As I continue to view the pictures in the old family albums, I contemplate the confidence the figures seem to exude. I wonder about the philosophical basis upon which these people operated. I have a feeling at least some of the optimism their appearance seems to imply is the result of the economic boom brought on by all that war production. Capitalism’s finest hour provided the likelihood of material gains for all. The idea of ‘getting ahead’ must have seemed pretty realistic.
These folks were members of the ‘greatest generation’: the post-World War II nation that probably saw itself as saving the world from unspeakable evil. There must have been a sense that God was on their side, a belief carried right through to the present day to justify a tendency to micro-manage world order (something, it’s becoming pretty clear we’re not very good at).
Which is not to say these aren’t inherently good people ready and willing to do for others in need and wishing ill on no one (although one must surmise a certain racist undercurrent existed evidenced by the segregation in the armed forces not to mention the blind eye turned toward the impending holocaust).
I guess it’s pretty easy to look critically at these people in retrospect and if I turn the same critical eye to me and my fellows I suppose much could be found to be wanting. And, I guess all we can hope for in the future is to learn from the past which, when I think about it is probably pretty unlikely.