2. When I was a kid nobody had to supervise me, but air conditioning was a luxury for the rich.

              Lmfao. Since you're pretending to be somewhere in your 40s, you're full of fucking shit. I'm in my late 30s. My dad died 10 years ago and he grew up with air conditioned houses in Texas and California as a military brat in a barely above median income single-earner household with 5 children.

          2. In other words, life has improved in some ways and gotten worse in others.

            You've changed your tune.

            Happiness and life satisfaction haven’t increased; in fact they have fallen.

            1. No I haven’t. Happiness and life satisfaction are some things we can measure, GDP and life expectancy are others. Some of these measures have improved, others haven’t or have fallen.

              1. Just because you believe woke marxians who make up shit to get government funding because they can't hold down a real job, does not mean that the unmeasureable has suddenly become measureable by voodoo.

                1. You are mistaken. I despise the political views of most of the people who compile "happiness indexes" and "life satisfaction indexes"; they are usually trying to justify some progressive neo-Marxist back-to-nature b.s. with their papers. But their political beliefs don't invalidate their data, data that agrees with other economic measures and my personal experience.

                  Your problem is that you have drunken the cool-aid of the progressive technocracy: you defend their bogus economic measures and you cheer the supposed achievements of a century of progressivism. And like the progressive technocracy, you deny any and all data that contradicts your world view. You're a useful idiot for progressives.

        2. There are none. He has chosen unmeasureable subjective "data" for his comparisons.

          1. We are talking about something subjective, namely quality of life and life satisfaction. Those are hard to measure reliably, but to the degree that we can measure them, they generally have stagnated or declined.

            You cling to the preposterous idea that just because you declare something easily quantifiable to be a stand in for quality of life that makes it so. You’re a fool and a huckster.

            1. I have a feeling that ABC Marxist has such a hard on for "subjective" measurements because his IQ test came back in the low 70s.

              1. What a tag team!

                1. Yeah, NOYB2 makes the points, I supply the data, and you devolve into red herrings because everything you've said in this thread is an outright, blatant fucking lie which I've demonstrated exhaustively. Quite the trio, really. No comedy team is any good without its stooge.

      2. "Yeah, but the people who are stupid and wrong are the ones that claim, against evidence, that life has been getting substantially better. That because such people are using the wrong measures to determine quality of life."

        I'm going to throw in for consideration the idea that autonomy is the ultimate arbiter of whether people are happy.

        This study is looking at the effects of life satisfaction and happiness in terms of autonomy--against other factors like wealth, status, leisure time, safety, health, and friendships.

        "Financial security and the respect individuals receive from others are the two basic functionings that become less relevant for individual life satisfaction with both increasing individual perceived autonomy and increasing societal opportunities and choice. Leisure and safety are less important in societies with better economic conditions and more encompassing civil liberties, yet do not vary among individuals according to their perceived autonomy. Conversely, health and friendship do differ in their positive effect on life satisfaction among individuals with different levels of perceived autonomy but are equally important notwithstanding societal conditions.

        https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11205-020-02565-8

        It's hard to be happy when you're sick and don't have any friends, but generally speaking, happiness is positively correlated with perceptions of autonomy. Different people may value the same things differently, but they appear to be happier to the extent that they're more free to make choices for themselves--regardless of whatever else they value and how much. I don't suppose it surprises libertarians to learn that being bossed around by progressives isn't the secret to happiness, but I suspect there are progressive trolls in this thread who truly believe that we'd all be happier if we just let them boss us around. This is another reason why progressives are America's most horrible people.

        1. Maybe think of it this way: people are unhappy when they're sick and friendless. Apart from that, their happiness appears to be positively correlated with autonomy--even if they're not as wealthy, they're happier when they have more autonomy.

          When you're seeing people get nostalgic for a time when there were only three channels, etc., it's probably not about being limited to three channels that made them think they were happier back then. It's probably that they have less autonomy now--in other ways--than they did back then.

          Nostalgia for youth is probably about that to at least some extent. Remember when you seemed to have all the autonomy in the world and hardly any responsibilities? Even then, the restrictions that were put on your autonomy by your parents were probably your biggest source of unhappiness.

