Monday, October 8, 2012

75 Years of Age

By Alan Caruba

With a birth date of October 9, 1937, I tell people that I was born in the midst of the Great Depression and have lived long enough to be in another one. There are other similarities because, as oft been noted, history does repeat itself. Only the faces, names and places change.

In 1937 troops of the Japanese Empire were advancing toward Nanking, China and it would become known as the “rape of Nanking” for their brutality. The nations of Europe were growing increasingly anxious about Germany’s militaristic ambitions and, within two years, World War II will confirm those fears. Germany, Italy and Japan would join in what became known as the “Axis.” The Spanish Civil War was raging in 1937 and fascism would eventually hold Spain in its grip for decades.

There were different enemies of freedom than today, but freedom has always had its enemies.

The Russians had overthrown their czar in 1917 and embraced communism. Following WWII, the Chinese would do the same. The Soviet regime would collapse in 1991 after a disastrous invasion of Afghanistan. The U.S. has been there for eleven years without success and our generals want to leave. Like the U.S., Europe is in a financial crisis. And the rise of Islamic fanaticism is threatening the West and all other sectors of the world.

After living through thirteen presidents, you gain a pretty good idea of who did a good job and who failed. I thought Carter was the biggest failure until Obama came along.

Living through such history which included the Korean conflict, and the Vietnam War, along with the necessity to push Iraq out of Kuwait and the invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein, suggests that some wars are necessary and others are optional and, in hindsight, they tend to trigger unforeseen consequences, unexpected outcomes.

The current administration’s foreign policy has triggered the overthrow of several Arab regimes that were tolerated and some of which were even allied to the U.S. The result has been turmoil resulting in the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and the resurgence of al Qaeda. Neither can be ignored and neither will yield to modernity in the foreseeable future. It will take generations for the Middle East and other Islamic nations to tire of the enslavement it imposes.

The United States has been largely fortunate in its choice of presidents. Names like Washington, Lincoln, and Reagan leap off the pages of history for their moral integrity and courage. Franklin D. Roosevelt dominated the 1930s until his death in 1945. Much of the nation’s financial problems are directly tied to the “entitlement” programs, Social Security and later Medicare that were initiated by the Democratic Party during his time in office. Eight decades later, half of the U.S. budget is allocated to these programs, plus Medicaid, before any money can be spent on domestic or defense needs.

The newest generation cannot imagine that when I was a teenager there was no television until the 1950s. Most of my life was spent before personal computers existed, before cell phones, and the wonders of modern communications technology. All new technology drives out older technologies and that promotes change; the only constant in life.

I am unsure that age confers wisdom. People tend to hold on to the beliefs with which they grew up and in the case of liberals they are mostly myths about poverty and “fairness.” Life is not fair. A job, work, educating oneself, and personal motivation are still the key to success. A bit of luck helps, too.

Just as in the days before the Civil War, the nation is seriously divided. It is reflected in Congress and the result has been a ruined economy, an incompetent president; let alone one that was and is constitutionally ineligible to hold the office.

I was fortunate in having parents who gave me their unconditional love. For a long time I was too young to appreciate their personal achievements, but I was able to reciprocate as I grew older. Those are wonderful memories, but since they both lived into their 90s, the odds are that I will too and, then, 75 will seem young to me.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

16 comments:

Lime Lite said...

Happy birthday Alan! Hope you have a good a fantastic day. Your wisdom and insight over a range of topics is much appreciated. I'm also relying on your wisdom when you predict a Romney victory! Once again, happy birthday.

Col. B. Bunny said...

A fine piece. An aunt got the influenza in the epidemic of 1918. She called her children in to her bedroom and told each one to which family they were to go if she did not survive. She did survive, fortunately. She and my parents born around the turn of the 19th century lived most of their lives without penicillin and the wonders of modern medicine. Yet, in the last 50 years people have come to view health care as a fundamental human right.

We moderns live completely divorced from some of the most brutal realities that humans faced since our earliest days on earth. This thin layer of "modernity," of divorcement from fundamental realities, is cracking under the strain of resisting even the claims of simple arithmetic. We have confused the temporary or the novel with the eternal.

TexasFred said...

Is it too early to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY my friend??

Hugh Petersen said...

Happy Birthday!
I look forward to reading your commentaries for at least another 15 years.

Dave's Daily Day Dream said...

Thanks for the commentary and all of the great information you give us every day!

I hope that everyone who reads my Birthday Greetings!!! will now go to paypal and put your $$ where your mouth is!!!

zossen said...

Happy Birthday Alan. I hope in 15 years you and your blog are still going strong. Congrats on being 75 years young

Alan Caruba said...

Thank you, all. I am thoroughly enjoying my birthday and intend to stick around a while.

Brody said...

Happy Birthday! Alan,

Thanks for all the great articles.

Your mention of poverty and fairness coincides with a book that I just finished reading. It is a book that I feel is a must read for teachers, professors, ministers and elected officials. I join David Horowitz with “I HOPE EVERYONE READS THIS BOOK”.
The book is “Shakedown Socialism” by Oleg Atbashian. In the book he discusses “Unions, Pitchforks, Collective Greed, The Fallacy of Economic Equality, and Other Optical Illusions of ‘Redistributive Justice.” Oleg Atbashian was born and raised in the Ukraine and immigrated to the US in 1994.

Zamir said...

Happy birthday! May you live to see many more, and may they be much happier than what is currently ailing our country.

mijenarc727 said...

Although 10 years younger, I to grew up on the cusp of TV.

I caught the tail end of great radio. Lone Ranger, Sky King et.al. I first listened to the Chicago Bears on a Crystal Set. The announcers had to and still have to paint a picture. 'Great Stuff.'

Happy Birthday to a 'jolly fellow I'm sure, many more and God Bless.

denimflyz said...

A most wonderful Happy Birthday, Mr. Caruba, and many, many more to come, I'm sure.
Wonderful post this morning.
Blessing be upon you.

Ronald Barbour said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ALAN!

AND MANY MORE TO COME!

john said...

Many happy returns of the day, Alan! All the best to you, sir!

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday!

I've heard much news about the threat of Islam, but I think it's an overblown issue. How so? Muslim countries have had a staggering drop in fertility. Soon their little minions will cease to exist. Hopefully that's some good news, eh?

glendamay said...

Well, I can see that I have NOT been keeping up! Nonetheless, may I also add my belated good wishes to you. A birthday is a wonderful time to take stock and your accomplishments are in part a tribute to your also accomplished Mom and Dad. They are surely the proudest of the proud, no matter your age nor where they 'are'! Integrity, honesty, and never forgetting where you came from and perhaps more importantly, where you are going-continuing to fight the rational and intelligent fight and having fun along the way - is testament to life well lived. Thanks for sharing all you are...

Alan Caruba said...

Thank you, Glendamay. I was fortunate to have great parents.