Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Random thoughts on VJ day

Jerry Stratton, August 14, 2010

A couple of days ago Paul Graham wrote about “What happened to Yahoo”. One passage that really caught my eye was when he talked about Microsoft’s clout at the time:

It’s hard for anyone much younger than me to understand the fear Microsoft still inspired in 1995.

This morning, Dave In Texas posted Richard Sullivan’s father’s VJ day film footage. Soldiers partying in the streets and beaches of Honolulu after discovering that they would not be recreating the Normandy landing in Japan after all.

I find it impossible to imagine what they were thinking in that video. My father was five years old when it was taken; it was my grandfather who took part. Because of what that generation went through, and because of America’s actions in Europe and Japan after the war ended, we live in a world where we can seriously hope that a world war of that nature will never happen again.

If we’re lucky—and if America’s work in Iraq holds—those born in this century will never be able to imagine the initial confusion and fear—and the way we stood up—following the September 11 attacks, the collapse of the World Trade Center’s towers, and the 3,000 sudden and unexpected deaths.

There are things the previous generation did that we cannot imagine; there are things we experienced and did that subsequent generations will not be able to conceive. I find it hard to remember why we were ever frightened of Microsoft even now.

For as long as my cultural memory extends, life’s been getting better. We make good decisions, and we benefit from them. We make bad decisions, and we recover from them. External forces attack us, and we overcome. Internal forces threaten to break us up, and we reunite stronger than ever.

We, not they.

History tells us that we can overcome our current depression. It doesn’t necessarily tell us that we will. That requires learning from history; and it requires following our successes rather than our failures.

  1. <- Refuctionism
  2. The coming crisis ->