Friday, November 29, 2013

Defects Of Memory

I try to remain upbeat. Truly I do, especially on Thanksgiving weekend. But...

That was recorded in the early Sixties. It was one of the biggest hits of its era. Reflect on that...and on this as well: at that time, a Hula Hoop® was priced at $1.98.

    "I am taking trouble with you," O'Brien said, "Because you are worth trouble. You know perfectly well what is the matter with you. You have known it for years, though you have fought against the knowledge. You are mentally deranged. You suffer from a defective memory. You are unable to remember real events, and you persuade yourself that you remember other events that never happened. Fortunately, it is curable."

Do I really need to tell a Gentle Reader of Liberty's Torch where that came from?

The number of times I've had the following exchange:

FWP: You know, in 1960 you could buy a gallon of gas for three dimes...and you still can today.
Miscellaneous Other Person: Huh? Giddouddahere!
FWP: No, seriously, you can -- if they're silver dimes.
MOP: C'mon, that can't be right. (walks away)

...has grown beyond my ability to remember. Except for oldsters like myself, my conversational partners simply reject the information. It's recorded in many places, including government compilations such as the Historical Statistics of the United States. But most persons under the age of sixty are unwilling to accept it.

Few persons under that age are willing to believe that in those days:

  • Pop stars performed fully clothed.
  • Parents spanked their disobedient children.
  • A pound of ground beef cost less than a dollar.
  • A rifle as a Christmas present was nothing to stir controversy.
  • Savings banks paid 3% on deposits and charged 6% on mortgages.
  • Divorce and "single motherhood" were considered marks of personal failure.
  • The Sunday morning talking-head shows were gentlemanly affairs with no shouting.
  • The most vexing public problem in America, according to the airwaves, was littering.
  • Murderers were more likely than not to serve their full sentences...and many were executed.
  • A walk along the Bronx's Grand Concourse at ten P.M. was almost perfectly safe -- for a ten-year-old.
  • Advertising of all sorts -- including ads for liquor and cigarettes -- routinely included the prices of the things advertised.
  • Network TV stations aired "public service" pitches stating that "The family that prays together stays together," and encouraging Americans to "Go to the church of your choice."

I remember it all. All of it is verifiably true. (Oh, and there was no "knockout game," either.) But for how much longer?

    O'Brien smiled faintly. "You are no metaphysician, Winston. Until this moment you had never considered what is meant by existence. I will put it more precisely. Does the past exist concretely, in space? Is there somewhere or other a place, a world of solid objects, where the past is still happening?"
    "Then where does the past exist, if at all?"
    "In records. It is written down.
    "In records. And--?"
    "In the mind. In human memories."
    "In memory. Very well, then. We, the Party, control all records, and we control all memories. Then we control the past, do we not?"
    "But how can you stop people remembering things?" cried Winston, again momentarily forgetting the dial. "It is involuntary. It is outside oneself. How can you control memory? You have not controlled mine!"
    O'Brien's manner grew stern again. He laid his hand on the dial.
    "On the contrary," he said, "you have not controlled it. That is what has brought you here."

The Omnipotent State demands unquestioning submission -- of body and mind. It is heresy to remember things the State does not wish remembered. It is blasphemy against Official Truth to speak of them. Though it has not yet begun to prosecute and punish for the thoughtcrimes that laid low Winston Smith, that day is unlikely to be far off. The foundations of "reality control" -- what Orwell's Newspeak termed doublethink -- are being poured as we speak, by our mass media and our government-run schools.

To remember an adverse datum even as much as one year old is no longer socially acceptable:

At one point during this time, there was a furor raised over the funding of school lunches. So, I looked into it carefully.

After delving into the actual numbers, I was horrified to learn that what I heard from all the big-name news outlets was factually incorrect. Every single one of them got it wrong.

So, I called the newsroom of the biggest and most respected news radio station in Chicago (where I was living.) Amazingly, they put me right through. The conversation went like this:

Me: Listen, I have a problem on this school lunch thing. The numbers you guys are using are wrong.

News writer: What do you mean?

Me: You’re reporting a seven percent cut in school lunch funding, but I checked the real numbers – they are going up three percent. The democrats are saying “seven percent cut,” because they want a ten percent increase. This talk about a cut is false: it’s actually an increase, and you guys have to know that.

News writer: Yeah, well… the democrats gave us stuff to use and the republicans didn’t.

I was horrified, but it was, at least, an honest answer. What shocked me most was the fact that they simply didn’t care. This was the flagship news station in Chicago – the one people went to when they wanted to be sure – and they simply didn’t care about accuracy.

