The Destruction of American Culture: An Explanation

… just not necessarily mine:

One can only hit the high spots of such an undertaking on an internet comment thread. Howsomever, think of how the country was before the sixties, the counter culture, the sexual revolution, etc. That’s a start.

My descriptions are how things were generally before the war against traditional American culture progressed as much as it has today. Of course there were exceptions to everything, but in the past, they were much fewer, and carried much less weight.

Christianity was given outward respect by people, by the popular culture, by government and education, etc. God and Jesus were not ridiculed and mocked by leftists and/or hedonists, as is common place today. (Think “Piss Christ” or the virgin Mary splattered n elephant dung.) Christians and the clergy were given basically positive portrayals in movies and television.

Schools taught math, grammar/spelling/composition for the purpose of effective communication, science, history, etc.(not “historiography” — i.e., telling people what to think about history) and nonsense “courses” like studying comic books, were almost nonexistent. The pseudo-social science of “women’s studies” and “white studies” did not exist. Schools were for learning, not for social experimentation. .

Marriage/family = man/husband/father, woman/wife/mother, and children. Men were breadwinners, women homemakers. Sometimes women worked outside the home to help their husbands, but men were the head of the household. Heterosexuality was understood to be normal and healthy; homosexuality was not celebrated. Unmarried couples did not shack up, or hook up in great numbers. Most movies and books were clean; if they dealt with questionable subjects, they were low key and more tasteful about it than today. Erotica and soft-core porn were not considered part of the romance genre in books or movies.

All these and more traditional characteristics are what the left has railed against for generations.

After WWII, US GIs came home and, often using technology discovered and/or invented during the war, built a culture that was the envy of the world. With an updated version of America’s pioneer spirit, they invented the suburban subdivision (see Levittown) of three-bedroom ranches and neighborhood shopping centers, and freeways into the cities, where the breadwinners drove to work. In some areas like the northeast, they took trains into the cities, but outside the large urban areas, the automobile came into its own and made us a highly mobile culture.

I think the San Fernando Valley in California as a microcosm of the US after the war. The economy was booming, people had jobs and money, there was a lot of optimism for the future reflected in everything from popular music to fashion to architecture to decor. That’s why they were called the Fabulous Fifties.

They were followed by the Sick Sixties. Already, there was a segment, an element — people who hated America for being too white, too successful, too rich, too smug, too optimistic and too happy. And they set out to change that.

The decline of our culture isn’t entirely due to efforts of the left to tear down. In some measure, California was a victim of its own attractiveness, enticing millions of people to follow Route 66 to the Santa Monica pier, and then settle in and around Los Angeles, and other places, including the Central Valley and points north.

But an awful lot of our culture has been specifically targeted by leftists, many of whom don’t seem to really care about blacks and hispanics; they just hate whites (and most of them are white, go figure). They don’t really care about women, they just hate men. They don’t really care about homosexuals, they just hate heterosexuals.

Does this give you a better idea of my concept of American culture? A simpler way to say it might be to look at what the left is targeting for eradication or at least irrelevance. Very likely, it is an element of traditional American culture.

25 thoughts on “The Destruction of American Culture: An Explanation

  1. Jimmy Dick February 8, 2014 / 8:20 am

    This looks like someone sees one side of history. They saw something from the 1950s that they liked and thought was good. The problem is they didn’t see the negative parts. They also do not address or even consider what was going on in the 50s beyond the part that they liked. Should we point out the high tax rates of the 1950s or the large government expenditures on infrastructure such as the Interstate Highways? What about the extremely high participation rate of union membership? Let us then see how black Americans were treated along with other minorities.

    What this individual does is simplify history to what they like and don’t like. They ignore the international political scene of the containment theory which proved to be part of the government propaganda against communism in which religion formed a vital role. The 1960s are seen in a negative light yet the issue of Vietnam which was a big part of it is not mentioned. They see equality as a threat to their idealistic vision of the 50s. They lack an understanding of how context works in historical thought. Everything negative is blamed on the left.

