Source:The Daily Review
Not sure if 1968 won the Cultural War, simply because I don’t see how a year could win a war. Wars are won by groups of individuals generally countries through their militaries and their people that back them. I’m being a little coy here, but Victor Hanson’s basic point being that did the people from the 1960s especially the late 60s, the young people who were a big part of that era with all of those young Baby Boomers coming of age in the 1960s and graduating high school, starting college and even graduating college in that decade, did those people and the cultural and lifestyles, political views that they represented especially the Hippies, did they win the Cultural War? I believe the obvious answer to that question is yes.
As a Gen-Xer who was born in the mid 1970s and just one generation up from the Baby Boomers, I obviously don’t remember 1968, but that’s only because I wasn’t even born yet. If I were born even in the early 1960s perhaps I would have some memories of that time. So what I have to do to familiar myself with that decade is to listen to, read, and watch the people who were not only alive through that period, not only lived through that period, but were major part of it. The new cultural and lifestyle changes from that decade, all the personal freedom and individualism that came from that decade, the anti-warmovement, the women’s movement, the gay movement, civil rights movement, etc. One of the advantages of history is that you can’t forget it because people are always reporting on it as it happens, but then later on with books and documentaries.
There two main factions in the 1960s cultural movement. One being perhaps the most famous the New-Left socialist revolutionary movement that not only wanted to get America out of the Vietnam War, wanted to fundamentally change how the American economy and government worked. Even in that movement you had at least two factions. The Socialist Revolutionaries lead by groups like The Weather Underground, Students For a Democratic Society and then later in the early and mid 1970s the Symbionese Liberation Army that’s famous for kidnapping San Francisco area heiress Patricia Hearst, who wanted to rob banks to take care of the poor. And then you had the peaceful demonstrators who were part of the anti-warmovement and were simply interested in getting America out of the Vietnam War, but not trying to overthrow the U.S. Government through violence.
The socialist revolutionary nonsense ( tis the season to be generous ) I don’t have much if any respect for as someone who believes in the rule of law and only believe in using violence in self-defense and to protect the innocent. But the Hippies who were growing up in the 1950s and remember that era well who wanted a new life that was different from their parents and grandparents, who wanted to make their own decisions, who loved their families, but didn’t want to be dominated by them and be able to live their own lives even if their parents disapprove of their lifestyles, as a Liberal myself who believes in individualism and free choice, personal freedom I have a lot of respect for that movement.
By not even 1968 but really 1965-66 and perhaps even 63-64, America was changing drastically culturally, racially, and ethnically. The Anglo-Saxon Ozzie and Harriet lifestyle from the 1950s was becoming a thing of the past at least in Real America even if Hollywood was still producing shows that looked like they were from 1955. Instead of the husband walking in the door every night and saying, “honey, I’m home!” with his devoted wife staying, “hi dear, how was your day?” having his paper and favorite drink ready for him, the woman in many cases was just getting home from work herself. Because you had these Baby Boom Hippies and lot of them women who didn’t want’t to be housewives and in some cases didn’t want to get married or even have kids. Who instead wanted to go to college, get a degree and start their own lives and be independent with the same freedom that the men have.
The so-called Cultural War from back then and today are fought by two factions. The Christian-Right, who believe the 1950s was the golden age for America and who’ve been trying to get every single American into some national time machine and take us all back to that 1950s Ozzie and Harriet lifestyle. And the New Americans ( let’s call them ) who believe that Americans should be free to be Americans, who are a very diverse people racially, ethnically, religiously, and culturally who believe Americans should be free to be Americans and make their own lifestyle and cultural decisions. Even if that offends people who are a lot more conservative religiously. And the New Americans having been winning this Cultural War really since the 1970s at least with all the personal freedom that Americans have today.