March 25 06:47 AM
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Conservatives want to go back to the future

To the Editor:

It seems to me that the self-named and so-called 'Conservative movement,' with Christian soldiers manning the frontlines and Big Business's quiet funding behind it, is nothing more than an attempt to regress America back to a time before 1930. Back to a time when the language and ideas of "Conservation' as a political movement were newer to America. (They were old hat in Europe by then.)

It was a time when state government killings were not uncommon. (In some states men were hung in public as much as they are publicly beheaded in the Middle East today.)

It was a time when the earth was believed to be limitless and we did anything to the environment without comment or consequence. (The effects of leaded gas, asbestos, acid rain, etc. were decades in the future.)

It was a time when we were told that cigarettes were healthy and even good for your lungs. (You can't hide 400,000 deaths a year forever.)

It was a time when high school teachers were arrested in America for teaching science in public schools (It took Sputnik to begin to change that but it's still going on in the South.)

It was a time when the government decided who could get married to whom. (Then it was whites and nonwhites, today it's gays and lesbians.)

It was a time when what you could or couldn't legally drink was decided by law. (This was brought about by people who said they were doing God's will. They used parades, raucous meetings across the nation, and years of deceitful propaganda to convince everyone of the moral correctness of prohibition.)

It was a time when anarchists were considered powerful and were hunted worldwide. (The threat of world anarchy was used by politicians to scare people for decades.)

It was a time when the United States got involved in militarized "nation building" in South and Central America. (Ensuring U.S. business access to their natural resources and American control of the Panama canal.)

It was a time when the government lied to the country to get us into a war of choice. (The American public was isolationist and pacifistic before WWI, not to mention the Spanish American war.)

It was a time when the radical right wing parties came to power in Europe and Asia. (And drove the whole world to the brink of destruction in WWII.)

It was a time when socialism was feared and hated in the United States. (No Social Security meant no help of any kind for seniors. Old people died on city streets and were buried in potter's fields.)

It was a time when lax or non-existent government oversight permitted anyone, with or without capital, to invest in real estate and the stock market and many profited hugely for years. (This ended in the Great Depression.)

While there are some similarities between now and then, American culture has changed completely. People are healthier, live much better lives and live for much longer now. Why do the so-called conservatives want to go back?

Michael Waller, Attica
November 04, 2009

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