          1. B-I-N-G-O

        2. I'm going to throw in for consideration the idea that autonomy is the ultimate arbiter of whether people are happy.

          I agree. And in the US, autonomy has been more and more restricted over the past 100 years. That means that the state of the economy and the way people live doesn't actually reflect their preferences.

          It's hard to be happy when you're sick and don't have any friends,

          And, sadly, chronic disease has massively increased (the majority of Americans have some chronic disease) and friendships have decreased, both arguably in response to the financial interests of the healthcare industry and the monetization of social relations by corporations. That's on top of the loss of autonomy.

    2. Corrected for unstated implications: Hindsight bias and tribalism make most people of the nostalgic tribe delusional, stupid, and wrong to question the driving force behind my tribe, the inherent and unbridled goodness of any/all progress.

  11. Thanks for the delightful article. Observe that it hardly made a dent in the mirrored gangs of hate-raiding looter infiltrators. Each klepto-tribe seeks to blame the other for all ills while struggling to divert libertarian votes into support for its own altruistic violation of rights. Yet in the nuclear age, both kleptocracy parties are de facto ruin follies. Following or endorsing either in its sacrifices is the shortest path to economic collapse and radioactive ruin.

    1. Hank has a hard time differentiating between the NSDAP and the SPD; Hank is a TDS-addled spastic asshole.

      1. PSSST! With him it’s CDS—- “C” as in Coolidge!

  12. Nostalgia, like most things, can be used for good or evil. To the extent that nostalgia is used to avoid or correct mistakes we've made in the past, it's a good thing. The expansion of socialism in our country during FDR's New Deal and Johnson's Great Society were terrible. We're still suffering from them today. How does one talk about why we should avoid repeating the mistakes of the past--even while Joe Biden and the progressives are fighting to make the same mistakes and expand socialism again--without being something like nostalgic about what things were like before we made these terrible mistakes?

    You can say the same thing about mistakes that were made in recent memory in regards to our civil liberties during the Drug War or the War on Terror that you can about socialism under FDR or the creation and expansion of entitlements under Johnson. Is it unreasonably nostalgic to pretend that our speech and our financial activities were under far less surveillance before the drug war, the War on Terror, and social media? It's possible that all of us were freer in the past than we are today--in specific and important ways--and when nostalgia helps us avoid making the mistakes we made in the past, it's a good thing.

    The following states shouldn't be shocking to any libertarian capitalist: To the extent that African-Americans are freer and more prosperous today than they were under Jim Crow, it is not because of the socialist programs of the New Deal; it is not because of the expansion of socialist entitlement programs under the Great Society; it is not because of the drug war; and it is not because of government surveillance of our speech and financial transactions. Rather, to the extent that African-Americans are freer and more prosperous today than they were under Jim Crow, it's in spite of all those things--rather than because of them.

    Sometimes, when I see people talking about things like the Tulsa Massacre of 1921, it seems like they're almost nostalgic for a time when white society was so clearly and openly racist that huge atrocities like this were possible. That's nothing to be nostalgic about. Nostalgia is probably in order, however, for a time when government regulation of the economy was such that African-American ex-slaves could create capitalist enterprises that were so wildly successful, that "The Black Wall Street" could become the envy of the whites who surrounded them--despite Jim Crow.

    That's just one example. Let's get nostalgic for the opportunities that were afforded the African-American descendants of sharecroppers, when they started moving north during the beginning of the Great Migration (circa 1910 to 1940). We should be nostalgic for the success of millions of African-Americans, in that period, who migrated north and west to take industrial jobs and successfully broke into the middle class--despite Jim Crow. Those economic conditions were foolishly blunted by FDR's New Deal and were made worse by the expansion of socialism under Johnson's Great Society. What's wrong with being nostalgic for a less socialist economy that created all those opportunities?

    1. Certainly, just because some people use nostalgia incorrectly and for bad ends doesn't mean nostalgia can't be used correctly and for good ends.

    2. Shorter Ken: progressives are the root of all evil in society.

      1. progressivism is the enemy of individual liberty and as such is a root of evil.

