Bringing back the 1930s?

God, I hate the news these days. (This post may touch on why....)

While I haven't obsessed about it in this blog as much as I perhaps should, it has frequently occurred to me that the group of cultural attitudes popularly known (and yelled about) as "traditional values" are little more than 1930s values. Dominated by the Great Depression, the 1930s was a bleak, morally vengeful time, when things were seen as very black and white. Which they were. Times were tough, and enemies (Stalin, Hitler, etc.) were demonic. Little wonder that the period was known for censorship, drug war hysteria, and hard-core authoritarianism. "Progress" meant "change." A new, schmaltzy and moralistic authoritarianism replaced the freewheelingly chaotic, laissez faire 1920s, and this is reflected culturally in films and music of the period.

I admit my bias. I am no fan of the 1930s, and I think the term "low dishonest decade" pretty well sums it up.

Why anyone would want to return to the quasi-medieval 1930s mindset escapes me completely.

However, Thomas Sowell thinks that Barack Obama wants to do just that:

Barack Obama seems determined to repeat every disastrous mistake of the 1930s, at home and abroad. He has already repeated Herbert Hoover's policy of raising taxes on high income earners, FDR's policy of trying to micro-manage the economy and Neville Chamberlain's policy of seeking dialogues with hostile nations while downplaying the dangers they represent.

Unfortunately, many of these disastrous mistakes were popular at the time.

(Of course, no one would intentionally vote for a low dishonest decade....)

MORE: "Obama Approval Hits New High - 66%."

(Via Joe Gandelman.)

So far, triangulating the 1930s seems to be working.

posted by Eric on 04.07.09 at 10:07 AM


The only question is, will the damage Obama will do be irreparable, or will we be able to pick up the pieces and put it back together?

Gringo   ·  April 7, 2009 11:44 AM

Looking at the PDF of the poll, the weighting of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents was
R 23
D 39
I 31

That does not seem representative to me.


Rick Caird   ·  April 7, 2009 1:36 PM

And what came after the 1930s? World War II

I'll be the first to admit that this is very likely stretching the analogy way too far. Still, it's reason to worry.

Russell Steere Newquist   ·  April 7, 2009 2:11 PM

Great statement - "many of these mistakes were popular at the time."

That is what we are facing here. The teachers unions have produced an entire generation of voters who are both economically ignorant and believe that feelings matter more than reason. This is a recipe for disaster. And with an un-curious and lazy press corps, these voters will be slow to learn. Still, remebering that Jimmy Carter started the Regan Revolution brings some solace.

MAS1916   ·  April 7, 2009 2:22 PM

re: "Why anyone would want to return to the quasi-medieval 1930s mindset escapes me completely."

Because you are thinking of the 1930s as bad for everyone. Actually then was a great time for bureaucrats, police, armies, and government workers in general.

And today is another great time for them. The economic hardship is falling on the private sector. Public employment is rising and so is government power.

Today is not then. But what the government is doing now is obviously benefiting government. And those who are receiving wish it to continue.

K   ·  April 7, 2009 5:06 PM

Exactly who will suffer, people who are responsible and accountable, the government will grow, pay their employees,
(better salaries than private) welfare will flourish.
Many will receive a free ride, the responsible and accountable will be blamed and expected to pay the bill.
Unfortunately this gets much support but promotes a downward spiral.
We will all be poorer and suffer in the end.

hugh   ·  April 7, 2009 6:58 PM

Are two-thirds of us really so blind?

Brett   ·  April 7, 2009 7:39 PM

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