The Big One of 1968

At the end of October I wrote that it’s not too late to stay frosty in response to a Pat Buchanan article stating that 2018 is not as violent as 1968:

According to Bryan Burrough, author of “Days of Rage, America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence,” “During an 18-month period in 1971 and 1972, the FBI reported more than 2,500 bombings on U.S. soil, nearly 5 a day.”

No, 2018 is not 1968, at least not yet.

But Victor Davis Hanson has an admonishment:[1]

But maybe the ’60s, not the silent majority, won out after all. The world a half-century later looks a lot more like 1968 and what followed than what preceded it.

Most of the political and cultural agenda from that turbulent period — both the advances and the regressions — has long been institutionalized. The military draft, for good or bad, has remained defunct. There is greater transparency in politics, fewer smoke-filled rooms. Disabled children, once ostracized and/or dismissively labeled “retarded,” are now far better integrated into society and treated more ethically as special-needs kids. The rights of women, minorities and the LGBT community are now widely accepted.

Yet lifestyles have been radically altered — and often not for the good. Before the late ’60s, most Americans married before having children; afterward, not so much. One-parent households are now far more common.

Other legacies of the ’60s include couples marrying later and having fewer children. A half-century later, these social inheritances often mean prolonged adolescence, older parents, delayed or nonexistent homeownership, and more emphasis on leisure time than on household chores.

It’s a viewpoint against which it is hard to argue. I think they’re both correct and perhaps from the future’s long view 2018s troubles will be recognized as aftershocks from The Big One of 1968.

There are, I’m sure, some lessons to be drawn from examining the 1960s.

One might be that the path to political victory MUST be via one of the two parties; that–because of the gendered nature of our political system–all third party efforts are made with as much vanity and nonsense as the so-called “non-binary genders” of transsexual activists. The Hard Left took over politics not with a Socialist Party, nor by routing Republicans, but by taking over the Democratic party.

Another more important is less a lesson than an observable truth: The so-called Right in America actually stands for nothing but Liberalism. It must stand for something. Larry Kummer writes in, The Left Pushes America down a slippery slope:

The Left drives America down a slippery slow to an unknown future. Radical social changes are coming ever faster, experiments powered by government power, done without our consent. We can still get off this path.

How? We might wonder. LK gives his prescription in his comments:

Hence awakening a desire for liberty and for self-government is necessary.

Yeah, that makes sense: What the Right needs to do is to be better Leftists. Then we will stop the Left…

Larry Kummer is not alone in his thinking. I was right there with him until I got smacked around by the writings of Zippy Catholic. I trust everyone sees the problem, but just in case: To be Right–and not Left–is to be overtly for authority; to take joy in being yoked together, each under the other–in, into, and of–a powerful structure. That is what has been capitulated.

Please leave your own suggested lessons in the comments.


[1] HT: Nathan Rinne

(Edited to add the link Dalrock’s post, which I had intended from the start of this post.)

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37 thoughts on “The Big One of 1968

  1. I don’t know. The 60s were garbage, and ruined a lot of fundamentally important parts of society, but they were a logical outgrowth of what came before. Isolating any particular recent triumph of liberalism seems a little silly, given that it’s always just a replay of what came before. It’s always specific evils wrought by the loosening of some moral stricture or removal of some structured authority, all in the name of vaguely defined freedom, equality, or whatever buzzword for the good is popular at the time. As you so aptly pointed out, Republicans are liberals. They want to fight against the insanity of the left by going back to the founding fathers–all of whom were violent, crazy, rebellious leftists.

    The Protestant Reformation ruined Church authority.
    The American Revolution ruined State authority.
    The American Civil War ruined local authority.
    The Civil Rights Movement ruined minority cultures.
    The Sexual Revolution ruined sexual culture.

  2. @djz

    Specifically, I suggested that 2018’s SJWism is aftershocks of the political earthquake of 1968. You are right that there were earthquakes before then, but I have not seen a convincing case that each one you listed was directly caused by the previous; much less inevitable.

  3. Exactly. There is no respect for godly authority on the left. Of course this authority begins with God Himself, and those who reject fathers or the police or other hierarchy first reject God.

    I’m convinced nothing will change until our behavior changes. The Right (broadly defined) must begin protecting its ground. Christian churches must publicly expel those who would modify biblical doctrine in order to be more receptive to homosexuality or “social justice.” Republicans must remove from the party those who violate not some left-wing taboo (like racism) but some right-wing taboo (like defense of abortion or atheism). Conservatives in state legislatures must defund public universities which teach radical Marxist doctrine or oppress conservative or Christian students through speech codes.

