Against “The Good Old Days”

Amber Forcey uses Flannery O’Connor’s famous short story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” to critique the concept:

Essentially, a “good old days” response to the problems of our time is a form of blind self-righteousness, an attitude that says we and our time (or the time we yearn after) would have never committed the same errors of the present age; people were at one time good (or polite, kind, safe, etc.), but no longer.

However, as Christians, we cannot accept this attitude. First of all, we must continually be aware of and preaching that since the Fall, all men are broken and evil, from all times and places. The pendulum of culture and civilization swings from one extreme to another, but each time, each era and century and decade, has its flaws, most of which are unrecognized by those within it. As believers, we must do the work of first reminding ourselves of our own personal and cultural brokenness (both in the present and the past) and of working to make ourselves aware of the real vices of our own age, vices which we are most likely unaware of. Second, we must work to rid ourselves of this subtle and dangerous form of self-righteousness, one that masks itself in fuzzy nostalgia. We must recognize that all people, past and present, including (and especially) ourselves, are all Misfits in need of the only One who ever raised the dead.