    This looks like something written by a person who would fit the demographic of the conservative South in any of the last 60 years. White power is seen as good. Any sharing or hint of equality is negative and seen as destructive to the ideal white society. Note that they say, “They were followed by the Sick Sixties. Already, there was a segment, an element — people who hated America for being too white, too successful, too rich, too smug, too optimistic and too happy. And they set out to change that.” Place the emphasis here.

    They didn’t set out to change things to destroy them. They set out to participate equally in the good life. That is not a crime. That is one of the guiding principles of this nation. If one segment of the population gets what they want while forcing everyone else into second and third class citizenship status and denies them the good things in life or more importantly the ability to work towards sharing in that good life, then the entire structure is rotten and corrupt.

    NO, the 60s were about equality and justice. If this person thinks that only whites get to enjoy the fruits of all labor in this nation, then they need to pack their bags and get out of America. This is a nation of equality. Whoever wrote this piece of crap does not know their history at all.

    • Mark February 8, 2014 / 10:57 am

      Jimmy, I think your critique is a good one and about what I would have said if I had the time and eloquence. But when you characterize a period of time with “NO, the 60s were about equality and justice”, it seems to me you start heading down the same road of picking what you like and don’t like.

      The 60’s was what it was. Characterizing it by equality and justice is just one view by those who idolize it. I don’t idolize it or vilify it. One of the negatives is the smug idealism of those who view themselves as some kind of hero just for being there and identifying with it. Not saying you’re doing that, but there are just as many obnoxious people who pick and choose what they wish to see about the 60’s and in an idealist triumphalist fashion and don’t let us forget how great it was and even personally derive their own identity from their place in this idealized world of the past. These people aren’t hard to find at all, and I’ve met quite a few of these blowhards.

      So I’d say that the politics of grievance that springs from a romantic view of a certain period in the past isn’t any worse than a politics of progressive triumph that also springs from a romantic view of a different period in the past. Both are romantic idealizations that have a strained relationship with reality, and both are created (consciously or not) for the purpose of projecting a political viewpoint.

      • khepera420 February 8, 2014 / 12:27 pm

        Mark, I don’t idolize the 60s or indulge in smug idealism. As you say, the decade was what it was. However, I can assure you that for a great many people it *was* about equality and justice. Perhaps it’s a matter of personal perspective and experience. For a young black kid whose family left 1950s Kansas for California, and who spent his formative years in the 60s, you’d damned well better believe it was a LOT about equality and justice.

        • Mark February 8, 2014 / 6:23 pm

          >> However, I can assure you that for a great many people it *was* about equality and justice.

          I have no doubt whatever of that. I’m astonished that you think you’re informing me of anything I don’t know. It is a pretty obvious philosophical point that you can’t frown on someone over selective use of history while doing it yourself. That is to commit the same fundamental error, and it is pretty egregious. The point is that if a person does that they have no right to criticize Chastain or whomever wrote the above piece for her selective use of history.

          If this is really controversial, then it suggests that folks here really aren’t bothered by the historical selectivity of the article as they say. They merely disagree with the characterization. But I think the characterization of a time period by a single feature is itself problematic and prone to political exploitation.

          To put it more bluntly, while we here regularly object to the white Southern experience as characterizing the nation and/or time period as a whole, you are trying to tell me that it is fine to characterize the black experience as the real characterization? Do you see the problem with doing that?

          I know as well as anyone how various “great many people feel”, but if that is the standard let’s stop criticizing Connie Chastain and her ilk. Every era “for a great many people *was* about” any number of things. What does “about” here mean? Many eras in American have been “about” equality and justice, if not all. To pick out the 60’s as characterized by it, rather than the 50’s or the 70’s is problematic. Perhaps there is a time period where we can empirically measure the greatest rise in black incomes. I don’t even know, but if there is and it isn’t the 60’s would you still want to characterize the 60’s uniquely as “about equality and justice”?

          I have taken no position on the 60’s whatever, other than repeat the same thing already said that every era is a mixed bag. I’m kind of amazed by what people are reading into what I’ve said.