    Authority must be exercised in order to be feared and in turn, useful.

  4. I wouldn’t say that each advance of liberalism directly causes the next earthquake. I would say that each follows on logically from the previous. Modern SJWism absolutely flows logically from the conclusions of the 60s, just as I think the Sexual Revolution flowed logically from previous social changes.

    One might be that the path to political victory MUST be via one of the two parties;

    I think this is true for those seeking their own particular version of liberalism. The 60s radicals wanted their flavor of liberalism to win, so they co-opted the Dems by inches. However I don’t think authority works that way. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like Conquest’s second law implies that gradual takeover of existing institutions is just not something that works for the right.

  5. One of the things you will see frequently including from people on the right is that they don’t want to “go back to the 1950s”. What they really mean is undo the cultural “improvements” of the 1960s (and the decades that followed). But no one bats an eye. Everyone just nods in agreement. It is astounding.

  6. Cane
    I dont5have the time to point out the logic of Djz progression. I will simply state that historical evidence shows an erosion of authority by empowering the next lowest tier while advocating it act in its best interests against domineering authorities above it. Then it moves on to the next tier in the hierarchy.

    While I know you’re not Catholic, if you can get over the references to the Church involved in this and think of how the ideas apply to any governing body set over individuals, in that their ultimate purpose is always and everywhere to aid in attainment of heaven, I think it will do you some good.

    http://www.papalencyclicals.net/leo13/l13sta.htm

  7. The so-called Right in America actually stands for nothing but Liberalism.

    They venerate their radical founding fathers, they conserve radicalism.

    The Protestant Reformation ruined Church authority.

    This sort of analysis is skin-deep. The people in power have a big part in ‘ruining’ what authority they have, It is abuse of power that is used as an excuse to push for all the radical advances: past slavery was an abuse of power that is now used as a reason to radical diversity, abuse of wives as an excuse to push for no-fault divorce, the abuse of power by popes and people under them eroded the authority of the papal authorities among the Papists.

  8. Incidentally, credit to Zippy (I keep forgetting to write my memorial post on him). He has had more influence on my personal worldview (outside of Christ, of course) than anybody but Dr. Feser, and the most influence on my view of government and authority.

  9. Here is something I’ve been thinking for a while.

    WWII killed off a generation of men & that combined with the unmet consumer demand of the war years & the US having the only functioning industrial economy in the post war years led to:
    — the power of the unions
    — increased license for women
    Hormonal birth control in the ’60s led to:
    — free love/free range whoring
    — no fault divorce
    Union power declined about the time that the baby boomer generation came of age and the labor market loosens up, the rest of the world starts producing

    Then, I think that djz has an excellent point though I might quibble with the things that caused it, but I have said that we have no institutions with moral authority.

    We don’t trust the church
    We don’t trust the government
    We don’t trust the bureaucrats
    We don’t trust the corporations
    We don’t trust the scientists
    We don’t trust the journalists
    We don’t trust the teachers

    Is it any wonder that society is collapsing?

  10. Republicans are liberals. They want to fight against the insanity of the left by going back to the founding fathers–all of whom were violent, crazy, rebellious leftists.

    The patriarchs baulked at universal suffrage. But it is now a shibboleth for their ‘conservative’ descendants:

    Scene: founding fathers somehow find themselves in the present day. They encounter some ‘conservatives’

    Patriarchs: Everything is so advanced and magical and ric-

    turns suddenly from TV screen

    You allow the masses to vote?! tone of horror

    ‘Conservatives’: Of course, it’s only fair that everyone gets to-

    Patriarchs: That’s insane! Only white men of certain station should vote, you can’t let the masses-

    Conservatives: That’s racist! and sexist! and elitist! How could you be so bigoted, you were our idols!

    scene ends with mutual disowning, the patriarchs narrowly escaping tarring and feathering by a wormhole returning them to their proper time

  11. I remain somewhat unzippyfied.

    That being said, authority has to be actual, real authority. And even then, it’s authority is limited, no one has an absolute claim except God. Liberty is still a real value, our Catholic brethren may know it as subsidiarity.

    Only somewhat unzippyfied, because of course you need authority and concomitant with subsidiarity is solidarity. But when he panicked and swung over to “freedom is bad” (I’m willing to accept that I misread him if someone can prove it), he renders huge chunks of the Bible unintelligible. Why set captives free? Why free the people of Israel from Egypt? Moses ruined Pharaoh’s authority!

    History is such a rat’s nest I think it defies all simple lessons except one, man is moving towards or away from God. The freest societies in history have been Christian societies because God wants us to freely choose Him. The saints are diverse (in the raw meaning of the term) because we each ought to be free to serve God according to our own specific talents, stations, and limitations.

