This article is written by our regular anonymous contributor. He has been responsible for some lengthy and informative articles on various topics. His last series was about the child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church and consisted of four parts. It was based upon Shannon Ivey’s article entitled Synonyms. This is his latest series and is based upon my article entiteld 49 Long Years. This series will deal with the cultural changes in the country over the last 40 years. The first subject matter is:
In the 1960s, as in the 2010s, it was always about the culture, mores, customs, way of life, economic growth and values.
It was the post era of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. WWII was fading, the scourge of nuclear disaster was embraced by a defeated nation as its people began to suffer, toil, and rebuild. The USA put nuclear science to peaceful use, reserving an arsenal as a deterrent, as progress is undeterred. The key to peace is sanity, preparation and common sense.
The 1960s saw a free market focus, equal justice (not to be confused with social justice), John Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy and Robert Francis “Bobby” Kennedy collaborate to reign in Jimmy Hoffa, the notoriously corrupt; mob influenced Teamsters Union, a bridge to Founding Father values was the ascendancy of Billy Graham. The view on democracy is evident from the words of Recep Tayyib Erdogan. Democracy is mistakenly considered synonymous with a Republic.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan, as mayor of a major Turkish city, he described himself as “the imam of Istanbul” and once compared democracy to a tram. This vehicle, Democracy “you ride it to revolution, a constitutional republic, Fascism, Communism, theocracy or the New World Order. You ride it until you arrive at your destination, then you step off.” America in the 1960s was still at a Constitutional Republic way station with cultural turbulence.
The 1960s turmoil was domestic, troublesome but controllable. The 1960s was about a counterculture, a cultural group, or subculture, that runs counter to those of the social mainstream of the day, the cultural equivalent of political opposition and a social revolution as a “bottom-up”, reorganization of the industrial, economic life of the country and consequently also of the entire structure of society, a wedge issue for radical progressives. That generation consider themselves a new age.
This was the Age of Aquarius. The American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and
the discovery of electricity, these events are all attributable to the Aquarian Age. In a deeper sense it was the lifting, dismantling or softening of the veil of personal responsibility and accountability. Remember the Broadway play “Hair”, civil rights and the emergence of that political mine field, moral compromise, that set the stage for Watergate in the 1970s.
The era of the 1960s saw Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and
Richard M. Nixon leave their mark on America. There was the establishment of the Peace Corps, the Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the Civil Rights Act 1964, the Wilderness Act, the National Voting Rights Act of 1965 and a promise of “peace with honor” to end the Vietnam War (which ended five years later in 1975). The 1960s was about the counterculture, social insurrection (sound familiar?), “make love, not war”, the uncoupling of personal responsibility from accountability. It was the sixties.
The seventh decade of the 20th century, in the United States, “The Sixties”, as they are known in popular culture, is a term used by historians, journalists, and other objective (subjective) academics; in some cases nostalgically (please visit the blog “49 Long Years” for a kinder, gentler treatment of nostalgia) to describe the counterculture and social revolution near the end of the decade; and pejoratively to describe the era as one of irresponsible excess and flamboyance. Today it is symbolized by the outreach to extreme progressives, the tyrannical “extremists’ ends”, hedonism, “I’ve Got Mine”, and, in the wings, radical Shariah Law. But America could not, must not, uncouple itself from the Judeo Christian philosophy.
Described by some, this era is classical Jungian. Carl Gustav Jung was the founder of analytical psychology. Freud, Young and Adler are now considered passé, ask anyone at Princeton. Jung is often considered the first modern psychologist to state that the human psyche is “by nature religious”, “out-out damn spot”, this “physical notion of
cleanliness significantly reduces the severity of moral judgments, showing that intuition, rather than deliberate reasoning can influence our perception of what is right and wrong.” Is this Ayn Rand’s Objectivism? Rand’s ideology was a philosophical system expressed in her own words “I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows.” This ran counter to the culture of the swinging sixties.
The decade was also labeled, if oppressed but not oppressed, an oxymoron, the “Swinging Sixties”, a youth-oriented phenomenon that emphasized the new and modern. It was a period of optimism and hedonism, and a cultural revolution because of the fall or relaxation of some social taboos especially relating to sexism and racism ( both wedge issues of divisiveness too important to the misery merchants to surrender, homophobia and Islamophobia to follow) that occurred during this time. The pop cultural heroes and movies said a lot about this era of enlightenment. Manuel Puig said “I think cinema is closer to allegories than to reality. It’s closer to our dreams.”
The “Oscar” movies of the 1960s, West Side Story, Lawrence of Arabia, Tom Jones, My Fair lady, The Sound of Music, A Man for all Seasons, In the Heat of the Night, Oliver, Midnight Cowboy and Patton were symptomatic of artistic talent, substantive plots and moral issues without much, well almost, personal political animus.
