"We were wrong." A lamentation for every generation.
Coming of age in 1960's America, my generation knew everything. We knew history and science. We cared about other people and understood war was wrong. We would never make the mistakes of our parents, or their parents, or their parents. How could these people have blundered so badly?
Now, bequeathing them a hate-filled ball of confusion, today's youngsters most likely hold the ebbing generation in the same, sad contempt as I did when I was young. And as my parents must have done, and their parents before them. As surely as elders eternally condemn the folly of youth, so the young endlessly deride the errors of their ancestors.
Today, I see promise in the youth of our country, the promise of an aware and informed generation and better days ahead. The same promise my parents must have seen for my generation, and that their parents saw for them.
We humans continually beat our heads against ancient walls, but science moves ever forward. Dick Tracy's wrist radio, still science fiction in the 1980's, seems a laughable relic, compared with what we now hold in our hands. Science has an innate, fundamental drive to advance, and unfair advantages over mere mortals: it is not bound by pride, ruled by prejudice, or driven to despair by poisonous propaganda. Science learns from its mistakes, corrects them, and moves forward, something humans seem incapable of doing.
History books are filled with humanity's repetitive madness, but learning, correcting, and moving forward seems ever receding goal. "Next time we won't make that same mistake." Until we do. We all know Santayana's, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," but we seem incapable of ever heeding this rock-solid, obvious truth.
Why? Because there is a tremendous advantage in not evolving, maybe not for you or me, but for a powerful few. Those in power are predominantly conservative and they like things just the way they are, hate-filled and confusing. There is big money to be made from lies, fights, and panic. Wars, pollution, disease, depressions, recessions, and foreclosures all funnel humanity's assets upwards. The powerful use their wealth to ensure they generate more wealth by purchasing laws, lawyers, legislators, and judges to do their bidding and the generations of toxic consequences are undeniable.
In 1832, President Andrew Jackson said: "It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. " every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society, the farmers, mechanics, and laborers, who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government."
Then, as now, the wealthy also controlled the media and thus continually manufacture the public's consent for their self-serving actions. Today's media is omnipresent and its messages, both overt and covert, constantly assault our senses. We must consciously "unplug" to think thoughts other than those incessantly and vigorously shoved into our brains.
Everybody wants us to think as they do, and those wealthy enough to own the government and media, win. The humble members of society, the farmers, mechanics, and laborers, who have neither the time nor means, lose, always.