    I think we’ve gone wrong because we believe the left is about what they say they’re about when we know for a fact that they lie about their motivations all the time. They don’t care about freedom and never have. They are exclusively about moving away from God. That’s it. If freedom helps, they’ll do that. If putting the boot in on freedom helps, they’ll do that.

  12. I remain somewhat unzippyfied.

    That being said, authority has to be actual, real authority. And even then, it’s authority is limited, no one has an absolute claim except God. Liberty is still a real value, our Catholic brethren may know it as subsidiarity.

    Only somewhat unzippyfied, because of course you need authority and concomitant with subsidiarity is solidarity. But when he panicked and swung over to “freedom is bad” (I’m willing to accept that I misread him if someone can prove it), he renders huge chunks of the Bible unintelligible. Why set captives free? Why free the people of Israel from Egypt? Moses ruined Pharaoh’s authority!

    History is such a rat’s nest I think it defies all simple lessons except one, man is moving towards or away from God. The freest societies in history have been Christian societies because God wants us to freely choose Him. The saints are diverse (in the raw meaning of the term) because we each ought to be free to serve God according to our own specific talents, stations, and limitations.

    I think we’ve gone wrong because we believe the left is about what they say they’re about when we know for a fact that they lie about their motivations all the time. They don’t care about freedom and never have. They are exclusively about moving away from God. That’s it. If freedom helps, they’ll do that. If putting the boot in on freedom helps, they’ll do that.

  13. But when he panicked and swung over to “freedom is bad” (I’m willing to accept that I misread him if someone can prove it)

    Do you accept that there are other positions besides ‘freedom is good’ and ‘freedom is bad’? Otherwise you’ll be unable to accept the proof.

    he renders huge chunks of the Bible unintelligible. Why set captives free? Why free the people of Israel from Egypt? Moses ruined Pharaoh’s authority!

    After the freeing of the slaves, they were then bound by the Mosaic Law. It was the same at creation, freedom in the garden was given, but also a binding rule.

  14. Invariably, right-liberals conflate specific freedoms with Freedom. Ergo the common ‘freedom from slavery is good, therefore Freedom is good’.

  15. GJ, nobody is making an argument for actual anarchy, even so called anarcholibertarians. Freedom proper is of course limited, freedom is of course a limited value inside of a hierarchy of values.

    Throughout the old and the new testament, men get released from bondage of a great many kinds. Augustine said Love God and do what you will (a saying Aleister Crowley perverted and misused). I’m only talking about the freedom proper to a man, given to him by God and within the bounds of the love of God and the commandments. I also maintain that such freedom actually exists and I believe it fits within the plan of God for individuals.

    The solution isn’t “The left says they’re for freedom, THAT MUST MEAN FREEDOM IS BAD”. I don’t think it is right either to say, “he has authority, THEREFORE HE HAS ALL THE AUTHORITY”. The left also claims to be for peace, prosperity, and other things they don’t actually deliver.

    I don’t believe these things, not because they offend me, but because they are not true. You can’t just obey because obey. Obey who? On what grounds? What should I be free to do, or not do? Says who?

    BTW, I meant prove my understanding of Zippy wrong.

    And just because I’m petty, and think a lot of the anti freedom talk stems more from a desire to be stark and even shocking as opposed to an actual love of truth. If I’m wrong I apologize

    Moses ruined Pharaoh’s authority
    Daniel ruined Darius’ authority
    Paul ruined the authority of the High Priest (who he even recognized as God’s High Priest)
    Early Christians ruined the authority of countless emperors (whom Paul recognized as legitimate rulers)
    Bonhoeffer ruined Hitler’s authority
    Fr. Ciszek ruined Stalin’s authority
    Fr. Mindszenty ruined Rakosi’s authority

    The only clear solution is to go further than Calvin and declare all use of personal judgement bad and illegitimate. Including the personal judgement used to make this determination.

  16. YHWH wants us to be free from our obligation to sin, not free to sin. America and it’s rights have things backwards. Jesus was not free to do what he wanted. He was still free.

  17. @greenmantlehoyos

    The solution isn’t “The left says they’re for freedom, THAT MUST MEAN FREEDOM IS BAD”.

    For the record: That isn’t my position. I am against the political philosophy of Liberalism; which is a specific thing.

  18. GJ, nobody is making an argument for actual anarchy, even so called anarcholibertarians.

    Of course not, because they always equivocate on freedom.

    I’m only talking about the freedom proper to a man, given to him by God and within the bounds of the love of God and the commandments.

