The Dead Hand of the Sixties
This ties in with Paul’s post today on culture and its political impact. Jonah Goldberg is usually worth reading at National Review Online, but today he was brilliant:
The bowel-stewing hypocrisy notwithstanding, what’s amazing is how the same dreck is recycled as new, fresh, and courageous. Charles Beard’s An Economic Interpretation of the U.S. Constitution will be 100 years old next year. Its attack on the Founders as greedy white men was wrong then, but at least it was relatively original. Today, college kids regurgitate the same nonsense — and professors applaud their rebelliousness. Except what or whom are they rebelling against? Not the faculty or the administration.
Hackneyed left-wingery is not only treated with respect on campuses (though most mainstream academics aren’t as left-wing as Zinn or Stone), it is repackaged daily by Hollywood and celebrated by the mainstream media.
The self-styled rebels of Occupy Wall Street received overwhelmingly positive coverage in the mainstream media in no small part because the liberal press thinks authentic political expression for young people must be left-wing. The regurgitation of hackneyed ’60s slogans pleasing to the ears of aging, nostalgia-besotted baby boomers elicits squeals of delight. Meanwhile, tea-party protests were greeted as dangerous, odd, and deserving of hostile journalistic scrutiny.
And yet the kitsch of leftism still works its magic. In huge numbers, young people think they’re rebelling when all they’re doing is playing their assigned part and lending energy and, often, votes to a stale, regimented form of statist liberalism that often disappoints and never satisfies.
Go here to read the rest. The Sixties were a disaster for America in so many ways and perhaps the greatest disaster is the impact on our culture. Sixties radicals captured Academia, Hollywood and the Mainstream Media and they have produced a very odd cultural stasis. Imagine how strange it would have been if back in the Sixties young people had been aping the fashions, music and political beliefs of the Roaring Twenties. That is precisely what we have today as the original Sixties radicals are making plans for revolutionizing the nursing homes they will soon be inhabiting. The Sixties exalted the youthful rebel and what has been produced as a result of all that sturm und drang has been to produce generations that meekly adopt the platitudes, buzz phrases and chants of their elders. Mao called one of his disastrous periods of misrule in China the Culutural Revolution. Our wannabe Maos have produced their own highly successful variant in this country, and that victory is demonstrated in young people who swallow the quack nostrums that are still as ludicrous as they were in 68, with the lethal difference that what was once hot air emitted in a campus bull session is now government policy.
The late Andrew Breitbart understood that conservatives could only succeed long term politically if they could break the dead hand of the left on American culture, and he was absolutely right.