Saturday, September 03, 2011

A Little Perspective on the Present Versus the Past

Recently as SWNIDish friend became engaged in an unfortunate social-media argument about the merits of the present versus the past. Baited by the whining rants of self-absorbed twentysomethings, he vainly attempted to persuade the young and clueless that multiple, significant facts refute their narcissistic fixation that they live in the Worst Situation Ever.

Readers can imagine our friend's inability to persuade in such a situation. Facts are useless among those who make their own facts.

Into the same breach now enters National Journal's Ronald Brownstein. Obviously, he says, the decades containing the Civil War and the Great Depression were worse, and so were those framed by Kennedy's assassination and Watergate and by Kent State and the failed rescue of hostages in Iran.

And why not mention such decades as those containing World War II or World War I plus the Spanish Influenza? Fun times erecting public monuments with the names of your friends and relatives in wholesale lots!

Brownstein doesn't gloss over the travails of the decade since 9/11/01, of course. Things have been rough of late, though not as rough as we once imagined they'd be (we have water stored in the SWNIDish basement as a hedge against terrorist-induced disaster, now a decade in its plastic containers and doubtless unsafe to drink, but a potent reminder of what we haven't experienced).

But by just about any significant measure of human misery, for Americans and much of the rest of the world, it's still been better of late than at many times in recent history.

Of course, Brownstein offers that if things don't improve, the next decade will be as bad as or worse than the one just concluded. We hold these truths to be self evident: that if things don't get better, they'll be worse, or at least about the same.

So herein and hereby we offer the SWNIDish Declaration that the decade of 9/11/11 to 9/11/21 will be a No Whining Zone for all of our Republic's citizens. Quiet down and boost productivity, pampered Americans!

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