Friday, June 11, 2004

A COCKEYED DYNAMIST. Reaganfest '04 is nearly over, thank God. This first collective, posthumous effort to muscle history on the old fraud's behalf has seen several very low points, some choice examples of which have been nimbly tagged and bagged by Wonkette. Generally, unreason has reigned, which of course is perfectly appropriate for a Reaganfest.

For example, in her hagiograph, Virginia Postrel says that "the late 1960s and 1970s were a scary time to grow up." That's interesting. I grew up in roughly the same time frame, and though I was depressed and unloved, I wasn't often scared. In fact, like most children throughout human history, I looked forward to the challenges and privileges of adulthood with an unreasonable fearlessness I often wish I had back.

What struck terror into young Virginia's heart? I've had a hard time tracking down details on her childhood, so I suppose Postrel might have grown up on the mean streets of East L.A. or some such, but looking at her I doubt it. She has said that "from childhood, we have developed a sort of advertising literacy," which could be very scary, in a Count Floyd sort of way.

Further down, she explains the horror of youth in the age of tie-dye and denim:
The Soviets were expanding, and the Cold War seemed destined to end in defeat or destruction...
So unlike the age of peace and security in which we now live.
The Saudis could -- and did -- cut off the oil whenever they got mad. People in the northeast froze from lack of natural gas; my father turned our thermostats down to 65, as though it would help...
Is this not the most pathetic tell-that-to-the-young-people-of-today-and-they-won't-believe-you jape you've ever heard? When I was a young girl, we had to wear light sweaters indoors! And that was because we were at the mercy of the House of Saud, with whom we have much better relations now. Why, we can get them to move the price of oil up or down, as needed. And all we have to do in return is help them out with airline reservations.
Prices went up and up, not just on a few things but on everything.
Again, not like now. Of course, it has been suggested that we are not better off than we were -- we just don't feel the effects of our economic distress, thanks to easy credit, which allows us to off-load our horrendous debts onto the next generation. (Now those kids have reason to live in fear!)

I could go on, but why bother. The thing about the cheery "Dynamist" Postrel is that her optimism, like Reagan's, requires a backstory about the collectivist horrors that her creed happily vanquished, so that we'll keep on believing that this is the best of all possible worlds. Of course, this would work better if the world weren't such a fucking mess.

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