        1. Yeah, progressivism is all about using the coercive power of government to force individuals to make sacrifices for the progressives definition of the common good, and it is fundamentally both authoritarian and socialist. Libertarian capitalism, on the other hand, is ultimately about individuals being free to make choices for themselves, and it is . . . ahem . . . fundamentally both libertarian and capitalist--rather than authoritarian and socialist. Yeah, it's safe to say that progressivism is the enemy of liberty and deeply unethical. Morality is impossible without agency, and progressivism is all about ignoring our agency and forcing us to do as they say. This is part of what I mean when I say that progressives are America's most horrible people.

      2. progressives are the root of all evil in society

        Maybe not ALL but certainly the overwhelming majority of it.

        1. Agency is certainly the root of good. You can't have good (or evil) without agency--the ability to make a choice. If you can't make a choice, you can't make a good one or a bad one. To the extent that progressives are all about steamrolling over our agency, yeah, they're going after the root of everything good in our society. That's why progressives are America's most horrible people.

      3. Shorter sarcasmic: I'm a retarded subhuman piece of shit who gets drunk and fucks his underage daughter and I also literally cannot read.

        1. You forgot the bit about the half-million-dollar Airbnb.

      4. Shorter Ken: progressives are the root of all evil in society.

        Well, . . .

  13. Sometimes, when I see people talking about things like the Tulsa Massacre of 1921, it seems like they're almost nostalgic for a time when white society was so clearly and openly racist that huge atrocities like this were possible.

    Yes, they try to tie their muddy, irrational, and ironic complaints of today to the clear, obvious moral positions of the past; virtue by association. We are not fooled.

    1. They're usually trying to use "nostalgia" for an evil past as if it exposes today's white society as inherently racist. It's harder to paint all of white society as racist when lynching is relatively uncommon and wholescale pogroms against African-Americans aren't really possible. You can see the same thing in nostalgia amongst some people during the Cold War era. It was much easier to think of ourselves as the good guys when the bad guys were the Nazis. It was easier to introduce conscription and invade Vietnam when the communists were the bad guys, and the bad guys in the Soviet Union and China were oppressing their own people.

      Anyway, yean. they're trying to hold a mirror up to white America, and saying, "Look what you whites did in 1921--this is who you are", and white America is correct to respond, "That's who a lot of people in Tulsa were in 1921. I wasn't born for decades until after that happened". Even worse, some people try to impugn capitalism itself with this "nostalgia" for awfulness--as if the capitalism of 1921 itself, somehow, were responsible for racism, lawlessness, and violence. Support for the state of capitalism before FDR, however, is not support for racism--just like support for FDR's socialist policies isn't support for Japanese internment camps.

    2. Funny, the only people I've seen using the Tulsa massacre like that have been leftists. From the Watchmen show to the black separatist founders of CRT.

  14. Shorter version: Things aren't as bad as they seem, since the grown-ups are in charge now and building back better.

    1. Wow dude, how much did you pay for the hat on that strawman?

      1. It was free, and so was the straw. There are so many strawmen blowing around the comments section you can pick up whatever you need. I guess life really is better now.

      2. By listening to your blatherings, sarco.

    2. I certainly agree that using nostalgia for a time before we could be subject to Biden and the progressives' BBB budget reconciliation bill can be entirely reasonable and appropriate.

      The fact is that if Trump had been reelected or one of the Republicans had won the George Senate runoff elections, Biden and the progressives' BBB budget reconciliation bill wouldn't even be under consideration.

      And addressing nostalgia for when Trump was president may well be the real target of this piece. After all, Trump did say, "America first!", and if "nationalism" isn't a good excuse for the chattering classes to shit their pants, what is?

      1. Except, you know, there wasn’t a single word about Trump or the Trump era in the article.

        1. You don't get it. Reason is run by progressives who hate Trump. That means this article has to be a dig against Trump supporters. Ken correctly deduced that when the author talks about generations over time being nostalgic for the years of their youth, what the author really means is that anyone nostalgic for the Trump years is an idiot because Biden is so awesome. The fact that you didn't see it means you're a progressive who voted for Biden.

