James Lileks, in reaction to certain events of the near past:
I see the world through skewed eyes, I know. It strikes me from time to time that this is an exceptional nation, as flawed as any human endeavor, but unique in human history: a society whose foundational concepts are not rooted in blood or clan, or impossibly airy proclamations of transnational brotherhood and human rights granted by, and subject to revision by, a council of our betters who regard the governance of man as a blade that scrapes everyone level. Rather, we were devoted to something rare in human history: liberty. (I use the past tense because the word’s been replaced by Freedom, which has come to mean The Fun Things, and also means freedom from being judged for any reason.) Because I am blinded by this false light I fail to see the rot and filth in the marrow of the American bones, how it’s mostly always been bad until a few years from now, and how perilously close we just came to letting Robber Barons waddle out of their gilded carriages on their gouty limbs, stagger to the gutter, and pee a stream of petroleum on the orphans who sit on the curb with upstretched palms.
We were so close to going back to that. What did the President say in the debate? He believed that Romney wanted to take us back to the economic policies of the 20s, the social policy of the 50s, and the foreign policy of the 80s. All these being bad. (Note: the systemic racism of the 50s – enforced by the State, of course – was an aspect of society so grotesque that it must taint any salutory aspects of the era. Nothing about the 50s was any good, except for some hamburger stands and the rise of youth culture. Otherwise, a swamp of murk and oppression.)
Somehow we’ll survive, I’m too damn optimistic to not feel that way. I just don’t see how right now, but Hope! and Change! I’m sure will see us through.
Hey kids- reefer is legal in two states now!
Hey ladies- free birth control! Hands off those ladyparts!
And when the bill comes due, well, the grandkids can cover that.
What a brave new world, that has such people in it.