          And is it just me or has Brook’s been forgetting to link sources lately. I’m probably overlooking it, but I still don’t know who is writing the text we’re critiquing.

          • Mark February 8, 2014 / 6:32 pm

            I made a mistake above. Namely, when I said “the black experience” I should have said “your impressions or memories of what the black experience was”. Because whatever may be true about your experience, or your memories of them, there is also have little doubt that many blacks in the 60’s would not have this view of it unless there was some sort of universal euphoria at the time. I doubt that.

          • Brooks D. Simpson February 8, 2014 / 11:14 pm

            I am choosing not to link to the source so that people can concentrate on the message and not simply go off on the author.

          • khepera420 February 9, 2014 / 1:07 am

            Really Mark, you’re being rather presumptuous.

            ” I’m astonished that you think you’re informing me of anything I don’t know…”

            I, in fact, I think nothing of the sort. I’ve no opinion as to what you know or don’t know. What an odd thing for you to presume.

            “I’m kind of amazed by what people are reading into what I’ve said.”

            Likewise, re your response to my post. I’ll just leave it at, I don’t think you and I are even having the same conversation. So I’m, as they say, “out.” Cheers.🙂

      • khepera420 February 8, 2014 / 12:33 pm

        Mark, I don’t idolize the 60s or indulge in smug idealism about the period. As you say, the decade was what it was. However, I can assure you that for a great many people it *was* very much about equality and justice. Perhaps it’s a matter of personal perspective and experience. For a young black kid whose family left 1950s Kansas for California, and who spent his formative years in the 60s, you’d damned well better believe it was a LOT about equality and justice.

      • Jimmy Dick February 8, 2014 / 12:46 pm

        I think you miss the point here. The 60s were like any other decade. People battled for equality. It was just more evident in the 60s as they began to succeed. The original poster was lamenting the 60s for ruining his idea world view he has of the 50s.
        I see the 60s as a decade where things that were shoved under the rug were brought out and exposed for what they were. The Civil Rights battle of the 50s was being won by minorities and that brought about a lot of open change. So it is easy to see the 60s as a decade of change because it is more visible than other decades, but in reality change was occurring in all decades. It just seems some periods of time see change on a slower, gradual scale compared to others. Maybe it is perception, maybe not.

        • Mark February 9, 2014 / 12:00 pm

          It’s seems it is an arbitrary choice based on feelings and memories. Look at what khepera420 said. Moved to CA but attributes the change in racial attitudes to some great equality and justice supposedly characteristic of the 60s, rather than the move. The blacks I know and have read about that moved to the most western of states to get a fairer shake knew very well the move itself was THE factor in their getting a better share of the equality and justice than any other factor. What the 60s have to do with this migration for those who did it I do not see.

          How am I missing the point? You even allow that “it may be perception”. I think it is clearly perception. It probably wouldn’t be that hard to look at empirical measures of equality or justice, or at least have an interest in it. And if they conflicted with impressions of the 60s for a given group as uniquely in some way characterized by equality and justice would it change anything for them? Not likely, because people hang onto their romantic vision of the 60s just like others hang onto their romantic vision of the antebellum years or the post WWiI era or Victorian England or whatever.

          • Jimmy Dick February 9, 2014 / 4:39 pm

            Regardless of how you feel, the evidence shows that the 60s were more of a reaction to the 50s than anything else. It really isn’t fair to say “the 60s” because the early part of the decade started out like the 50s for most people. Change was occurring, but it was only in the mid-60s that it began to really come to the forefront. Regardless of impressions, the late 60s were all about change. Social justice was a very important concept in that period of time and still is.

            What I find the most troubling about the original essay is that the writer clearly has a right wing only world view in which everything bad is from the left. They seem to have no clue whatsoever that their wonderful 50s were not wonderful for a lot of people including those labeled as whites. Part of this nostalgia lives in the way the decade was portrayed on film and in TV. An idealistic and perfect society was on the television set but that did not represent reality for most people.

