Those of us who grew up in the 1940s and 50s almost universally look back on those days with great fondness. Born into an era that saw the end of the Depression and living as children through World War II, we were nonetheless somehow shielded from it by parents who took care to ensure that these calamities in the world did not take from us the sheer joy of being young.
By 1945, America emerged from the war as one of the world's recognized superpowers, plunging immediately into the Cold War with the Soviet Union, a totalitarian regime that, like all Communists, promised a worker's paradise and delivered a new form of serfdom.
We grew up with school drills in the event of the "bomb" as America helped rebuild Europe, guarding it against the Russians. While the grownups tended to these matters, we kids were treated to television shows free of the salaciousness of too many of today's programs.
One could not be a teenager in the 1950s and not be aware of the great concern regarding the infiltration of our government by Communist spies and sympathizers. Decades later, thanks to the revelations of the Verona intercepts of Soviet communications with those spies, we learned just how thorough the infiltration had been and how many sympathizers worked at the highest levels of our government. Sen. Joseph McCarthy, it turns out, was right.
In the end, by standing firm against the Soviet Union the United States and its allies would see its end. Its threat has been replaced by a resurgence of a particularly evil Islamic fanaticism and now, as there were then, those of a liberal frame of mind are telling us not to meet it on the field of battle and everywhere else it threatens Western civilization.
For all their bad intentions, the Soviets were not bent on suicide and were subject to negotiation where mutual interests existed. This is not the case of people who are convinced that their god requires them to subdue or kill "unbelievers." The Russians never hijacked commercial airliners to fly them into our skyscrapers or the Pentagon.
To be young in those decades following World War II was to grow up in one of the most dynamic periods of innovation this nation has known. As the economy boomed, it brought with it an astonishing burst of invention that included the spread of television, air conditioning, fabulous chrome-plated automobiles, and all manner of home appliances that are, of course, taken for granted today.
The 1960s, however, produced a spoiled, surly, arrogant, drug obsessed, and unwashed element of youth spurred on by the growing resistance to the Vietnam War and a belief that the work ethic of their parents and others of their generation was for suckers. Even I marched against the Vietnam War, albeit wearing a suit and tie. This subset of the turn on and tune out youth would later dominate the faculties of colleges and universities.
The result has been a new generation who has been importuned since pre-school to view the Earth as an endangered environment that threatens all mankind. They have grown up listening to the ravings of Al Gore and a legion of organizations that subverted science because the real science does not support the delusion of global warming.
I think the so-called environmental movement is an altered form of Communism and one that has systematically deprived this new generation of the fun of being young.
A case in point is a news release I received from the Student Environmental Action Coalition, "Nation's Youth Battle Coal Instead of Hangovers This Spring Break." This is but one small example of how environmentalists brainwash our youth. With the attack on our educational system that began in the 1960s to turn it into one massive instrument of socialist indoctrination, the youth who will participate in the effort to take on "Big Coal" clearly have no idea the role that coal played in the Industrial Revolution or that it currently provides 52% of the electricity on which they and everyone else in America depends.
Instead of heading toward some of America's glorious beaches over Spring Break to indulge in just being young, "hundreds of college students" we're told, will head for "Mountain Justice Spring Break" in Virginia (March 1-9) and Ohio (March 22-30) where they "will experience first hand the coal industry's environmental and social degradation." They will be urged, "to stop U.S. coal expansion and begin building a clean and just energy future."
They will be taught "how to fight new power plants" and learn "that coal hurts people and communities." This is a perfect Marxist expression of the forces at work to destroy the American economy and the lifestyle these young people take for granted.
The fact is, however, that in 2007 the effort to deprive America of the electricity it needs resulted in plans for 59 new coal plants being cancelled or shelved. Even the cleanest form of electrical power, nuclear generation, has been continually resisted by environmentalists. That leaves gas-fired or hydroelectric plants as an alternative and we have exhausted locations for the latter.
Instead, these youth will be told about "clean" energy generation by wind or solar power. These are the most inefficient, untrustworthy, and costly forms of energy that together represent barely one percent of all the electricity being provided to the nation. Both of these "clean" forms of energy require existing backup of coal, gas or nuclear plants because they are incapable of providing consistent, dependable power.
Meanwhile, the United States has several hundreds of years of coal reserves that could power all the electricity we will need. In China, in an effort to modernize, they are building a new coal-fired plant every week.
I feel sorry for the kids that will attend these training schools for the destruction of an essential element of the power generation America needs now and will need more in the future. They should be partying. They won't be young forever and, if they are successful, they will be spending much of the future living with brownouts and blackouts.