Something of an inappropriate comparison here?

So: are we projecting modern attitudes back into a very different time? Yes, we are. Are we right to do so? Yes, we are. Many things once considered \”normal\” – ranging from institutional racism and legal suppression of homosexuality to drinking and driving or smoking in public places – are now proscribed, and we are, both as a culture and as individuals, better for it.

Quite simply, we know better now, and these days most grownups, thankfully, act on that knowledge. In the supremely unlikely event that your correspondent were to be hit on by a naked 14-year-old, I\’d make like Gary Puckett, throw a coat over her and send her in a cab back to her mother.


Smoking in a pub equals statutory rape.


I think we might have gone a teensie bit overboard there, no?

9 thoughts on “Something of an inappropriate comparison here?”

  1. But, he not suggesting an equality. Merely that they are members of the same group (things which are thought much worse of now than they were in the 60s / 70s).

    Much as killing somebody can vary from a complete accident, a negligent accident, assisted suicide, death by dangerous driving, manslaughter and murder (I haven’t tried particularly hard to be comprehensive). You’ve still caused a death. Legal and moral culpability varies – even some murders, you can have a degree of moral sympathy for.

  2. Well, this is pretty standard Progressivism. A major part of the project is reconstructing and reinventing the past, and the cultural revolutionary methodology has a whole important strand of applying whatever standard is currently “politically correct” to the past, in an accusatory manner. I first really got to grips with this when I was arguing with young American-liberals about smoking, and what fascinated me was that they really did believe that smoking was always hated by everybody. They simply couldn’t believe that smoking had ever been considered socially normal and, in many situations, actively approved of.

    There’s also some irony in the above examples , since a bit of historical research shows that “institutional racism” and “legal suppression of homosexuality” were central ideologies of the First Wave Progressives, with in particular the “Homo” being the 19th century folk devil equivalent of the current “Paedo”. In Britain, for instance, the Gross Indecency Law was introduced by the radical progressive liberal MP Henry Labouchere. Stamping out pooves was part of the same package of progressive moral reform as temperance laws, suppression of prostitution, gambling controls and prohibitions, etc.

    Which brings us back to the point really, because in that other country called the 1960s/70s, radical liberal types expected the whole lot of Victorian laws to be swept away, including drug controls, the overly strict age of consent, porn and prostitution controls etc, just as the criminalisation of homosexuality had been. Which is the cultural context in which we should be judging actions taken at the time.

    As it was, most of those laws stayed in place, and a new puritan wave descended under the false flag of liberalism. But you can’t really expect somebody in 1972 to have known that was going to happen.

  3. Actually, having checked on who the author is, I’m slightly less interested in what he would do if confronted with a naked 14-year-old now than what he would have done in 1972 when he was a staff writer on NME (and 18-ish?). Probably quite different.

    And he would have been in a similar reflected-glory position as Saville.

  4. ‘Many things once considered “normal” – ranging from institutional racism and legal suppression of homosexuality to drinking and driving or smoking in public places – are now proscribed, and we are, both as a culture and as individuals, better for it.’
    I’m pleased for him that his foresight is as clear as his back-sight. I am in no doubt those in that distant country that was the ’60s (and, yes, I was there) thought just the same of previous generations . I suspect that history will deal as harshly with his view as he would like to deal with history. The wartime behaviour of our parents, for example, was covered over and suppressed, ‘what went to war stayed at war’.
    The trendy left are quick to deride the emergent middle class Victorians as being hypocritical over a range of customs and manners we now think of as being every-man’s freedoms, just as they were reacting to an age they saw as licentious and dangerous to society. History only ever repeats itself and our mores will be equally derided in the future.
    It is noticeable that as societies become richer so the desire of some, both left and right, to meddle and intrude on other’s freedoms becomes more pronounced.

  5. I guessed “The Guardian” when I read your excerpt.

    Two thoughts:

    1) The Left was gung-ho for changing the law so middle aged homosexuals can now legally bugger 16 year old boys, but hell mend them if the boy wants to light up a post-coital fag.

    2) Isn’t it convenient that the media is now so bravely talking about what a dead DJ may or may not have done in the 70’s, that they seemingly have no space to cover what Muslim paedophile gangs and their blind-eye-turning enablers among the British authorities are doing today?

  6. It’s one of those Public/Private preference things.

    After much pushing and shoving a bunch of minorities have changed the acceptable Public preferences.

    Meanwhile the Private ones have remained unchanged (although, as SE points out, the latter change with age).

  7. So Much For Subtlety

    Someone ought to point out that smoking in a pub poses roughly no health threat to anyone whatsoever.

    There has not, after all, been an epidemic of cancer among people who worked in such pubs, much less among those who patronised them.

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