          1. I don’t see the fnords, either. Sigh.

          2. Since the author quite literally led with the proposition that nostalgia is due to white supremacy and racism, it's not much of a stretch since that's been the talking point you've been regurgitating since DemocraticUnderground gave you your talking points memo when Trump descended the stairs and announced his candidacy.

            1. Sure, Tulpa. Sure.

  15. I’m honestly impressed that Ken can regularly dash off 500 word comments on every blog thread. No sarcasm. I’m genuinely impressed.

    1. And he is always able to blame every evil in the world on progressives.

      1. And you and WM reliably whine about him in every thread.

        1. Whine? No. I simply point out the logical conclusion of Ken's posts. If progressives are the root of all evil in the world, what can you do about it? Voting for Republicans isn't enough, as Ken has pointed out, because progressive voters are evil, stupid, evil, irrational, evil, unreasonable, and evil. How can you possibly fix society with people like that? There really is only one solution.

          1. You know how you always use the term 'strawman' and don't have even the slightest inkling of what it actually means? What you're doing here is an actual strawman.

            Also since you've spent 5 years posting about Trump every single day of your life, including a year after he's left office, methinks the faggot cocksucker pussy bitch doth protest too much.

          2. Ken's right, sarcasmic.

            You progressives are terrible, awful, evil people who are using injustice as an excuse to indulge your garbage natures.

          3. While the progressive answer to their political opponents is “let’s destroy and eliminate them”, we don’t share that approach.

            We simply point out that progressives are both wrong and evil. There are plenty of ways of fighting evil that don’t involve becoming evil oneself. Hard as that may be for you to understand.

        2. That’s funny. I gave him a genuine compliment above, but you are calling it “whining”.

          If you actually kept stats you’d find that Ken writes at least 500 words in comments on virtually every post on the Reason blog, and on a typical day I might comment on two or three of his comments.

  16. Nostalgia for when Reason was libertarian.

    But they hated Trump so much that they supported Biden so that a deluge of “both sides” articles could be written.

    1. They're still trying to reconcile their opposition to Trump winning in 2020 with the positive outcome of libertarian capitalists grabbing their ankles and letting the progressives have their authoritarian socialist way. I maintain that this contradiction can't be satisfactorily reconciled. At some point, there needs to be a mea culpa moment. We've all made obvious mistakes, but if your girlfriend won't apologize for screwing you over, how do you know she won't do the same thing again in the future?

      Surely they did learn something from this, right? They're regularly publishing pieces against Biden and the progressives' BBB budget reconciliation bill. We all know that wouldn't be happening if Trump had been reelected. What other reasons are there to be glad that Biden won from a policy perspective? He's even reinstating the stay in Mexico program! I don't think there's anything left to like about Biden winning, and surely it's okay to at least speak the truth about that?

      Biden winning was the worst thing to happen to libertarian capitalism in 55 years. If they can't admit that it would have been better, from a libertarian and capitalist perspective if Trump had won, surely it's okay to admit that, at least. I'm not sure they can even go that far--because some people might mistakenly think that means they'd wished Trump had won in 2020. It's sort of like how it's not enough not to be racist--you have to be anti-racist--and regretting that Biden won just isn't anti-Trump enough to be kosher.

      1. First Reason doesn't criticize Democrats or Biden at all. Then Reason does criticize Democrats and Biden, but it doesn't matter because the criticism isn't accompanied with "Life with Trump would have been better." Even if they did that the goalposts would move again.

        1. Then Reason does criticize Democrats and Biden

          They haven't, but sure, that would be a great point if they had. Well, actually it wouldn't. Because obsessively haranguing one politician and political party in thousands of articles for 5 years and then offering a mild self-described "critique" to the largest spending bill in the history of the United States is not comparable, and even a retarded piece of shit like you knows this.

          1. Dunno who the muted asshole is, but there's a very good chance that the piece of shit is entire too stupid to know that.

      2. I believe it is you that have talked about the ACLU is catering towards its donors. Often in contrast to civil liberty positions.

        Perhaps Reason is engaging in the same.

        1. I suspect they're getting more from a few big donors than they could get from the rest of us put together, and, yeah, he who pays the piper gets to call the tune.

