Here's a nice video. And by nice, I mean ridiculous:
Every so often, you hear someone reminiscing about the Good Old Days while simultaneously bemoaning the Inferior Now Days. Everything's so not like it was these days, and increased safety is to blame! Seat belts. Safer cribs. Childproof caps. Bike helmets. Less-terrible food. Fewer fistfights. Kids not going to jail, apparently. And love that isn't even tough! Why, there hasn't been a cut or bruise on a child since playtime accidents were outlawed under the Participation Trophy Act of 1979. DARN YOU, JIMMY CARTER!!
No one says it in this particular video, but the usual refrain ending this rant is, "And I turned out OK!" Yes, indeed, you did. Because, as the video does say, you made it. You're a survivor — which is why they call this rose-colored thinking "survivor bias."
Nostalgia such as this conveniently forgets all the kids who died or got disfigured because of these allegedly character-building hazards. Safety standards got more stringent for a reason, and not because government bureaucrats decided to invent safety in 1995 because they were a combination of bored and evil. In fact, many of them are the same people who grew up as tough customers.
This video is less an example of a world gone wrong than a personal refusal to mature. My dad tells fond stories of lying atop the back seat, underneath the rear window, of the family car with his brothers on long trips. But he still made me wear my seat belt. I considered it a blast to jump up and down on the backseat in my grandfather's station wagon, but in my teens I made sure to fix the long-broken belts.
Then there's the issue of children going out to play. They still do that; I see it even in the dead of winter at my apartment complex. Yes, it's incomprehensible these days to leave kids unsupervised all day long, but maybe that's always been a bad idea. And perhaps not locking your doors isn't such a great thing to pine for either.
Like most people, I remember my childhood fondly and subconsciously see that as how things should be forevermore. But you know what happens every time I revisit a landmark from that time? It's inevitably smaller and rougher than I remember it. It gets me to thinking what else I'm remembering too rosily, like history.
I'm glad I made it too, so that I can dispel such nostalgic nonsense.