The government-run schools have slighted actual history so completely that the typical high-school graduate when asked what founding American document includes "From each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs," answers "the Declaration of Independence." He's read more about Harriet Tubman than about George Washington and Thomas Jefferson combined. He thinks the "party of slavery" was the Republican Party...and that Abraham Lincoln was a Democrat. He isn't aware that is the U.S. fought Japan in World War II...or who won.

Given all that, how could anyone expect young Mr. John Q. Public to believe that gasoline ever cost $0.30 per gallon -- or that there was so much of it available that gas station chains had to run giveaway programs and strange, raffle-like contests to compete with one another?

Our political class is perfectly happy with that.

I remember too much. As I wrote long ago:

I remember the milk truck, the bakery truck, the dry cleaner's truck, the sharpener truck, and the Charles Chips truck, all of which came to our door, and all of whose drivers were treated like old friends. In some cases, they were old friends.

I remember cap guns, and games of Cowboys and Indians, and huge snowball fights conducted with an innocent ferocity by pugilists from eight to eighty.

I remember thinking that the Palisades Interstate Parkway must surely be one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and that heaven itself could hardly exceed the delights of Palisades Amusement Park.

I remember my father, down on his luck and himself after my mother left him, spending much too much time in a local gin mill. I remember him cashing check after check at that saloon, and the owner, who knew those checks would bounce right over the Moon, accepting them anyway, putting them into his cash register and never saying a word. That saloon owner eventually got every penny my father owed him. I wonder if he'd known that he would.

I remember adults who had standards they weren't afraid to enforce without needing to invoke the authority of the law. I remember lawyers who tried to counsel their prospective clients not to sue. I remember journalists who could be trusted.

I remember loving America wholeheartedly and with no reservations. We were the good guys. I remember fearing nothing and no one, certainly not the government. I remember being confident that the world could only get better, now that the good guys were in charge.

I know I'm not supposed to remember all those things, especially not on Thanksgiving Day. I'm supposed to be grateful for the bounties bestowed on us by Our Leader and his lieutenants. I'm supposed to frown at anyone who voices criticism of His enlightened rule, and make a note not to have that seditionist at my table next year. And I'm supposed to accumulate paper dollars (or magnetic domains that represent them) as if they could really store value, and spurn the precious-metals cranks who shriek, as Milton Friedman once wrote, that "Only government can take perfectly good paper, cover it with perfectly good ink, and make the combination worthless."

I wonder how long it will be before I face my personal Room 101.

    "Tell me," Winston said, "how soon will they shoot me?"
    "It might be a long time," said O'Brien. "You are a difficult case. But don't give up hope. Everything is cured sooner or later. In the end we shall shoot you."


Anonymous said...

Watched The Magnificent Seven with my soon to be 15 year old. The good guys and the bad guys were easy to see. Standing up for what is right was required. Grey is what we're getting today. I miss yesterday and share as much as I can with my kids so they know what America was once like. As we travel further down this rabbit hole I grow more nostalgic. When the time comes my kids will know how to rebuild it on rock, not the sand we're being told to build it on today.

indyjonesouthere said...

Thanks for the memories Francis. And I will add a couple of more. Bought my first handgun at a Holiday gas station with cash. Just pointed to the one I wanted, showed my drivers license that I was over 18 and walked OUT of the station with the gun. Not into the station with a gun that seems to occur all to often. You could also walk into the hardware store or the feed store to buy dynamite to get rid of the pesky stumps or make large rocks smaller. And dime stores rather than dollar stores. What the hell happened to government and to us?

Anonymous said...

In the end, you and I, are to blame.
We permitted this all to happen, to take place.
Each legal verdict, each corrupted politician, each regulation/law, each change in school curriculum, each new social program, each perverted tv appearance... We did nothing. We tolerated it for 50 years and now the time to pay the piper is near.
Now, they outnumber us and will win.
We should have won when odds were in our favor 50 years ago. But we were lenient and tolerant.
They won't be.

Anonymous said...

I remember asking a teacher in 4th grade why it was necessary to study history, civics, etc. She said "So if they ever try to take your rights away you will know and can do something about it." My normalcy biased 9-year-old mind said in essence "Yeah, right - like that's gonna happen." I never imagined that I would live to see it come to pass. Now the kiddies are brainwashed with the value system of international socialism rather than educated in American History, History of Western Civilization (how ethnocentric don't ya know), critical thinking, civics, etc. It is happening and they are blissfully unaware of what they are losing. Like hearing loss you don't realize when you could no longer hear the wind, the birds, etc. The American Republic was not created to be a nation of the ignorant and indolent, so by the promulgation and rewarding of ignorance and indolence its destruction is assured.

Guy S said...

Yep, ours will be the last generation to actually remember directly what it was like. Those of us who have preached to our kids (and their friends), will have at least some of them take it to heart. But they will not have directly experienced it. Much like my parents (especially Mom) regaling us with her memories of living in the depression and WWII. We had no up close and personal experience with the first...and at best, only tangental experience with the second.