          1. Why don’t you try contributing?

            1. Why don’t you shut your whore mouth, Dee?

      3. If you are taking about Reason, Nick Gillespie regularly stated on the weekly podcast that he preferred another Trump presidency to Biden. He only stopped saying it when Trump betrayed America on January 6th.

      4. At some point, there needs to be a mea culpa moment.

        Or death.

        We've all made obvious mistakes, but if your girlfriend won't apologize for screwing you over, how do you know she won't do the same thing again in the future?

        Surely they did learn something from this, right?

        You mean like they learned from supporting the LGBTQ rights movement right up until the LP candidate supported 'bake the cake' and then backpedaled with "Well, sometimes tranny rights supersede property rights, quit panicking."?

        It would seem that with trans activists attacking feminists and lesbians who don't prefer female penises, they *might* have learned to shut the hell up. But, it's possible that they just ran out of ink offering constructive COVID criticism, so who knows.

  17. I'd rather live now than any other time in history. Sure things aren't perfect. Some things are getting better and other things are getting worse. You've got people on the left thinking the world is going to end thanks to evil fossil fuels, and you've got people on the right thinking the world is going to end thanks to evil progressives. You can live your life in worry, or just live it. Fuck worrying. It's a waste of time. Be happy. Life isn't so bad.

    1. I think things are pretty good now, but all the people hell bent on "tearing it all down" (a big motive behind the forcible transition to a "green" economy) will reverse our progress.

      1. Define "reverse our progress." Just curious what you mean by that.

        1. You know how the global technocracy are a bunch of Malthusian retards who want a global population of less than 500 million people and think the best way to get there is through eugenics and deprivation of energy and food to the third world? That would be one example. Or you know the political party you spend 10-16 hours per day defending that wants to eliminate fossil fuels? That would be another good example.

        2. Define "reverse our progress." Just curious what you mean by that.

          You know, like the end of the Weimar Republic. Or the fall of Rome. Or the fall of the Ottoman empire. Or the Chinese communist revolution. Or the end of the caliphate. Or the end of the Spanish empire.

          Or any of the hundreds of other wealthy, powerful nations, civilizations, and empires throughout human history that were brought down by bread, circuses, corruption, and currency debasement.

          Because, make no mistake about it, there's a good chance that this is what we are seeing with Western Civilization. Contrary to progressive opinion, history hasn't ended.

          1. People have been saying that for as long as I can remember. Like Biblical End Times, or Climate Change. It's The Collapse of the Republic!
            Or, as a drunk with an overrated singing voice once said "The future's uncertain and the end is always near."
            Makes one want to have beer for breakfast.

            1. People have been saying that for as long as I can remember. Like Biblical End Times, or Climate Change. It's The Collapse of the Republic!

              We have never seen Biblican End Times or disastrous anthropogenic climate change. Never in world history. So those are foolish to be concerned about.

              We have seen great empires, civilizations, and republics collapse, many in my lifetime. Some in yours.

              There is no question that the US will collapse at some point, and that Western Civilization will collapse at some point, like every single nation and civilization before it. The only question is when.

              The US has lasted longer than many other Western nations, and its economic and social indicators are lousy. So it's reasonable to be concerned.

              1. We have never seen Biblican End Times or disastrous anthropogenic climate change.

                Tell that to The Believers. They see the signs everywhere. Just like...

                1. COVID. The answer is COVID, right? Or is this another one of those trick questions where the real answer is Hitler?

                  1. You know who else used to ask those trick questions?

                2. Have the Biblical End Times happened even just once yet? No. In fact, even The Believers believe that it can happen only once, hence the name "End Times".

                  Hence, entirely different from the fall of nations and civilizations, which has happened thousands/hundreds of times.

    2. I'll be happy when I live in a world where you've died of liver damage from your lifetime history of alcoholism and drug abuse. Your estranged wife and children will also be much happier. Particularly the daughter you sexually abused.

    3. I'd rather live now than any other time in history.

      Really? You'd rather live now as a peasant in North Korea than as, say, a gentleman farmer in the Colonies?

      You can live your life in worry, or just live it. Fuck worrying. It's a waste of time. Be happy. Life isn't so bad.