            So right away the issue of perception comes up. One of the things we do in history is seek to portray the accurate version of history, not the romanticized and nostalgic version. The 60s is a time of conflicting perceptions, but one thing is clear through studying that time period historically; there was a great deal of change occurring on a lot of levels.

          • khepera420 February 9, 2014 / 4:55 pm

            Alright, I pointed it out politely earlier, now I’m going to be blunt; stop putting words in my mouth and pretending that you can see some subtext underlying what I say.

            “Look at what khepera420 said. Moved to CA but **attributes the change in racial attitudes to some great equality and justice supposedly characteristic of the 60s,** rather than the move.”

            That’s a flat out lie. “. . .some great equality and justice characteristic of the 60s?” I neither said nor implied such a statement. You are intellectually dishonest and incredibly presumptuous. I have family still living in Wichita, Kansas who would tell you in no uncertain terms that the changes in the 60s were a beacon of light; especially since some of them were actually involved in those struggles.

            You seem bent on some crusade to paint people as glorifying a decade as opposed to the EVENTS of that decade. You’re the one hung up on the calendar. What the hell do you want people to say about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the black civil rights movement hitting its stride, womens’ rights coming to the forefront, etc? That they happened in some nameless, unknown prehistory? They happened in the 60s. Get over it.

  2. Roger E Watson February 8, 2014 / 9:08 am

    Everything was so great in the 50’s. I just finished a book on the final 2 years of the Korean War and one story is quite apt for the great 50’s. The Marine had been hit bad. He was holding his severed arm to his body with his good arm as he was carried to the aid station. Only the worst cases were to be helicoptered out. The doctor told the corpsman that this guy couldn’t go because there was only room for one more and it was going to be this other guy who was not so severely wounded. The corpsman fought the doctor tooth and nail even threatening to report him to his superiors. Finally the doctor relented and said, “If you feel that strongly about it, the damn nigger can go.” Yup, the 50’s were great, indeed.

  3. Bob Nelson February 8, 2014 / 10:28 am

    I never heard the 60s called the “Sick Sixties.” No wonder I’m so screwed up. LOL I don’t need to comment on Jim’s or Roger’s replies as they have nailed it. I will add, however, that it sounds very much like something my father would say were he still alive today. He was teaching in the 60s (I was in college) and he hated the music, the clothes, the hippies, “free love,” civil rights, all of it. He used to talk fondly about the “great kids” he had in school in the 40s and 50s and how simple life was back then. I sometimes think ultra conservatives are stuck in the past. They look back with fondness and nostalgia and say, “Those were great times.” Liberals look to the future and ask, “What might be?”

    • Bob Nelson February 8, 2014 / 2:44 pm

      Mm, mm, mm. As I ride up to my mansion, a servant takes my horse to the stable to be combed and unsaddled. As I climb the stairs, another servant hands me a fresh mint julep. Mm, mm, mm. The smell of magnolias, moonlight filtering through the Live Oaks adorned with Spanish moss, sipping my drink, sitting on my veranda looking over my estate. Mm, mm, mm. As Archie Bunker used to say, “Those were the days.” To make sure nobody takes me seriously —

      LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL

      Or it could just be a plot from one of Connie’s books.

  4. Will Hickox February 8, 2014 / 1:27 pm

    Note the studious avoidance of any mention of segregation or other civil-rights violations during the “Fabulous Fifties” or the great progress made in health care and the standard of living during the LBJ era. When will conservatives like this fellow grow some cojones and admit that what really bothers them about postwar America is egalitarianism and the dissemination of rights and privileges once mostly reserved for prosperous white males?

    “The virgin Mary splattered in elephant dung”: if the writer had bothered to do any research he would know that artist Chris Ofili is well-known for incorporating elephant dung (a traditional substance in African art) in many of his works. “The Holy Virgin Mary” has a breast carefully crafted–not splattered–in dung, incorporating design elements from a people (East Africans) some of whom adopted Christianity long before any European nation.

