Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government; whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing, indulged in too long, by federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as thorough and complete as they should be.
Those words are fifty years old. They were spoken by General Douglas MacArthur at West Point back in 1962, but it sounds like some of the same rhetoric we hear today. Some famous Frenchman once said “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” which loosely translates to “The more things change, the more they stay the same”.
Every generation thinks they invented sex. (Nothing grosses out your kids more than the thought of you bumping uglies when you were young except the thought of you bumping uglies now.) Kids always think they are smarter than their parents. But then when they get older they think the next generation is lazy, stupid, rude and immoral. We’re always going to Hell in a bucket.
To really appreciate history you have to be able to see historical figures as real people. But you also have to remember that they didn’t have the benefit of hindsight – unlike us they didn’t know how the story was gonna turn out.
You often hear people today say stupid stuff about the past like “Those were simpler times”. That’s bullshit. The people back then sure didn’t think things were simple. They kept busy trying to survive. We have technology they didn’t have, but that’s really the only real difference between us and them. Hell, for some of us old timers we are them.
So whenever you get the chance, talk to young people about the past. They may act bored and roll their eyes, but someday they’ll be telling their kids “My grandpa/grandma told me . . .”