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PostWhen Was the "Golden Age" for the US? (Tor Guimaraes, USA, 04/07/21 3:23 am)
Francisco Ramírez (April 5th) makes a good point: let's be careful believing that a particular time is a Golden or a Dark age. Everything is relative, particularly when you view it from different perspectives of the participants.
For that reason, I try to always implicitly or explicitly state my perspective when I make such evaluations. Regarding my beloved USA, I think the golden age was around 1948 through the 1960s, with relatively high standard of living, a strong middle class, strong scientific supremacy, an educational system which was the envy of the world, etc. Did we have large warts hanging down our face? Yes: militaristic tendencies, poverty reigned in some US regions, we had income disparity, injustices, crime and corruption, open racism, hedonism, abuse of weaker nations for our own benefit, etc. Nevertheless, I think American exceptionalism was at its highest; the whole world was in awe and we were respected by most, even our enemies.
Since childhood I have always considered myself to be a lousy tactician but the best strategist in my world. As such, I live in a world of trends from the past to the likely future, grounded on today's evidence available to me. Much to my despair, since the 1970s we went down in some important trends, and they keep getting worse as I see them. If we don't make drastic changes, my family and friends are doomed, my beloved USA and the world are doomed. It is that simple. Cheers.
When I was a young boy I remember reading a book about the rise and fall of civilizations. The author was an American translated to Portuguese, and his conclusion was that since the old civilizations, we (America?) had learned so much that there was no reason to think we had to fall someday. I remember having a mixed feeling of reassurance and skepticism. Unfortunately to me, humankind is apparently not smart enough to control its basic negative instincts of mental laziness, lack of discipline, fear, greed, disrespect for knowledge, for each other and for the environment we all live in.
JE comments: If we take out segregation, McCarthyism, and Vietnam, was the Golden Age that golden? We'll also have to overlook that era's environmental devastation. Remember when the Cuyahoga river in Cleveland...caught fire (1969)? Consider too the Mad Men genre of harassment of women in the workplace. Oh, and the three-martini business lunch, which couldn't have helped with productivity.
Possibly the only upside of the 1950s? The (white, male) working class was lifted out of poverty, thanks to high-paying (unionized) manufacturing jobs. Tor Guimaraes has several times linked this phenomenon to the Cold War imperative of preventing the radicalization of the American proletariat. It's a convincing argument.