In Greek philosophy, a period in the past when great tasks were accomplished.
In America, there was a golden age starting in 1945 and essentially ending in 1965; a 20-year span of world peace, prosperity, and the clear demonstration that America was the lighthouse of freedom and a model for the world.
America had a booming economy and the most powerful manufacturing sector in the world. The returning GIs went to college, started families, started businesses and we helped both friends and former enemies get back on their feet after WWII. Our currency was the standard for world commerce and was backed by gold. No investment was safer than US Treasury notes. We were the world market for goods and that created prosperity for many other nations.
During the Cold War, America was the mighty shield that made and kept Europe free of Communist aggression. Our leaders (of both parties) were serious people who loved the United States and prized its security such that no foreign power would consider confronting us.
In this Golden Age, major scientific breakthroughs brought technology into every home, every school, every business and every life. Space exploration, television, computers and medical miracles became commonplace such that a new breakthrough briefly made the news only to be supplanted by another greater breakthrough. There seemed no limit to America’s future.
Even poverty seemed to be on the run with the poorest American having a standard of living that most world citizens could only dream about.
Police were respected for their honor and bravery and the military for their strength and willingness to defend our shores. The Scouting movements were a good way for a young person to learn from solid adult leaders and learn how to grow up straight and strong.
Civics was taught in schools so that students knew how the government worked. History classes helped us learn how we gained and maintained our liberty. Geography helped us understand where the other nations were located. Spelling and sentence structure and cursive writing were taught as were parts of speech so we could communicate effectively.
Mathematics, biology and other “hard” sciences were taught in public schools so that students got a sense of how the physical world worked. We got real grades and our parents were very concerned if we didn’t do well. We would never have considered acting out in the classroom; it just was not done.
We were intensely patriotic and proud of our country. We would never apologize to anyone for being Americans.
So, what happened?
After 1965, the subversion quietly picked up speed. A creeping rot slowly attacked the idea of American exceptionalism, creating doubt and corroding away at what America was. The currency was detached from the gold reserves and became whatever value the Government said it was.
The Democrat party slowly became the win-at-all-costs Progressive party (having worn out and discredited liberalism, they needed a new name). The Republicans became the party of the old, white rich and slowly adopted a conciliatory approach to national politics; anything to get along. Just don’t forget to spread the Washington pork.
Community activists inflamed the poor to assure that they would never be satisfied with whatever they had and nothing would ever be enough. New anti-poverty laws assured that Government money would flow to the poor and that they would never have to work for a living. The only concession the poor had to make was that there would never again be live-at-home fathers for the children and that fathers would never know the pride and satisfaction of providing for the children from a real job.
Schools dumbed-down, stripping English classes in favor of English as a second language. Grades were awarded for just showing up and pass/fail was instituted. Sports teams where everyone got a trophy. Hard courses dumbed-down so that the teacher bonuses could reliably be paid. Teachers conspired to change grades so everyone would “pass”. Teaching materials provided by the Government that lauded homosexuality and single-parent households. Teachers spent their days dealing with out-of-control students and fending off angry parents who felt that their child was being unfairly treated because he received poor grades.
The Nation and schools filling with uneducated, un-vaccinated illegal immigrant aliens who had no alliegence to America but who immediately demanded the rights of citizens. A Government that condoned and encouraged and rewarded illegal immigration while actively suppressing the rights of the natural-born citizens.
The judiciary stopped considering the merits of a case and began to hear frivolous legal actions designed to wear down the Defendant financially so that the facts in the case ceased to make any difference. The threat of suit accomplished the Plaintiff’s desired result; the capitulation of the Defendant regardless of the facts of the case.
The Congress abandoned its Constitutional responsibilities and authorities; just going thorough the motions while the Executive ran rough-shod over the Constitution and the voters.
A military where war decisions were made by attorneys and career officers more concerned with their retirement plan than national security, with political operatives driving State Department foreign relations and military actions.
University students considering unionizing and demanding tenure and better grades. Universities awarding degrees with no market value for the graduate, with a $100,000 price tag that would eventually be forgiven by the Government.
Thus ended the Golden Age.