It's not a new thing...
0 comment Tuesday, December 2, 2014 |

Apropos of our discussion the other day about the roots of the counterculture and also the subject of advertising propaganda, I was looking through some old images and found some interesting ones.
The first is an Insurance Company ad, above, from 1952. The text is not legible in this smaller-sized image, so I will quote it here:
There are moral alternatives to war. We do have a choice. We can choose plowshares over swords...and thereby diminish the danger of a final and all-destroying war.
Most of the world's people -- nearly two-thirds of the human race -- are hungry. Remove this hunger and we remove most of the explosive possibilities in the world.
We, here in America, have crossed the threshold into the world of plenty. In the past ten years we have had twice as much new food as new people -- and our population has grown at a rate faster than that of India!
This American pattern of plenty gives us a platform from which we, in decency and humility, can help build a true brotherhood of man, living together peacefully in a prosperous world. Now, for the first time, we can help a hungry world feed itself. We will achieve peace only if we carry out this moral responsibility -- wholeheartedly, with the same vigor with which we have waged wars. It is up to us.
If we start now -- in politics, in economics, in social organization -- we can make abundance blossom for all the world.
Let us embark on the crusade toward creating PLENTY -- Pattern for Peace.''
The above is said to be ''From a recent address by Murray D. Lincoln, President of Farm Bureau Insurance Companies.''
I can understand how, in 1952, war-wearied Americans might be eager for some proposal or policy which would guarantee that there would be 'no more wars.' But is it true that poverty and hunger cause all wars, or that 'feeding the world' would guarantee peace? Did World War II happen because of poverty or want? Or World War I?
So, since this ad was printed, we've had more than half a century of trying out these utopian do-gooder policies. I wonder how many billions we've spent on 'foreign aid' or hunger relief efforts via the UN since then? And how much good has it done? Have our efforts and our dollars ended hunger or brought stability and peace?
Look at the picture in the ad. Back in 1952, few Americans would have proposed bringing the world here for us to feed them in our land, but does the picture not seem to imply that we will all cohabit together in America? The White man at the plow looks as though he's the one in harness to do all the hard work.
This picture, with its 'we are the world' motif, reminds me very much of the picture below, which actually appeared 9 years later, on the cover of the April Fool's Day 1961 version of Saturday Evening Post.

Everybody knows Norman Rockwell as the quintessential American heartland painter. He was particularly known for his magazine covers, most notably the Saturday Evening Post covers. We always associate him with rather corny middle American nostalgia, with his images of freckle-faced, red-headed boys and girls, the kind who used to be called 'all-American boys' and girls. (Today, of course, Barack Obama and the exotics who appear in our commercials are held up as truly American.) But when I first saw this illustration, called 'The Golden Rule', by Rockwell, I was rather taken aback, because it seemed so out of step with the work we associate with him. I wondered if it was not painted during the early 70s, when the diversity obsession set in. But no, it was painted in 1961, during an era in which America was still very American. Remember, the 1965 Immigration Act was still four years in the future when that picture was painted.
And of course, 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you' is the Golden Rule, but at some point, the politically correct commandment became do unto The Other at the expense of your own. Open your gates and doors wide to the entire world, no questions asked.
Here we are, 47 years on, and America is starting to look very much like that 'Golden Rule' painting, with those famous 'all-American' Rockwell faces surrounded by people from the four corners of the globe. Was this a prophetic painting? Or a prescriptive one, like the Farm Bureau Insurance Ad?
Was this 'pattern for peace' or a pattern for PC?
In any case, it seems this campaign to change our thinking about ourselves and our role in the world has been going on for a long time; it's only accelerated recently and become more obvious to us.

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