Monday, July 30, 2007

The Last Idealist Generation

Strauss and Howe show that generations conform to four basic archetypes cycling through history. They are smart enough to note that cycles do not straight-forwardly repeat themselves, that we are not caught in an endless loop, nor is history a mere linear progression.
But today's Boomers are the same archetype as those who ran the show in the 1930s, creating the forms of governement and business that dominated the 20th Century, "My Century!" according to Al Pacino as Satan in The Devil's Advocate.

"It's the 1930s All Over Again" says Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.
Jittery stock markets, an economy drunk on credit, and politicians calling for varieties of dictatorship: what a sense of déjà vu! Let us recall that the world went bonkers for about ten years way back when. The stock market crashed in 1929, thanks to the Federal Reserve, and with it fell the last remnants of the old liberal ideology that government should leave society and economy alone to flourish. After the federal Great Depression hit, there was a general air in the United States and Europe that freedom hadn't worked. What we needed were strong leaders to manage and plan economies and societies.

And how they were worshipped. On the other side of the world, there were Stalin and Hitler and Mussolini, but in the United States we weren't in very good shape either. Here we had FDR, who imagined himself capable of astonishing feats of price setting and economy boosting. Of course he used old-fashioned tricks: printing money and threatening people with guns. It was nothing but the ancient despotism brought back in pseudo-scientific garb.

Again, will the current Idealists, the Boomers, look to the outdated modes of production and organization of the past or look forward and let people be?

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