Thursday, August 4, 2011

When Society Progresses in the Reverse Direction

When I saw this post, it reminded me of how I met up with a friend from elementary school last summer and, over the course of our conversations, we realized something unsettling was at work in the country.

I don't really know what this phenomenon is called. But I do know what it is. What happens is, society forgets the lessons it has already learned and we begin to progress in the reverse direction.

Sometimes we are just so stupid that we don't even learn the lesson in the first place. Like for example, "You can occupy Afghanistan but you cannot make it into the Truman Show."

But there are many lessons we have learned. Like, "libraries are a good thing". This is a historical fact.

We learned that a strong middle class is a good thing. We learned that child labour is not a good thing. We learned that a 40-hour work week was something that had to be fought for,

So why does Rachel Maddow have to give lessons on MSNBC about the benefits of collective bargaining?

Why can you find a rather cutesy (so as to be even more insidious) defense of child labour on one of the country's more popular blogs? (I won't link it - look it up if the urge takes you) Why is there an eclectic mix of pro and con comments on something like a Youtube video showing a Nazi bookburning in 1933 with narrative by Dr. Goebbels?

For one thing, there is an intense propaganda war, the likes of which Goebbels never even imagined, going on which is extremely one-sided.

One problem is obviously that financing for typical "right-wing" media is far easier to assemble than it is for progressive media. Another part of the problem is that those who would carry the banner of equality of opportunity and the rights of the middle class do make the assumption that we have already learned our lessons and shouldn't need to learn them again.

So there has been a great deal of neglect in terms of education of young people. Perhaps there is also an element of the young rebelling against the ideas of their baby boomer parents.

There has been a presumption on the part of many that the lessons learned by society had successfully created a playing field where the landscape was level and the rules were fair and fairly applied. Suddenly you open your eyes and see that it is not true.

For crying out loud, libraries are under attack!

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