1960 The Apartment – A story that criticizes human weakness and celebrates strength of character in the same man
1961 West Side Story – Romanticized gang violence that ends badly.
1962 Lawrence of Arabia – Conflicting loyalties during war time
1963 Tom Jones – Love-em and leave-em, Clintonian but charming
1964 My Fair Lady – A cultural rendition of Latin poet Ovid’s story, a George Bernard Shaw’s play adaptation, of Pygmalion, George a wretched but gifted Fabian Socialist, an advocate of eugenics and euthanasia, truly beauty and the beast.
1965 The Sound of Music – A Rodgers and Hammerstein classic
1966 A Man for All Seasons – To have the moral fiber to lay down one’s life for principles. Our young men and women in uniform do it every day.
1967 In the Heat of the Night – The issue that Eric Holder claims makes us all cowards to discuss.
1968 Oliver!- We are indebted to Charles Dickens and Oliver Twist. Do our children read anymore?
1969 Midnight Cowboy – Flat, painful accuracy, rendition of America’s under belly, the human condition.
1970 Patton – When winning was the objective and one said of war “All good things must come to an end.”
Movies are a significant historical reflection. What do we see?
This was the 1960s, the age of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who, The
Small Faces, the “British Invasion”, psychedelic rock, Jimi Hendrix, Cream and Pink Floyd. While Nero fiddled, Rome burned. One is reminded of the non prosecuted criminal abuse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the corrupt participative misdirection of malignant largess by Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and Maxine Waters, the Kennedy and Dodd moral systemic mockery a portrait of the waitress sandwich insult, and finally the most culpable of them all, we the electorate, addicted to entitlements, perks, pork and “Bridges to Nowhere” (The Boston Big Dig scandal), we who left them in office for our share in the pirated treasurer, allow them to continue to inflict their greedy, savage, disrespectful, elitist, ruling class damage onto our beloved Republic. Fight for it, re-earn it, deserve it or lose it. It is all Darwinism, natural evolution, the gradual process of change to progressivism via gradualism. Where is the “point of no return?”
Fabian socialists, radical progressives, were always in favor of reforming foreign policy as a conduit for internationalist reform, Globalism and a welfare state. The “end” is the same only the means have changed from the 1960s. The wedge issue arguments of racism, equality without a vested interest, and sexism were not getting the job done in the 1960s. The argument then as now is as pondered in the blog “Redistribution of Wealth” and Power. Where does the radical left (or right) lead to?
The extreme left, complete radical egalitarianism is Socialism, or Communism, or Marxism. The extreme right is anarchy, Fascism, the Arian nations, the absence of government. Our Republic seems to work best to the right of center on this continuum. Our republic is being pushed hard left. This is simply and eloquently put by Anthony K. “Van” Jones, a self described communist, as “Giving up the radical pose, (of the 1960s), for the radical ends (of the 2010s).” The word “radical” applied to anything is usually “bad.” And when this cannot be done peacefully, they will use force. And is force being used today throughout the world?
Current events in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Libya were preceded by riots (for Freedom?) in Italy, France, U.K., Greece and Ireland, the “radical ends” through force. And locally, take note of the demonstrations like those in Wisconsin, Indiana, Florida and Ohio with possibly far more serious ramifications than anything that happened in the 1960s. What ever happened to the 1960s radicals?
Glad someone asked. Look at the radicals in the streets in the 1960s. These “same” radicals are now in the 2011 administration, or recent exits. There is an argument for “all over again only from opposite end of spectrum.” Is not peace, conflict, chaos and rebirth, a case study in Einstein wisdom “Problems cannot be solved from the same consciousness that created them.” And the institutions of higher education turned out today’s radicals. George Bernard Shaw occasionally got it right, “A fool’s brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education” and sensitivity training.
“Giving up the radical pose” for a more quiet and insidious method of creating discontent, means less in your face protests with rhetoric in favor of subterfuge. And they admit, when all else fails…we will use force. Whether this turns out good or bad, whether it is the EST (Erhard Seminars Training, an organization founded by Werner H. Erhard) philosophy of the 1960s “I’m Ok, You’re OK”, (Are you sure?) determines whether this is a win-win situation or something else. Where did it all get us?
Are we experiencing the Perfect Political Storm” which is the unholy alignment of the economy, war (in the Middle East), Islam, Border security, energy crisis, the “final solution” of “political correctness” and the enemy from within (radical Progressivism)…..and 9.0 earthquakes?
