IF WE WERE AS FREE as 1953
A number of ezine readers recall 1953 and to those of us who do, it doesn't
seem that long ago. Since I was a teenager then, I knew a lot more about
everything than I do now. Notwithstanding the fact that teens still go
through that phase but with government support, our people as a whole
enjoyed many more freedoms than we do today.
Children and teens, until their eighteenth birthday, are now wards of the
state who can dial 911 if mama swacks the kid across the seat of learning
with a handy switch or a handy hand. Parents are supervised by the
government. In 1953, we were supervised, disciplined and yes, owned by our
parents, for better or for worse. And the age of majority (emancipation) was
21, not 18.
If we were as free as we were in 1953:
* Children would belong to parents unless a crime (actual crime) was
committed against the child.
* We could fly without being searched, stripped, humiliated and detained for
carrying nail clippers.
* Graduating from high school would mean someone had a decent education, and
attending or graduating from college or university would mean that the
person had met the academic requirements rather than a social agenda.
* Medical costs would be at a level where we all could afford to go to the
doctor and most of us would be able to afford prescription medication
without any help, unless it was some help from the family.
* Our medical, financial and family records would be our business, not the
* Spy cams would be on a program shown by that newfangled gadget,
television, not the street corner.
* Computers would belong to giant businesses to process tabulating cards,
sometimes called "IBM cards" and the word "hacker" would leave people with a
* No one would be straight jacketed into their automobile, the kids would
not be harnessed up like animals, and most people would obey the traffic
* Security would be a matter of installing a dead bolt on the door.
* The only terrorist fear we would have was that another nation possessed
the atomic bomb.
* Women would consider it natural to stay at home and the government would
not consider them an abused minority for being married, having children, and
* Social workers would be few, and have little to do on most days.
* Most citizens would not have any fear of the police, particularly on a
routine traffic stop.
* Divorce would be frowned upon and marriage vows would be taken with the
best of intentions.
* Children born out of wedlock would not be subsidized by the government.
* Christmas wouldn't be the subject of litigation against displaying a
nativity scene or singing carols.
* There would be no laws against prayer in schools or anywhere else, and
Christian children would not be forced to learn the Muslim religion.
Owls and fish would not be given preference over humans when discussing land
* Most goods purchased by Americans would be made in America and made to
* Being on welfare would be a disgrace, not a government entitlement.
* Neighbors would not be encouraged by the government to snitch on one
another, nor would the people who deliver milk, mail and read meters think
it "patriotic" to snoop on the people in their neighborhood.
* Homosexuality would not be a mandated subject for "education" in public
* Stupid litigation would not result in windfall awards, making litigation a
viable source of wealth for some individuals.
* Personal responsibility, cause and effect, and consequences of bad
decisions would not be replaced by terms such as genetic defects or the
results of a dysfunctional family.
* Most courts would not be very busy. Neither would most trial lawyers.
* The borders would be there for a reason other than to make lines on maps.
* Abortion would not be a subject for Supreme Court deliberation and
* American citizens would have the right to protect their lives, families
and property without fear of being prosecuted for doing so.
* People would not blame guns for killing people, they would blame people.
* The public wouldn't tolerate the trash on the media.
* We could still have fun with Ole Svenson jokes.
* Newspapers would try to outdo one another for a story rather than
following the official drumbeat.
* The police would not look like a cross between space travelers and a
military special forces team.
* No one would care about a place called Iraq.
That's my list. Or as much of it as immediately comes to mind, but if there
were a couple of other ezine writers here, I'm sure it would be too long to
However, any reader can print this and start adding to the list and if
enough people do that, we might wake up to the fact that in 2003, we are a
lot less free than we were fifty years ago.
Just as an afterthought, fifty years ago we drove into a gas station and
said "fill 'er up, check the oil, water, battery and the tires." Cleaning
the windshield was part of the routine and we didn't even mention it. With a
full tank of gas, we could then proceed to a malt shop (not a drive through)
and get a malt made with hard ice cream, syrup, fresh milk, malt powder, all
stirred together by a Hamilton Beach mixer. And it cost about a quarter. The
government didn't warn us about cholesterol or force no-smoking signs in
restaurants, buildings and even the city parks. The surgeon general, whoever
he was, minded his own business (whatever it was) and we could eat butter
without guilt or fear. The grocery store didn't give us bargain prices in
exchange for tracking our eating habits. Now, back to my rocky road ice