    “Howsomever,” none of this is relevant to a whiny polemicist who–to paraphrase his own words–doesn’t really care about history or culture, but just hates modern America.

  5. Joshism February 9, 2014 / 6:29 am

    I don’t much care for the 1960s because of the drugs and free love (Civil Rights were a good thing though), but that kind of liberal movement now seems to me to be expected as a reaction to the conservative 1950s (and Vietnam). In a similiar fashion, the conservative movement of the 1980s was a reaction to the liberal movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

    Also, this fellow seems to think the suburbanization of America is a good thing.

    “not historiography — i.e., telling people what to think about history”

    That word you use: I do not think it means what you think it means.

  6. Patrick Young February 10, 2014 / 3:50 am

    Although the author of the post leaves out many of the influencers that create culture, she is correct in understanding that technological changes played a role in shaping culture. It is interesting, however, that she overestimates the impact of ideology in shaping the so-called “sexual revolution” and underestimates the impact of technology on this major cultural development.

    The sexual revolution is less tied to any book or manifesto about sex than it is to the invention of effective oral contraception by Gregory Pincus. The approval of it for use by the FDA in 1960 did more to separate sex from marriage than did any left wing ideology. The 1960s could not have existed in the form that it took without the Pill.

    Young women, finally able to delay pregnancy without denying themselves sexual experiences, were now able to go to college in large numbers for the first time and enter the job market. Was it leftism when they demanded that as they entered new areas of American life that they:
    1. Not be raped.
    2. Not be sexually harassed.
    3. Be given equal pay for equal work, etc.

    These women often gained a sympathetic hearing from their younger male peers who saw the advantages to themselves of relaxed sexual norms that had nothing to do with ideology, and they also frequently became allies of sexual minorities like the LGBT community.

    It was good old American know-how, embodied in the invention of the Pill, that sparked a revolution in gender roles and in the understanding of sexuality. Republicans are almost as likely to use birth control, have sex before marriage, and have LGBT children as Democrats are.

    • Joshism February 10, 2014 / 9:04 pm

      “Young women, finally able to delay pregnancy without denying themselves sexual experiences, were now able to go to college in large numbers for the first time and enter the job market.”

      And thus women could not only seek the education and upward mobility available to men, but also engage in the debauchery and hedonism men had been engaging in for centuries. I guess Prohibition taught us “Can’t beat ’em – might as well join ’em!”

      • Patrick Young February 13, 2014 / 11:14 pm

        Most of the women I know did not engage in debauchery. Just wanted avoid pregnancy until they were older.

  7. Neil Hamilton February 12, 2014 / 4:44 am

    Sorta reminds of the song, “We didn’t start the fire.”

    And there was no such thing as “the good old day.”

  8. Buck Buchanan February 13, 2014 / 9:04 am

    I will accede to the Good Old Times worldview so long as they no longer recognize the warts and belmishes….and also recognize that a huge part of the economic powerhouse of the late 1940s and 1950s was because of a) a strong labor union presecence across all industries and b) so much of the success was because the workforce had been educated on a government funded investment program (the GI Bill) as well as government spending and investment in a wide range of industry and infrastructure (see Interstate Highway System, ST Lawrence Seaway, improvements in the harbors and waterways by the COE to improve commerce).

  9. Nancy Winkler February 13, 2014 / 4:47 pm

    The Pill does not account for the dramatic rise in the number of unwed mothers starting in the ’60s. If they had been on the pill, they wouldn’t have become pregnant. At the same time and ever since, there has been a decrease in the influence of the church. Young people are not hearing that sex outside of marriage is immoral. In fact, they equate immoral with illegal, though those are different concepts.

    • Jimmy Dick February 13, 2014 / 8:39 pm

      You might want to explain that idea to the God fearing young ladies two centuries earlier who had plenty of instruction on what caused pregnancy (sex) and that sex outside of marriage was immoral. Yet, it is estimated that one third of the teenaged women were pregnant and unmarried during the American Revolution. High birthrates and an increase of out of wedlock births are a common theme during times of war.

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