"or you'll sink like a stone…"

“for the times, they are a-changing!”

David Mills writes a particularly good piece that I meant to link to hours ago, and I don’t want you to miss:

Countercultural stores popped up all over town when I was young, stores where the revolution in manners and morals was thought inevitable and making a profit and relying on the law were dismissed as relics of the old uptight acquisitive materialistic square world. People congratulated themselves on doing business in a new way, without the materialism and selfishness of the old way.

But it didn’t last. It didn’t last long at all. It lasted about as long as the owners took to pay their suppliers and see how much they had left over to live on, and to find that their fellow revolutionaries would happily slip some small and expensive item into a pocket and walk out of the store. It lasted until they read their first spreadsheet and caught the second thief.

The hippest of the stores—the one that sold obscene “Zap” comic books and various devices for getting high—quickly got a reputation as the store in town that would most quickly and vigorously prosecute shoplifters. Whereas the old man who for years had run the drugstore down the street might let a kid go with a warning, or a call to his parents, the hippie owner of this store would call the police. The store’s clientele regularly called the police “the pigs,” without dissent from people who relied on those policeman—all townies and therefore easily patronized—to keep order.

Oh, yeah, you knew these people, didn’t you? I did, too. Sadly, I have voted for a few of them, over the years. You’ll want to read Mills’ whole piece!

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About Elizabeth Scalia