      Spoken like a good little American consumer!

      1. Funny, he didn’t say anything about deriving his happiness from consumption.

        1. Funny, because he definitely implied it.

      2. The percentage of the people in the world living in poverty is at the lowest in history. Medical technology has never been better. I just bought a car with headlights that point where I'm going, instead of straight ahead. I'm stoned on legal weed.

        Sure you can fret over politics if that is your thing, but I fail to understand how that adds happiness to one's life. As I fail to see how individual concern can make a difference.

        Life ain't so bad.

        1. The percentage of the people in the world living in poverty is at the lowest in history.

          I agree. What does that have to do with the decline of the US?

          Sure you can fret over politics if that is your thing, but I fail to understand how that adds happiness to one's life.

          I don't fret over it. I'm personally going to be more than fine, and the rest of the world is going to do a lot better over time.

          Americans need to worry, however: they will likely see their living standards drop precipitously (though they are unlikely to starve), both in absolute terms and relative to the rest of the world. If you're under 40, that's your future.

          Life ain't so bad.

          Life wasn't "so bad" in the communist East Bloc either compared to, say, the life of a medieval peasant. It was just a whole lot worse than in the West or than it could have been.

          1. Life wasn't "so bad" in the communist East Bloc either compared to, say, the life of a medieval peasant.

            I just bought a new car, and it wasn't a Trabant. Sorry but I can only scoff at your comparisons of today's America to Eastern Germany. Scoff, scoff scoff.

            1. I just bought a new car, and it wasn't a Trabant. Sorry but I can only scoff at your comparisons of today's America to Eastern Germany.

              I didn't compare today's America to East Germany. I pointed out that your absolute statement of "life ain't so bad" raises the question "compared to what".

  18. Jebus, I just saw an announcement that Bob Dole is dead, and for a second, I thought they were talking about McConnell.

    1. Wishful thinking. Regardless, I'm glad he's dead and hope it was incredibly painful.

      1. The governor of North Carolina is presently a Democrat, and if he appointed someone to replace McConnell, it wouldn't be better than what we have now. We'd see the BBB budget reconciliation bill pass the Senate before they could hold a special election to replace McConnell, and there's no guarantee that a Republican would win. I don't like McConnell, really, but let's hope he stays healthy until the midterms.

    2. Wow. Bob Dole actually outlived Norm MacDonald. (Then again, I still miss Gilda Radner while desperately trying to ignore anything new from Baba Wawa)

  19. Good article! It seems that people who experienced stable and loving upbringings look on their formative years as being better than their current years, as the author points out. Growing up in the 1960's I remember the scourges of the day: long hair on boys, bra-less women, questioning authority, rock music, and the list goes on. And one of the incredibly good things: people wanted to make things better for their kids than they had it growing up.

    Just a side note concerning the mentioned tv program "Happy Days": I was in high school in the early 70's and didn't watch it because it glossed over so much. One example: Ritchies' hair grew onto his forehead; this was completely out of place. Such hair in the time frame from WW2 to the mid-late 1960s was condemned. Walking into a bar in the sixties with such hair could have resulted in the s**t being kicked out of the wearer. My high school English teacher in 1975 related a story from 1958: his girlfriend at the time (later his wife) gave him a pendant to hang around his neck. This was something that was not seen on a man until the hippy era of 10 years later. He wore it out to eat (in Kansas City) and the waitress in the restaurant would not serve their table. The Happy Days depiction of the cultural norms of the US in the 1950s/1960s was not even mildly accurate.

    1. “Walking into a bar in the sixties with such hair could have resulted in the s**t being kicked out of the wearer.”

      Depended a lot on where the bar was located.

    2. Walking into a bar in the sixties with such hair could have resulted in the s**t being kicked out of the wearer.

      Still can. Depends on the bar.

      1. Poor sarc. You’re not getting the shit kicked out of you because of your hair, it’s because you’re an obnoxious drunk.

    3. Fonzie was the most inaccurate character for me. When I was growing up, you stayed way out of the way of guys who looked like him. There was nothing cute or charming about them.

