The Good Old Days: What Politicians Want Us to Forget
by Dan Ehrlich

Government Wants Us to Ignore the Past so We can Face an Uncertain Future

What do unemployment figures and gas prices have in common? Stumped? They’re designed to help you forget how things used to be and accept how they are now.

This is part of the brave new world that America inhabits, one where no matter how bad things may become, our leaders will maintain a better day is just around the next corner, or the next one after that. And that partly because politicians don't get elected by telling you the hard truth.

Gas prices are rising again. A few weeks ago in Los Angeles they were jumping around $2.89 per gallon. Now they are above $3. They will go down a bit, but the long-term trend will always be upwards. Unemployment has dropped from a high of 10 percent, but is still above 9 percent, unofficially closer to 17 percent. Some experts predict high unemployment will be a way of life here for a long time to come.

Yet, I’m old enough to remember when gas was 25 cents a gallon and anything over 5 percent unemployment was considered a recession. But, those are memories consigned to historical records the likes of which may never be experienced again. Today younger people will speak of $2 gas prices as being part of the good old days. (see today's youthful ideas below)

Strangely, supermarkets have long used this technique. When they want to raise the price of products, they often will lower them on sale for a short time, so when they eventually raise the prices, you won’t recall what the original cost was.

Now politicians talk as if this latest recession is also history simply because a few more seasonal workers have been hired and consumer spending is rising. As for gas, once we develop alternative energy sources, things will be rosy again, they claim. In past decades, a recession was measured by the unemployent rate. Today gross domestic product is the key indicator. The main problem with this, as we are now seeing, is that many firms will become more efficient producing more products with fewer full-time workers.

The key to the PC world we are now in is acceptance with minimal complaints in a society of growing unaccountability. And eventually those who complain too loudly and are noticed would themselves be confined to the dustbin of history.

Remember in the end, a liberal tyranny is no different than a conservative tyranny. The methods may differ, but the end results are the same: The denial of civil rights and the subjugation of the human spirit into a compliant mass dependent on government...all for the good of the state. And government will become larger and more socialistic in nature because as our economy continues to decline overall, more and more people will depend on government assistance.

At the same time middle class Americans along with our working class will wind up competing for jobs at fast food restaurants, jobs that may be occupied by former illegal aliens. I say former, because whatever president is in office will have made them legal, thereby removing the charge that illegals are taking jobs from Americans, something that is almost a certainty if sky high unemployment rates remain.

Another key element in America’s transition from an inventive society of individualistic self reliant people to one of a compliant mass is itself another type of mass, the mass media. What better to distract people and keep their minds off their problems and politics than showbusiness, which now takes in about anything public in the USA?

It’s really quite invidious; one of the aspects of the Communist Manifesto has been hijacked by our lofty capitalist system…keep the people occupied with sports and entertainment. And, like it or not, we live in a country where virtually everything has been reduced to entertainment. And that’s in part due to the fact that much of our news media are now part of entertainment conglomerates.

Daily there’s a two-hour TV time slot for entertainment gossip shows, as much as the local and network news. Then later, there are five talk shows one after the other that are largely identical and geared towards promoting movies, TV shows and record albums. Of course, if you have cable you can watch a wide selection of shows…but if the overall downward economic slide continues, a lot more people will have to do without those costly extra channels.

And proof of the trivialization of some sensational news stories came recently when Entertainment Tonight and Extra both ran lead stories on Al Gore and Joran Van Der Sloot. Now, 15 minutes of fame is being given to runaway flight attendant Steven Slater. They occasionally run sports gossip, too, all because viewers want it. I am a bit mystified when I see a hard news story being given the soft treatment on these shows.

Is this part of the long running series entitled “The Dumbing Down of America?” It certainly was in the Red Rules for conquest. Now it’s called populist journalism, for decades promoted by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, it simply means giving people what they want. And what most want is simplicity and banality. Yet, governments love this because it subdues a large section of populations. As for the good old days, better to talk about the good new days to come, a time frame that has no meaning to our politicians.

We won’t see dirt-cheap gasoline but we will own fewer yet more fuel-efficient cars. The days are numbered for mom and dad buying cars for all their children. As for 5 percent unemployment, this will only happen if we lower our wage standards and standard of living while raising our home based industry.

The core problem for America is two-fold, our obscene addiction to consumer goods and our method of satisfying this addiction: Dependence on cheap goods from China and other low wage nations. All presidents since Ronald Reagan have been supply-side monetarists tied to the open world market. There's no way we can compete with dollar-a-day wage countries.

Of course there’s the remote chance that China and India will nuke each other out of the picture and we will have no choice other than rebuilding our industrial base. But don’t count on it. China is now the second largest economy. It's only a matter of time when it surpasses America. The great irony here is that China's success is based largely on the industrialized nations buying all the junk they can make. My Japanese Sony laptop has parts made in China. ( See "The Regression" on this site).

What you can count on is the government telling you that happy days are here again or just around multiple corners. That’s also an old Communist tactic: If you tell people something long enough they will believe it. And that's mainly because we have short memories and too much trivial information filling our minds.

The Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2013. Most students entering college for the first time this fall were born in 1991 and a few of their experiences and perceptions are listed below.

  • They have never used a card catalog to find a book.
  • Margaret Thatcher has always been a former prime minister.
  • Salsa has always outsold ketchup
  • Tattoos have always been very chic and highly visible.
  • Rap music has always been main stream.
  • Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream has always been a flavor choice.
  • State abbreviations in addresses have never had periods. European Union has always existed.
  • McDonald's has always been serving Happy Meals in China.
  • Condoms have always been advertised on television. Christopher Columbus has always been getting a bad rap.
  • The American health care system has always been in critical condition.
  • There has always been a Cartoon Network.
  • The nation’s key economic indicator has always been the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  • Their folks could always reach for a Zoloft.
  • They have always been able to read books on an electronic screen.
  • Women have always outnumbered men in college.
  • We have always watched wars, coups, and police arrests unfold on television in real time.
  • Amateur radio operators have never needed to know Morse code.
  • Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Latvia, Georgia, Lithuania, and Estonia have always been independent nations.
  • There have always been flat screen televisions.
  • Smokers have never been promoted as an economic force that deserves respect.
  • Everyone has always known what the evening news was before the Evening News came on.
  • Someone has always been asking: “Was Iraq worth a war?”
  • Most communities have always had a mega-church.
  • The status of gays in the military has always been a topic of political debate.
  • There has always been a Planet Hollywood.
  • For one reason or another, California’s future has always been in doubt.
  • There has always been a computer in the Oval Office.
  • Two Koreas have always been members of the UN.
  • Official racial classifications in South Africa have always been outlawed.
  • Vice presidents of the United States have always had real power.
  • Conflict in Northern Ireland has always been slowly winding down.
  • Migration of once independent media like radio, TV, videos and compact discs to the computer has never amazed them.

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