It’s the present generation with their permissive society, their anything-goes philosophy, and their generally laid-back, inyerface attitude I feel sorry for.
They regard themselves as a completely liberated society when in fact they are less free than any generation since the Middle Ages.
Indeed, there may never have been such an enslaved generation, in thrall to hang-ups, taboos, restrictions and oppressions unknown to their ancestors (to say nothing of being neck-deep in debt, thanks to a moneylender’s economy).
We were freer by far 50 years ago – yes, even with conscription, censorship, direction of labour, rationing, and shortages of everything that nowadays is regarded as essential to enjoyment.
We still had liberty beyond modern understanding because we had other freedoms, the really important ones, that are denied to the youth of today.
We could say what we liked; they can’t. We were not subject to the aggressive pressure of specialinterest minority groups; they are. We had no worries about race or sexual orientation; they have. We could, and did, differ from fashionable opinion with impunity, and would have laughed PC to scorn, had our society been weak and stupid enough to let it exist.
We had available to us an education system, public and private, that was the envy of the world. We had little reason to fear being mugged or raped (killed in war, maybe, but that was an acceptable hazard).
Our children could play in street and country in safety. We had few problems with bullies because society knew how to deal with bullying and was not afraid to punish it in ways that would send today’s progressives into hysterics.
We did not know the stifling tyranny of a liberal establishment, determined to impose its views, and beginning to resemble George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth.
Above all, we knew who we were and we lived in the knowledge that certain values and standards held true, and that our country, with all its faults and need for reforms, was sound at heart.
Not any more. I find it difficult to identify a time when the country was as badly governed as it has been in the past 50 years.