These will all be made null and void if in subsequent months one sees positive changes in the Egypt/USA rapport, the Egypt/Israel relationship, the decline and marginalization of Islamic extremism, the augmentation of human rights, and the embracing of human parity for the unalienable rights of women, girls, children and religion. Does this hold a great deal of “hope?”
It is the aberrational view of spirituality, of Jung’s religious nature. Beware, “ego”, Edge God Out. But there are softer edges around the reality of today’s liberalism with musing encouragement of a positive, kinder outlook. One might see that, as suggested above, in the blog “49 Long Years” the inspiration for this rougher, clumsier take on what that (1960s) was then, and how this (2010s) is now. Where were we headed?
The world was headed for the Cold War, The Three Mile Island Accident in 1979, and Chernobyl 1986. Nuclear power was both evil and good. The good was now being developed in the form of electric power plants. Many a life was lost in building Hoover Dam. The official number is 96. Non was lost in the Three Mile Island Accident. More lives have been lost in the USA in pursuit of wind turbine electric farms than nuclear power plants. And yet a natural 9.0 earthquake crisis in 2011, in Japan, will be too important a crisis to waste.
Then as now the radical progressives again embrace hypocrisy, the cowardice of anti-risk courage that always accompanies any new enterprise and progress. There is a price for everything, including Liberty. Are we brave enough to pay it?
Hypocrisy is rampant in the public and private sector. Wikipedia notes that the phrase “Pot calling the kettle black” is an idiom, used to accuse another speaker of hypocrisy, in that the speaker disparages the subject in a way that could equally be applied to him or her. This is our political discourse. Look inward. Parents were growing dangerously numb to important cultural issues. And we arrogantly seek to export democracy. We are human attempting, always, great heights.
The 1960s ended with horrible “bookends.” There was the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. And then on August 8, 1969, Tate, Sebring, Frykowski, Folger, and Steven Parent were murdered by members of Charles Manson’s “Family” and their bodies discovered the following morning by Tate’s housekeeper, Winifred Chapman. The murders of Leno and Rosemary La Bianca in Los Feliz, Los Angeles, the night after the Tate murders, were also committed by the “Manson Family” members. Disasters are man made, Charles Manson, and natural, the Japan 9.0 earthquake. It was ‘Helter Skelter”, the Manson scenario. Cultural aberrations serve to keep us humble, alert and grounded. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, the German philosopher said,” That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” What did he mean? This also was the 1960s.
Mahatma Gandhi on Democracy: “There is no human institution but has its dangers. The greater the institution the greater the chances of abuse. Democracy is a great institution and therefore it is liable to be greatly abused. The remedy, therefore, is not avoidance of democracy but reduction of possibility of abuse to a minimum.” And many say Mahatma Gandhi’s remedy was a Republic.
Frederick Douglass speaks to the conflicts within our great Republic and its leaders,” A
battle lost or won is easily described, understood, and appreciated, but the moral growth of a great nation requires reflection, as well as observation, to appreciate it.” “I recognize the Republican party as the sheet anchor of the colored man’s political hopes and the ark of his safety.”
There was an abject, almost hopeless uneasiness growing in the 1960s culture with a thread of redemption. Lying has become the accepted political and individual (we lie to ourselves) dialogue. The 1960s was sowing the seeds of financial deregulation, the care and feeding of Charles Humphrey Keating Jr. and the Keating Five, for the Watergate scandal and the end of the Vietnam War, a Cold War military conflict.
Flash forward to 2011, “Clinton: Gadhafi Left Us No Choice. Secretary of State Clinton says the embattled Libyan leader’s tactics are pushing the world community to act militarily.” Is this leadership from Obama, the Noble Peace Price Laureate? Pray! Ah, but I am a half century ahead of myself.
Today’s media offering is likened to an elegant banquet; those who serve themselves last will be forewarned of the error, emotion, ego, bias and opinion poison. There is the 80/20 rule, eighty percent of what the media feeds us is seriously flawed, the other twenty percent is outright wrong. But do not despair. In the 1960s the question was, “if the earth was hit by a cataclysmic meteor, would humanity march in place, ruminating about ‘what if?”, or would we pick ourselves up and “get on with living?” Alas, “It is often easier to fight for your principles than to live up to them.” – Adlai Stevenson, a democratic (as in Democracy) Achilles Heel.
And everyone on the battlefield of ideas is humbled by the quote “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.” This has been quoted without citation as a statement of Eleanor Roosevelt. It is usually attributed to Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, but though Rickover quoted this, he did not claim to be the author of it; in “The World of the Uneducated” in The Saturday Evening Post (28 November 1959), he prefaces it with “As the unknown sage puts it…” It is a worthy standard.
And I conclude, next in a few weeks, in 1960s vs. 2011s with Part 2 of 2, 2010s.