NOTE: These essays were reproduced from my now defunct blog "Random Notes" as I mentioned them in my essay "A Question of Perspective", but did not copy them. Now that they are available, I shall add links to that essay.
I just realized why the past few years feel so familiar. We are living through the seventies again.
I have already spoken about Obama's similarity to Carter. His tendency to spend and inflate. His almost "malaise" speeches about how things will just get worse. Even his expansion of power are similar to Carter;s tendency to create large federal bureaucracies, like the Department of Education.
On top f that, we have an unpopular war that ius dragging on, just as we did in the early seventies. And it even appears our government's reluctance to pursue things with any energy is leading the enemy to seize upon a chance to turn loss into victory. (I know flower children hate to hear this, but Vietnam could easily have been won after Tet had we showed any determination.)
Even our pop culture reminds me of the seventies. We have a strange combination of nostalgia and futurism, arguing simultaneously all our best days are behind us or ahead. In the seventies it was a combination of nostalgia of the fifites, mixed with bicentennial period historical fetishism. In our era, it is the tendency to make a trend of every past decade, be it the eighties, the seventies or the sixties. And then we have the future. In the seventies, it was the space age, the promise of exploration of the universe. In ours, it is "technology" and anything electronic. Computers hold the promise of some vaguely defined bright new future, the way space did in the seventies.
Oh, there is a lot more, the environmentalist movement, the revival of sixties style protests, and more. But more than anything, it is just a vague feeling, something indescribable. But something about the past few years just brings to mind what I can recall of an early childhood that coincided pretty precisely with the seventies. I can't put a finger on it, but there is something that makes the two feel quite similar.
Update (2012/05/17): I forgot to link to my earlier post "The Return of Malaise", which seems quite relevant.
Originally posted in Random Notes on 2012/04/10.