April 30, 2004

That Was Me

I don't link Lileks. I figure you either read him already or don't care for him. But this:

These things we knew: Soviet influence in Central America could be blunted by a complete withdrawl of American support; Ronald Reagan was indifferent to the possibility of nuclear war; Europeans were wise rational Vulcans to our crass carnivorous Earthlings, except for isolated throwback horrors like Margaret Thatcher. All new weapons systems were boondoggles that wouldn’t work and would never be needed, and served as penis substitutes for Jack D. Ripper-type generals who probably went home and poured lighter fluid on toy soldiers, lit them with a Zippo and cackled maniacally. A nuclear freeze was the first step to a safer world, because if everyone had 10,237 ICBMs instead of 10,238 we might be less inclined to use them. The Soviets were our enemy only because we thought they were, which forced them to act like our enemy. Soldiers were brainwashed killbots or gung-ho rapist killbots who signed up only because Reagan had personally shuttered the doors of the local steel mill, depriving them of jobs. Of all wars in human history, Vietnam was the most typical. Higher taxes on the rich resulted in fewer poor people. The inexplicable mulishness of big business was the only thing that held back widespread adoption of solar power.
That was me, nevermindhowmany years ago.

It's similar, of course, to P.J. O'Rourke's essay, "Second Thoughts About the 1960s;" at least, the first part:

What I Believed in the Sixties
Everything. You name it and I believed it. I believed love was all you need. I believed you should be here now. I believed drugs could make everyone a better person. I believed I could hitchhike to California with thirty-five cents and people would be glad to feed me. I believed Mao was cute. I believed private property was wrong. I believed my girlfriend was a witch. I believed my parents were Nazi space monsters. I believed the university was putting saltpeter in the cafeteria food. I believed stones had souls. I believed the NLF were the good guys in Vietnam. I believed Lyndon Johnson was plotting to murder all the Negroes. I believed Yoko Ono was an artist. I believed Bob Dylan was a musician. . . . I managed to believe Gandhi and H. Rap Brown at the same time. With the exception of anything my mom and dad said, I believed everything.
And then you grow up, or that's what they used to call it. Now it's called "having second thoughts." I prefer plain old growing up, or, if you want to get dramatic about it, having a head-on collision with a little thing called reality.

Here's to growing up. We could probably all stand to do more of it than we'd like to admit.

Posted by Ilyka at April 30, 2004 09:16 AM in hell is other people

...or mugged by reality...

Posted by: Sissy Willis at April 30, 2004 11:49 AM


Posted by: Ted at April 30, 2004 01:23 PM

If you are not a socialist at 20, you have no heart. If you are still a socialist at 30, you have no brain.
Neuroscientists tell us that many nerve pathways dealing with the forebrain judgment centers do not mature until the mid-twenties.
The most intense years of learning occur before the brain is ready to make sense of it all. By the time we get our brains working, and learn some perspective from our experiences, we are ready to discard the childish prejudices that many of our university professors had hoped we would be saddled with our whole lives.

Posted by: Paul at April 30, 2004 07:43 PM

I second Ted's sentiments. I read Lileks this a.m. But the O'Rourke didn't pop into my mind. Maybe i shoudl read Lileks after coffee

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at May 1, 2004 01:39 AM

Ahh hell with growing up. Getting all stiff, hard-headed, and farty. What about those Demos and Repubs at 30, 40, 50, 60+ in age? Do they not have a brain? Seems like it to me. They all need to drink a few Hurricanes! ;)

Posted by: S-Train at May 2, 2004 05:08 AM