    Sounds like a massive equivocation is in process here.

    BTW, I meant prove my understanding of Zippy wrong.

    You should start first by proving that he said that freedom is bad.

    And just because I’m petty, and think a lot of the anti freedom talk stems more from a desire to be stark and even shocking as opposed to an actual love of truth.

    For me quite a bit stems from the big green idol of Libertas in New York, and all the unborn children sacrificed in her name.

  19. @Cane, fair enough, that last comment was directed at GJ, I’m still grateful to Zippy for his work on usury, I just have a problem with his views on freedom as I see them.

    @GJ, if I’m equivocating prove it. I tried to be as clear as possible, I’m not defining freedom in secular terms, I defined it in very specific terms. My language was not ambiguous at all. I am concealing nothing about what I think or believe.

    It doesn’t “sound like a massive equivocation”. It “sounds like” I failed to argue on the script you were expecting and you don’t have a leg to stand on.

    The Statue of Liberty is not responsible for abortion.

    Of course the devil has to use good things to confuse good men into doing bad things. Of course no one says “let’s have abortion as a sacrifice to moloch”. Putting abortion on liberty, when no one made that connection for centuries, tells me there is no real connection. Again, the left uses all kinds of worthy things to advance terrible things. Stalin was all about peace, Hitler was all about unity. National honor, authority, every great virtue has been used as an excuse for evil. That is not the fault of the virtue in question.

    LIberty or Equality by Erik von Kuehnelt Leddihn would be helpful for you here, it was helpful for me.

    Now regarding Zippy thinking freedom is bad here are some quotes and sources. Like I said, if I’m misreading something I’ll accept that.

    1) This is more in the context of believing that freedom doesn’t exist, and is therefore bad

    “Freedom, of course, means crushing dissent from the configuration of empowerments and restrictions our society considers good – or that our team is convinced society ought to consider good – under the boot of emancipation.”

    https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2017/08/20/you-have-the-right-to-remain-silent/

    2) This one is a bit more naked

    Freedom is a state of affairs wherein what people wish to choose corresponds to what they are actually able to choose. Freedom as a political priority requires us to subvert all transcendent conceptions of the good – all concepts of the good which transcend what people happen to want – to whatever actual people actually wish to choose. It therefore inherently sets itself against reality.

    https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2014/08/02/feeding-cthulu-with-freedom/

    3) Here he seems to be saying again, that freedom is basically bad

    “So it isn’t really possible to abandon equality and still retain freedom as a guiding political principle. If we do that we’ll just wake up on liberalism’s eternal Groundhog Day all over again.”

    https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/freedom-implies-equal-rights/

    I can produce more if these don’t suffice.

    Like I mentioned to Cane, I actually do respect Zippy a great deal and love his work on usury. I just think on this issue, he’s just wrong and he’s wrong about something that is harmful. I’m not defending secular liberalism, because I can’t defend secular anything, no one really can. I do react against what I see as an almost Manichaen tendency to rebel against a virtue because it’s abused. I also react against what I see as a kind of virtue signaling, “think you’re hardcore throne and altar right? Well I think the Founding Fathers were left wing monsters” “Oh yeah? Well restore the Stuarts” “Well in that case, Guy Fawkes didn’t go far enough”. See what I mean? No one cares about what’s true, just about not looking weak. But that’s my surmising, I’m obviously not a mind reader.

  20. @greenmantlehoyos

    My guess is that, when you read Zippy, you did not put enough emphasis on his use of the phrases such as, “Freedom as a political priority and “freedom as a guiding political principle; specifically the parts in bold.

    In other words: Liberalism, a specific thing which is a type of political philosophy; an incoherent one because politics just is the study and practice of authority over others.

  21. @greenmantlehoyos

    I also react against what I see as a kind of virtue signaling, “think you’re hardcore throne and altar right?

    I’ve also seen that, but I just ignore it.

    The Statue of Liberty, though, is shit and should be blowed-up. It is a genuine idol. I mean not only in the sense we Protestants usually mean as a thing that distracts us from God, but in the whole sense of a statue of the dead Roman goddess Libertas whose worship was resurrected during the French Revolution.

    I sometimes suspect she is an idol of Babylon the Great.

  22. @Cane, maybe. I do see it as a political priority that the government doesn’t just seize all of my property or start dictating those things that properly belong to me. This is my understanding of freedom. I do think it is a political priority that the government not render me either poor or defenseless. Also that they do not restrict my religious practice or demand that I say things I do not believe are true. These things are political by nature. Ironically I think Zippy are agreed that for anything really to go right politically, it does have to begin with honoring God.

