Selective Outrage?

The bombardment of Guernica in 1937 is in every history book. The more destructive and murderous bombardment of Copenhagen isn’t. Likewise, the current efforts to raise taxes are condemned but 1950s administrations got a free pass on the 90%+ top marginal rates. Plenty more examples can be found in the popular culture and media.

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7 Responses to Selective Outrage?

  1. WestonMoss says:

    Odd isn’t it? I guess it has to do with the fact that we are left with what history remembered and how people felt at the time. In the 50’s I presume we were still in a “war high”. Things were so good after having been so bad. Right now its the opposite, things are so bad after being so good. We could drop taxes to 0% and people would still be angry for more.

  2. mikee says:

    The Instapundit, Glen Reynolds, likes to state that he will believe it (the outrage du jour) is a crisis when the people telling him it is a crisis begin to act like it is a crisis.

    Examples abound, from Al Gore’s carbon footprint to the antiwar activists silence the past four years to Congress’s inability to reign in entitlement spending.

  3. Sean says:

    Obviously elapsed time must be a factor. 1937 is recent enough that most all of us know people who lived at that time. The same cannot be said for 1807.

    I also think, the advent of photography and later other media makes images more permanent in our minds. There are of course exceptions.

  4. LarryArnold says:

    There’s also the “winners write history” factor favoring the Imperial British over the ultimately defeated Nazis.

  5. Lyle says:

    Generally, the promotion of the understanding of principles has not been a priority in popular culture and media.

  6. Joseph says:

    Maybe people have learned from the previous attempts that stealing from the rich doesn’t promote a healthy economy or fix any of the woes. There’s a huge difference between historical events visited upon people, and historical events controlled by those people. Your example is basically the difference in a car accident where someone else smashes into you, vs driving home drunk and crashing twice.

    In the 50’s we were coming down from a national socialism and austerity measures as a result of the war, combined with the results of a general national trend towards nationalism in the first third of the century, combined with the (still then) judeo/christian ideals prevalent in the voters, and considerably less aggressive news resources and reduction in the freedom of information.

    Now we’ve had 70 years to watch the results. I think it stands to reason that at least a few people were paying attention and have learned from the experience.

  7. Cargosquid says:

    The 50’s EFFECTIVE rates were not 90%. Its been shown that there were enough loopholes that the effective rate for most of the high earners was 25-35%.

    Hey! That’s just like now. Go figure!

    I’ll take 50’s taxes with 50’s spending.

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