    4. The Happy Days depiction of the cultural norms of the US in the 1950s/1960s was not even mildly accurate.

      Wait, so you mean the depictions I see on TV of every fifth person being a bi-racial male lesbian aren't real? Seems a lot easier, maybe even better, to get along in any given endeavor if the barrier to entry is simply removing a necklace or getting a haircut as opposed to changing your race or having your genitals mutilated.

      Also, not a lot of yamakas on TV in the 50s either. Doesn't mean people weren't wearing them. Plenty of ascots and *lots* of ties though, can't say I'm sad they're gone.

    5. In the Fifties, it was actually considered sinister in some businessman's circles for a man to have a moustache, never mind a beard or long hair.

      1. Also, it wasn't a decade ago that tattoos were a barrier to employment. Now Silicon Valley C.E.O.s sport whole sleeves and turtlenecks full of bodyart.

        1. In combination with your post above, are you suggesting that Silicon Valley CEOs aren't sinister?

          1. Oh, they are sinister, just not for their body hair or inked pelts. 🙂

  20. the autoworkers union managed to push up the hourly wage to about $1.30, which is equivalent to around $17 today.

    No that is only the equivalent if you accept the deliberate lies about what inflation has been.

    1. JFree believes inflation data is fabricated, that 9/11 was in inside job and that the CIA ruined the Chavista paradise in Venezuela. But at least we can fully trust the COVID data. It's a good thing the government only lies about things that bugfuck nuts leftist conspiracy theorists obsess about.

  21. Gee, now that Reason's got all this bucks, maybe they'll get someone other than the kid down the street to manage the web site!
    Try posting a comment on the "Where's My Stuff" thread; kicks you off the site.

    1. Reason's comments pages crash my browser regularly.

      1. #metoo

  22. "The 'Good Old Days' Weren't Always Good." --Paul Harvey, a broadcast commentator that really inspires nostalgia.

  23. Eh, homes, college, cars, and food were affordable and the future looked bright

    But hey, we have smartphones now.

  24. Nostalgia is simply the functioning of Sturgeon's Law. The law, posited by the author Theodore Sturgeon is simple: "90% of everything is crap." When we look back, we only remember the 10% and memory hole everything else. Is the best 10% of the 50's better than 100% of today? Maybe, but it's apples and oranges.

    1. Had not heard that, but an astute observation.

  25. A lot of things - not to be confused with everything - have gotten better. Some things have gotten worse.

    And it may get better or worse in the future, though there are lots and lots of things which could go wrong and make it all worse.

  26. Serially starting, running, selling businesses since the '60s; the IT revolution allows people who never dreamed of running their own business a way to do so.
    Accounting software alone permits small businesses to start and run without adding major overhead costs to the startup budget, while the web provides advertising to very large audiences, and the ability to introduce new products absent the (prohibitive) costs of 4-color advertising and mailings/magazine ads.
    Conversely, the legal costs attendant to what you sell (regulations) means that the legal costs have risen while the 'business' costs have declined; any fool who doesn't understand that is included in the TDS-addled asshole grouping along with Brandyshit and sarc.
    Our cars are up to 65 years old, and while the newer ones (cameras) make parking easier, when they need service, Nelly, bar the door! Yes, the new cars are 'safer' in theory, but normalizing for the drivers, the older cars have a better record; it ain't the arrow, it's the (native American, First Nation) Indian.
    Appliances over say, 15 years old, which fail now mean you have to 'know a guy' who knows a source where the rat-holed (NLA) relays/circuit boards or similar can be found; what was a $200 visit by a repair guy is now $500 for the visit and $1K for the NLA part; stove (gas) worked the same $2C/$1.5K.
    Even in CA, there are ways of avoiding the higher tax rates, and I'd suggest you contact your tax guy ("I know a guy") to work on that. Regardless, there is no denying the taxes in general are rising, and given droolin' Joe's pork package, they aren't gonna drop soon.
    The article makes several mostly irrelevant) time comparisons; I'll take '1970 - 2120:
    1) The collapse of the USSR and the death or Mao! Huge increase in freedoms and prosperity for both populations, followed by both populations allowing the rise of new tin-pot-dictator wannabes rolling back the gains.
    2) The rise of some market economies in Africa, with the resultant rise in prosperity, reduced starvation and disease, followed, (see above) with some reverses.
    3) Large gains in Western prosperity, driven by US innovation (gimme one major innovation from the Euro zone) and US-taxpayer supported Euro security (gimme one Euro zone country which provides for its own defense), followed by US political complacency rewarding bums and the unemployed. Yeah, if you're of Sarc mentality, you could blame it on a disease rather than tin-pot-dictator wannabes, but we'll ignore that idiocy