    @malcolm, now you may be right about that now. The poem at the base has been killing us.

    @All, got a little passionate earlier and I do apologize if anything I said was lacking in respect to either anyone here or the departed.

  23. he renders huge chunks of the Bible unintelligible. Why set captives free? Why free the people of Israel from Egypt? Moses ruined Pharaoh’s authority!

    Because God says so.
    Because God said, “Let my people go.”
    2a. Moses did so under God’s authority. God then demonstrates His authority to Pharaoh by humiliating all of Egypt’s gods.

    The following part of the Bible is all about God disciplining his people so they accept His authority.

    No idea how this relates to Zippy’s concepts, but if he was thorough it should have made space for God to to pull rank and override any lower authorities established for man.

  24. @greenmantlehoyos

    I do see it as a political priority that the government doesn’t just seize all of my property or start dictating those things that properly belong to me.

    Yes, exactly!

    One cannot get the concept of either “property” or “properly” from the principle of “liberty”.

    The principle of liberty can get you to: “I am free to own that chair.” But Bob can also appeal to the principle of liberty to say, “I am free to take that same chair and make it mine.” As long as you both appeal to the principle of liberty the chair will just go back and forth as fast as you two can manage. Liberty cannot tell you who owns the chair, or to whom is should belong. It can only tell you possibilities.

    The principle of Authority can get you to: “I am the rightful owner of that chair because I bought it.” If Bob comes along and says, “I am free to take that chair.” you can respond with “Too bad. It’s mine by my authority, by my right” and still keep the principle of authority and the chair.

    We American’s rarely fall to such insanity about chair ownership, but we have fallen to such depths about more important religion, time, and work. That’s why Christian bakers and florists are forced to part with all three for the sake of “the freedom” of sodomites.

  25. @Cane, yes, that’s why I love the works of Erik von Kuehnelt Leddihn, especially in his novel Black Flags, where he shows the integration of the concepts of freedom and authority. You have to have both. A big part of freedom is determining who has authority over what. There is no freedom in practice without it. I just bristle at the overreaction to other side. I’m not going to obey men when they exceed their authority. But yes, that’s exactly right, that is my view as well.

    I have often thought it significant that the only two figures from English folklore that most Americans can name (even though it’s our source culture) are King Arthur and Robin Hood, the King and the Outlaw, authority and freedom.

  26. A big part of freedom is not determining who has authority over what. A big part of the common good is, however. But defining authority is the literal opposite of freedom.

    What you are doing is incredibly common, so common I am sure it is an honest error, but an error nevertheless. Nothing you said actually has anything to do with freedom, but you are so intent on keeping it you shoehorn it in there wherever you can fit it.

  27. It doesn’t “sound like a massive equivocation”. It “sounds like” I failed to argue on the script you were expecting and you don’t have a leg to stand on.

    It’s just the usual motte and bailey. Freedom simply means the capacity to do something, often implicitly delimited to ‘wherein what people wish to choose corresponds to what they are actually able to choose’.

    That’s not objectionable or difficult to understand at all. The common response is motte and bailey/equivocation, with some other definition of freedom as you did to dismiss the critique of prioritising liberty.

    The problem is that the word ‘freedom’ comes with too many positive emotional resonances, so it’s hard for people to admit that many freedoms are bad. It’s pretty clear what Zippy meant by freedom, but for some reason or other you have to insert your own definition in and claim that Zippy is saying that your ‘freedom’ is bad.

    This may not be equivocation, I’m willing to admit, it may just be your inability to refrain from shoehorning your definition in.

  28. And freedom isn’t a virtue. Some freedoms are good, some freedoms are bad. If you want to respond to this, don’t shoehorn your definition into it.

  29. malcolm:

    The statue of liberty is not responsible for abortion

    Idols are lifeless and don’t do anything. But they are venerated, and one of the ways Libertas is venerated happens when moderates say that ‘abortion is wrong, but the woman should be allowed to choose’. Choice is all-important.

  30. Libertas the green idol may not directly demand human sacrifice. But it was erected after Libertas the sacred tree was planted. As Thomas Jefferson said:

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

  31. It looks like we are heading into some sort of authoritarianism whether from the Left or the Right. Since the Right says “That is not who we are” they are yielding the playing field to the Left. Like it or not, the Right has to become more authoritarian or go home. But the question then becomes: how does the Right distinguish itself from the Left? That’s easy: the authoritarianism of the Left champions the parasites, the non-producers, the slackers. The Right must champion the producers, the tax payers, the hard workers. We are getting authoritarianism whether we like it or not. Maybe we can affect the course it takes.

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