The group that calls itself the Greatest Generation spent its formative years learning that there is nothing sexier than a guy who is screaming in another guy’s face. It got a crash course in absolute obedience. A decade later there was a book called The Organization Man and a movie called The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit.
While twelve million men went through the straight, unapologetic, Orwellian 1984 screaming obedience training, twelve million women the same age learned for the first time that a wife and mother was a failure. Rosy the Riveter and the Women’s Army Corps were the ones who didn’t hide under their beds at home.
A decade later, they were either adults or Housewives.
The other hundred million or so Americans did not go through the totalitarian obedience training, but for four years every aspect of their lives was crushingly regulated, and everybody was part of The War Effort.
Ten year later The War Effort ten years became Social Progress efforts in all their many forms.
Please don’t lecture me about the Depression Effort, I’m trying to make a point here.
I was not raised fifty years ago. I was raised a century before THAT. Our blacks lived in their own separate houses supplied by us and attitudes around me were roughly antebellum. Everybody fit into their OWN community. It was OUR area.
There was a concept of invasion when someone from the outside did something in our back yard. No one has a back yard today.
Instead, we look at the world from top down: How does my country into the Community of Nations, how does my state fit into the room left over from the International Community, how does my country fit into what is left after the rules are set by the state, and so forth.
The term “tax expenditure” got into the budget. This was the idea that every dime you do NOT tax people is “expenditure” by government. This got a few yells, but it is in as a ruling idea now. The same people who had no difficulty with the idea that white children were “a precious resource” that had to be used to spread and maximize Holy Integration, readily agreed that while their kids went to private schools, working class children belonged to the Community, not to their parents.
Mantra thinking readily ties all these concepts to together. But Organization Thinking could never see the connection. Those who were part of the organization mentality or who wanted it to DO what they wanted done didn’t SEE the connection, but, like anyone with a one-track mind, they could FEEL that all these roads led in the right direction.
Meanwhile, everybody else tried to Fit In.
The Catholic Church excommunicated people who did not go along with integration in the South. Then, when the same Holy Supreme Court that outlawed antimiscegenation laws because it didn’t like them got rid of anti-abortion laws because it didn’t like them, the Church rose up in fury.
One after another, people tried to “fit in” with the latest Effort, to show that while they were unreasonable on the one that directly affected them, they were not only FOR the other Efforts, they were fanatical about them.
Which is a perfect description of respectable conservative Anti-Racism today. The Effort folks backed them all.
Opposition always failed because opposition always lacked Mantra thinking. For that reason Opposition always went bananas. Anti-Great Society became Libertarianism. Opposition to the Humanist Effort became The Religious Right.
It never occurred to anybody to oppose the Effort approach itself. Screams had to meet with screams, kookiness could only be argued with by an opposite kookery.
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