Saturday, March 19, 2016


As a slightly younger man, all right, as a much younger man, I sorta/kinda believed in utopia. I say sorta/kinda because even as a somewhat idealistic callowyute my head was not far enough up my, um, tailpipe to believe that a utopia of any sort was actually possible. It was just a case of yutefull idealism coinciding with the societal and cultural upheavals of the late sixties.

It began early on. In the course of my eight years of Catholic grade school, I was constantly being reminded that God wanted me, no, required me, to help the less fortunate -- even the pagans -- if I expected to have a chance to get my sinful butt into heaven. (I was never directly told that other alleged Christians who weren't Catholic were essentially pagans, but it was implied.) However, I was also taught that going to heaven was just the cheese on the fries. It was just as important that I do all in my power to establish a heaven on Earth. For example, the church fully supported the civil rights movement and the abolition of the obscenity that was/is Jim Crow. It was made abundantly clear to me that this should be, no, was, my position as well.

It wasn't just talk, we were expected to walk the walk, literally. Seemed like we were always going door to door peddling something to raise money for this, that and the other charity. It occurs to me that my grandkids, who attend public schools, are also peddling something or other every time I turn around. However, it's always about raising money to pay for some extracurricular activity they're involved in that's not covered by taxes or the seemingly endless fees for this, that and the other thing. Hmmm...

This eight years of my life referenced above coincided primarily with the early sixties but slopped over into the late sixties. I point this out because making reference to "the sixties" is a very common phenomenon. And while most of you that hadn't been born yet are justifiably tired of the dated cultural references (sorry...), I rarely hear anyone talking about the fact that the early sixties was a radically different era than the late sixties.

See, the early sixties was mostly the fifties, part two. But the seeds of the late sixties had been planted and were starting to sprout. Fear not, I'm not going to belabor this point with a lengthy thesis, that would not serve to get me where I'm headed. If you were there, or at least have a working knowledge, compare and contrast "I Want to Hold Your Hand"/ "Helter Skelter," or, Martin Luther King/Black Panthers. If you weren't, or don't, sorry, your gonna' have to do some homework. I...

[Is this rambling bonkercockie going somewhere? inquires Marie-Louise. She's in a foul mood today and has yet to scratch my back, not once.]

Patience, ma cherie, patience. I'm just laying out the groundwork necessary to make the first of my two points. First point: I get it, I understand why Bernie Sanders is so appealing to callowyutes. Also to limousine liberals, many of whom have never made the transition to grouphood.

I had/have (but it's evolved) an idealistic ethical system that began when it was pounded into me (sometimes literally) from the age of 6 to the age of 13 by the Sisters of Charity. By the time I had reached the end of what I thought, at the time, was my sentence, it was officially the late sixties. As I slowly but steadily drifted into another large sect, people who used to be Catholic, I simultaneously got caught up it the secular religion of the moment, what for lack of a better term, I'll call the yute movement.

I use the term yute movement (a phrase not original to me), an ideology that included several different strains of thought, some of which contradicted each other, because it was powered by callowyutes. Teenagers (a group invented by America in the fifties) and twenty-somethings rose up and sank their orthodontically coddled teeth into the hands of their enablers. "Don't trust anyone over thirty."

[Reminder, if my slightly unconventional vocabulary proves confusing, the Glossary tab of The Flyoverland Crank might help.]

So, though I don't feel the Bern, I get it. Many of us coddled boomers, flush with the untested knowledge every new generation has that they can and will do a better job than the previous one, were let loose on the world oblivious to the fact it was (relatively) free market capitalism that made possible the unprecedented affluence that we took for granted, due to our shallow grasp of history and economics. Many of us became socialists and armchair revolutionaries -- for a minute. Most of us got over it. To quote something Winston Churchill didn't actually say, "If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain." Though he didn't actually utter the words the misquote lives on because there is wisdom in it. Yutefull idealism is, fortunately, still a common, though not universal phenomenon.

Unfortunately, some didn't, get over it I mean. For example, Bernie Sanders, a professional outsider who has been a member of a very powerful club that has only 535 members, for 25 years. I believe Mr. Sanders believes what he says. I also believe I'm still a sorta/kinda idealist, but I'm a grup, and grups face facts. Free market capitalism, with all its flaws, and despite the warped versions of it practiced in places like China (where they cross out the word free), has lifted, and continues to lift, literally billions of people out of poverty. Democratic Socialism has given us Greece (remember Greece?) and an economically stagnant Eurozone a half step ahead of recession. Which is my second point.

Have an OK day.

©Mark Mehlmauer 2016

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