I remember when you could smoke in the theaters, in restaurants, (and of course bars), much less in any open confine, without risk of impending misdemeanor or the glare of a thousand rabid former smokers, whose air was allegedly violated with your second hand smoke.

I remember sneaking a peek at the old mans Playboys...the thrill of daring to do so almost outweighing the pictures (and articles of course!) awaiting inside same. Now you see more on regular television and or movies.

What is sad is those from our peer group who proudly trampled the old fashioned traditions, morals, and customs...calling our parents and grandparents "hypocrites" for not letting their hair down, or being too it wrong. It was not so much a case of folks perhaps not doing that which is flagrantly push out into the public eye...rather they felt there was a time and proper place for everything. And there was a price to be paid for everything good or bad.

50 years later and at least 52% of this country still can't grasp that fact. (We want our "free health care, cell phones, and student loans").

Closing a bit closer to the post....funny thing,,,,I seem to recall having a much easier time of making ends meet when I was on a junior enlisted man's pay....then I do now. But smokes (on base) were 10 cents a pack, and gas was 30-40 cents a gal. And when was the last time you got a NEW car (and not the bottom of the model line) for 3k or less....and had it paid off in less than 4 years?

Anonymous said...

The real question that needs answered is what are we/you prepared to give up in order to go back to that way of life? Your Social Security? Your Medicare? Your Medicaid? Endless wars? Your food assistance? Are you prepared to support your elders in your home until they pass on? Does your company depend on Gov contracts? Do you cash a check that comes from a Police Force, Fire Department, School District, Court House, Fed funded University, or Military Branch? Do you prepare taxes for a living? Do you work at a National Park, NSA, IRS, Border Patrol, Dept of Agriculture, or any number of the agencies dependent on fed funds?

I propose that if you truly long for the good ole days, we must all refuse to participate in accepting any financial assistance of any form from the Gov. When you depend on them, you are a willing participant in the loss of your freedom. Refuse to participate.


PJ said...

"Now, they outnumber us and will win."

If there is anything I hate, it is defeatism. Go crawl back in your hole, Anonymous, and let real men get your liberty back for you.

As to this romp in the past, yeah, some things were better, some worse. In those days journalists were honest? Haw haw! At least today we have the internet and can figure out who is lying with a little research. And the schools were not teaching socialism back then? Listen to this quote by John Dewey, the patron saint of American government education, who lived from 1859 to 1952: "You can't make Socialists out of individualists. Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society which is coming, where everyone is interdependent."

I remember looking up into the sky on the playground during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when mad men in both governments brought us to the brink of annihilation, wondering if I would see the missile that killed me. And don't forget the CIA killing a President who got out of line.

Today certainly is different. In some ways better; in some ways worse. And we are NOT going to lose the coming war. HELL NO!

Anonymous said...

Palisades Amusement Park and the Public Service Bus that would take you there: '...skip the bother, skip the fuss; take a Public Service bus..

The 'sharpie' and the 'junkie'; you knew he was coming as you heard the cowbell on the truck, and he paid you cash for your scrap items right there at the curb.

Be seeing you Francis.

Anonymous said...

This Thanksgiving, one of the main things I was thankful for was having lived through the stretch of infinite history that included the peak of American Civilization.

Bri2301 said...

No matter who "wins", we can be assured that the current state of affairs cannot continue. I was getting the Christmas decorations out yesterday and heard the news show of the hour state that Federal Entitlements will increase by 50% in the next decade. The accuracy of the statement is more or less irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that we can't afford our current levels of spending, let alone significantly increased spending.

What were heading towards is a truly confiscatory tax system which is already creating real hostility. Imagine how many more folks will be ready to abandon the Fed.Gov when their 401's and 403's are confiscated and replaced with funds of "guaranteed" government funds.

How this plays out, I don't know, but I'm inclined to think that the term "not well" comes into play. Things cannot continue as they are. It's a simple and mathematical fact. Be ready to be;

"Just a fly in the ointment, Hans. The monkey in the wrench. The pain in the ass."

Anonymous said...

Alas, for our sins...we shall pay..."

Piper Michael said...

1984 was a very good year, all in all.
2004, not so much...
2014, probably gonna really suck...

30 years, where did they go?
They went away one day at a time, as we, the good guys, did nothing, and evil thrived.
Edmund Burke was right.
That's why we were taught; Eternal Vigilance, yet we laid down on the altar of Liberty and took a nap.

The good book said this would happen, and the bad guys would win, now you know why. But we win in the end.

The Elect, must kill The Elite...
That's the only way.
Or, we're back to 1984...