Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used to Be

Scott Sumner is nostalgic, too, but in his case it’s for the days when it was progressives who were stupid:

Yes, I know all that, but everyone is shaped by what was happening when they were young. I recall:

1. Progressive hostility to the hard truths of cost/benefit analysis.

2. Hysteria over chemicals in food, even though science didn’t back them up.

3. Denial of the role of money in inflation and support for crack-pot solutions such as wage price controls (Yes, I know about Nixon, I’m talking intellectuals now.)

4. Denial of the disincentive effects of welfare programs.

5. Soft on communism. By that I don’t mean pro-communist, I mean anti-anti-communist. When I was young calling someone an “anti-communist” was basically an insult in liberal company. If you called Mao or Castro a brutal tyrant you were viewed as an embarrassment; as something of a something of a McCarthyite. Chilean economic policies were viewed as evil. Now the Chilean socialists have adopted them.

6. Denial that punishment deters crime.

And I could go on and on. It seemed to me that liberals weren’t willing to engage in clear, hard-headed, logical thinking.

I don’t think that any party or ideology has a permanent franchise on stupidity or a permanent grasp on power. To be human is to be stupid. And every party or ideology once in power will do what it can to insure it has a permanent grasp on power even when those actions are inimical to its purported aims and objectives.

I don’t see my own views as having been forged in my youth and thereafter forever immutable. As long as I’m having new experiences I’m learning and changing. I’m evolving. I can be persuaded but I can’t be browbeaten. I’m indifferent to status.

14 comments… add one
  • michael reynolds Link

    I was just congratulating myself on not having ever believed any of those things. (Excluding #3 about which I never thought.) But then I recalled that when I was in my teens and twenties I was, I suppose, very nearly a conservative.

    I have a particular memory of being involved in an argument with a person who made the case that we should remove all stigma from welfare and food stamps. I thought that well-intended but wrong. I’d been working a full-time job since age 16.

    One might add a certain mushy, not-quite-principled pacifism to the list. I never bought into ‘make love, not war.’ The first part sounded good but not so much in geopolitics.

  • Michael:

    Just checked out your Facebook page. Nom de Dieu! You were a blonde.

    Say “hello” to dear old Blighty for me.

  • Drew Link

    I have a particular memory of being involved in an argument with a person who made the case that we should remove all stigma from welfare and food stamps

    Words matter. The problem is “all” and “stigma.”

    For those truley in need, there in fact should be no stigma. For those not, there should. The issue I have, and have always had, is that the left does not understand, nor care to understand, that the real number truly in need is far less than those on benefits, and that they are being taken for suckers.

    I guess I’ve seen too many pea and shell games on the streets of New York.

  • Drew Link

    Nostalgia, eh? I’d also like to note, I love reminiscing with people, it brings back so many memories.

    I especially like reminiscing with people I don’t know…..

  • michael reynolds Link


    I’m still a blond. I’ve just chosen the flesh-head lifestyle.

    At the moment I’m in an inn (The Saracen’s Head) in the middle of nowhere (East Anglia). The innkeeper has — I swear — locked up and driven away and it’s nothing but me and my publicist.

    There is no bar. There is no mini-bar. When I look out of the window I see stars in the sky. Earlier I heard a bird.

    I am very afraid.

  • If its web site is any gauge, it’s very picturesque. I love small inns but, well, they’re bound to have issues. I had a similar experience in a magnificent B&B in Fort William in the Scottish Highlands. I generally carry my own booze with me just in case of an emergency of the sort you’re describing. 😉

    Courage, mon brave!

  • Hmmm…in looking at the website, the restaurant doesn’t have a bar?

  • And remember if the zombies attack, merely walk away quickly. They are zombies after all and don’t move fast. If you run you might trip and hurt yourself and then the zombies will eat you.

  • The night scenes of English mysteries set in the countryside often have comments about the cries of small animals taken by predators in the deep of night.

    Where’s Michael?

  • Drew Link

    Michael? Eating small animals…….without the benefit of good Scotch.

    If the man had the basic decency to let me know his future whereabouts, I’d have had Talisker delivered. People can disagree on politics…..but Jesus H Christ, there are just certain things…….

  • Michael Reynolds Link

    Thanks guys. But I am now safely back in London having survived two days in the howling post-apocalyptic wasteland that is the English countryside.

  • For those of you who’ve never been there, my opinion of the English countryside (and the countryside on the Continent as well) is that it is beautiful, welcoming, and, well, domesticated in a way that the American countryside is not.

  • It’s really is lovely, but the people talk funny.

  • No zombies?

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