“But then came the late 1960s, and over the next two decades American individualism was fully unleashed. A kind of tacit grand bargain was forged between the counterculture and the establishment, between the forever-young and the moneyed.
Going forward, the youthful masses of every age would be permitted as never before to indulge their self-expressive and hedonistic impulses. But capitalists in return would be unshackled as well, free to indulge their own animal spirits with fewer and fewer fetters in the forms of regulation, taxes or social opprobrium.
“Do your own thing” is not so different than “every man for himself.” If it feels good, do it, whether that means smoking weed and watching porn and never wearing a necktie, retiring at 50 with a six-figure public pension and refusing modest gun regulation, or moving your factories overseas and letting commercial banks become financial speculators. The self-absorbed “Me” Decade, having expanded during the ’80s and ’90s from personal life to encompass the political economy, will soon be the “Me” Half-Century.”
–“The Downside of Liberty“: By KURT ANDERSEN, July 3, 2012 , NYT.com.
via: “Individual liberty sure can be a bummer“:hotair.com,
Anderson talks about the values in American culture before the 60’s. WWII ushered in an era of rationing and constant talk of keeping secrets. Their was a war on so America was militarized. After the war, American returned to civilian life. Returning GI’s went to college, the economy rebounded. Held down by a Depression and war, demand for consumer goods skyrocketed and jobs were plentiful. There was the Korean War and the expansion of Communism, but the impact was not felt at home. Indeed, the Department of War & the Dept. of the Navy became the Department of Defense. The Air Force became a separate service. Instead of relying on state militias and a draft to make up the Army of the United States, the country shifted to a large standing Regular Army. The draft was still there of course.
Vietnam changed all that. Between the draft and fears of a nuclear war, hedonism took root. Why think about others when the world was going to end?
But the reality is that most campuses did not become hotbeds of unrest until the
Boomers’ precious butts were at risk as the Vietnam War escalated. They didn’t
want to end the war because they were bothered by working-class kids being blown
apart; if they had been, they wouldn’t have spat on those working-class kids
when they came home from Vietnam, or tried to make heroes out of the Communists
who were trying to kill them.–
“The Worst Generation”:by Paul Begala, ESQUIRE, April 2000.
“By the time the Grunge Era came around, the “slacker” and “loser” characters were heroes, the guys who knew that life was really all about having fun. We were a self-depreciating group of people who proudly declared that we were what our parents always wanted to be: laid back and carefree.”5 Ways We Ruined the Occupy Wall Street Generation:John Cheese, Cracked.Com
I get so much mileage out of Begala. But seriously, the hippies were selfish snots. Drugs, sex, rock and roll, it was an eternal childhood. The focus on summer (the time when schools let out for vacation and the break between the spring and fall college semesters). But summer has to end. The 60’s gave way to the 70’s and the summer of love was over. As was the Vietnam War. What did the 70’s give us? A crappy president, an oil crisis and disco. The 80’s had hippies sell out and pursue the almighty dollar. The 90’s led to more of the same. The Millennials (children born in the late 80’s and early 90’s) are the most selfish, spoiled brats you’ll ever see. If people are more “selfish” and “self-centered” it’s the cult of self-esteem and eternal childhood that hippies and boomers created.
When the left loses an argument or bad things happen, like a spoiled child, the left blames the right. Or America, or everything else. JFK? Right wing hate. Losing the Wisconsin recall? Right wing billionaires “bought” the election. Toast lands butter-side down? Vast right wing conspiracy.
Some pine for “old fashioned values“. But we need to remember, it’s not the speed of modern life that’s evil. It’s the desire to satisfy our basic urges as fast as possible. Buddhism says that suffering is caused by wanting. Never is that more clear than with the left. Like spoiled children they want more, they want it now and you’re a rethugican for denying them.