Ed Driscoll

When Decades Attack

Now is the time at Ed Driscoll.com when we juxtapose!

First, a look back at middle America in the 1970s:

They lit rockets in their backyards on the Fourth of July. They bought their steak marbled with fat. They smoked. They bought cars without seatbelts. They gave boys .22-caliber rifles for their eleventh birthdays. How they would gape and stare at a contemporary playground, with its rubber matting underneath the swings, safety belts on the teetertotters, and three-year-olds strapped into crash helmets before they can mount their tricycles. How they would snicker at grown men gird­ing themselves like test pilots to pedal through the park, at a Post Office that airbrushes the cigarette out of Humphrey Bogart’s hand lest some im­pressionable stamp-collector get the wrong idea about smoking, at the massive Range Rovers we buy so that we can commute to the office with­out fear. Back then, one did not show so much concern for one’s carcass.

— David Frum, in his (excellent) 2000 book on the 1970s, How We Got Here.

And now, a flash-forward to 2010:

Here we come to the heart of the destructive craziness of what begs to be called Junk Food Conservatism. Palin, Limbaugh and the others may sincerely believe that “Big Government” is taking advantage of the increase in child and adult diabetes, heart disease and all-manners of obese-related illnesses to trample on our God-given freedom to guzzle soda and eat candy. But in the end, here’s the political message they are sending from their own wealthy, option-filled, Subzero-equipped enclaves to this country’s poorest and unhealthiest:

Let them eat Twinkies.

— Danielle Crittenden at the Huffington Post and the Frum Forum, November 29th, 2010.

Crittenden is of course Mrs. David Frum; as Kathy Shaidle jokes, she’s so glad to see that Frum “found someone to marry as irritating as he is.” But then, Frum, whom I interviewed for PJTV at the 2008 Republican convention in Minneapolis, in possibly the first ever interview ever for our then-nascent Internet TV channel, once made a lot of sense.

So what happened? Kathy writes:

Actually you upper class twit, real conservatives don’t think any of that stuff is “OK” and do oppose them.And poor people should feed their own damn kids.

Her concerns are so mumsy, so Lady Bountiful, so… WASP-y. Is it possible that marrying a shiksa is what really turned Frum into a big government, Rockefeller Republican?

After 2008, Frum certainly entered into that space once reserved mostly for Andrew Sullivan, where conservatism becomes defined by what one person says it is, the rest of the movement be damned. And as Stanley Kurtz adds, into David Frum, Speech Policeman. Say what you will about the 1970s, but as crazy as the political battles could get, speech really was freer back then.

Just read Frum’s book on the decade, ironically enough.

(Concept via SDA; headline via Evan Sayet.)