The older generations in my family used to give me tales about how great it used to be. The usual banter was about how wonderful the 50s were or how self reliant people were in the old west. The way they told them made me think that all men were chivalrous, women were queens, and children were angels. Ahh those blessed times.
What an idiot I was to even sit and listen to it. I was absorbing the ideals of people who truly believed that every man in the past fought like a warrior poet, loved like tomorrow would never come, and worked till he couldn't stand to simply keep his family fed. However ridiculous these stories were and how I was aghast with their naeivity I secretly like those romantic visions of a utopia of yesteryear.
Reality soon rears it's ugly head soon after the idyllic landscapes float away. Famine, plagues, senseless violence, caste systems, slavery, oppression, war. All were too common in those days, even in my parents stylized version of the mid 20th century. Whenever someone tells me how good it was back then I think of one industry advancement that sums up why I'm glad to be alive right now. Dentistry.
"Even the bad things are better than they used to be. Bad music, for instance, has gotten much briefer. Wagner's Ring Cycle takes four days to perform while "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" by the Crash Test Dummies lasts little more than three minutes." - P.J. O'Rourke.