    1. Sorry if TL, but...

  27. “Life has become better, comrades! Life has become happier!” — Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin, November 17 1935.

  28. Good old 2018.

  29. Trying to paint a summation of all aspects of everything through years of changes all at the same time is a useless scope of information.

    If comparing government influence to free-market performance of reward through time is the scale; the USA is failing miserably.

    Anyone older than 5-yrs old can tell you every niche market touched by the government in comparison to a free-market has gone to sh*t...

    Education, Land, Housing, Healthcare, Vehicles (directly changed by the 'green unicorn' chasers)...... Are all crazily UN-obtainable to any free-market comparison. It wasn't that many years ago that Land could be obtained by simply 'settling' it, Education could be paid for by PT work while attending, Housing took less than 10-years to save for and Healthcare was a neighborhood doctor that did house visits for the price of dinner.

  30. My nostalgia is filled with an abusive uncle, pederast,; bullying by my brother; no father and the list goes on. I now am solo but filled with joy and resolution. My past is just that. Our lives are plagued with the ability to remember; not just the joys but also the pains. Anyway we all drop dead and memories really serve no purpose. But: I am able to assist others to embrace the joy of just existing.

    1. Kindest thoughts to you! I hope your future is nothing but good and that you share that good future with others too.

  31. Yeah, that fake ruined castle doesn't look right at all. If 3 corner towers had been destroyed, there would be a lot more rubble lying around.

    1. You don't see a lot of rubble around ruins in Europe, since rocks are usually taken by locals for new building projects.

  32. Oh, it was better just a few years ago. Ask people in Portland if they are better off now than they were 5 years ago. And Chicago. Basically any place where the police actually did their jobs, vice standing around while leftists burned everything.

  33. tinyurl.com/CueTheKinks-YT

    As a boomer kid, we were fed a constant diet of old films that our parents saw in first run, via TV. The NY stations had, besides the network films, independent stations that broadcast tons of the old cartoons, B-Westerns, musicals, war movies, serials etc. The comics companies started to reprint "Golden Age" stories . It's gotten to the point that I'm nostalgic for what my parents were nostalgic for when they were in their 40s and 50s! Recursive nostalgia!

  34. OK, wrong link, though he Moody Blues were also looking back.

    tinyurl.com/NowCueTheKinks

  35. You can't confuse technical innovation with human happiness or purpose. Yes we have the internet so you can get instant news, share info/audio/video and access like Smart Phones and Social Media. It does take less time for some things (albeit transportation hasn't gotten any faster since the 1960s..damn that Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke). All that said the human condition is not well.

    Start with the family. I was born in 1963. My Dad was able to be the primary bread winner. Mom stayed home and raised us. No Day Care, no "head start" or any other bullshit. We were raised by a loving mother who gave my sister and myself a love of books, of nature, of science. She cooked meals, no fast food..and no obesity. Family life had a nice pace. A country founded on sound money, free markets, and limited govt allowed this.

    Decades later I had two children myself. My wife "demanded" to have an equal career (meaning she didn't want to do anything except have kids and dump them on someone to care for). The abruptness and alienation for a youngster to not have a strong home while young is essentially abuse. "outsourcing" responsibilities has destroyed communities. More govt demands more taxes which then forces more destruction of the family and community (you need more "day care" subidizes, more student loans, more more more) which just causes less and less of the type of family that people naturally want.

    America has been on a downward track morally, economically, and spirit for 50 years. And the folks pushing this in academia, the media, and govt pretty much has the same pedigree. Cultural Marxists...bringing this crap from Soviet Russia which originated the attack on religion, community, and family.

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