On what rot the 1960s wreaked upon today (emphasis mine):
“Only a few periods in American history,” the New York Times intoned in an editorial called “In Praise of the Counterculture”:
… have seen such a rich fulfillment of the informing ideals of personal freedom and creativity that lie at the heart of the American intellectual tradition. … The 60’s spawned a new morality-based politics that emphasized the individual’s responsibility to speak out against injustice and corruption.
A “new morality-based politics,” eh? It seems so long ago, shrouded in a Day-Glo glaze of grateful recollection. But when it comes to the Sixties, and especially the fulcrum year of 1968, Time magazine is right: “50 Years After 1968, We Are Still Living In Its Shadow.” Indeed, paroxysms of the 1960s, which trembled with gathering force through North America and Western Europe from the mid-1950s through the early 1970s, continue to reverberate throughout our culture. The Age of Aquarius did not end when the last electric guitar was unplugged at Woodstock. It lives on in our values and habits, in our tastes, pleasures, and aspirations. It lives on especially in our educational and cultural institutions, and in the degraded pop culture that permeates our lives like a corrosive fog.
Even now it is difficult to gauge the extent of that transformation. Looking back over his long and distinguished career in an essay called “A Life of Learning,” the philosopher Paul Oskar Kristeller sounded a melancholy note. “We have witnessed,” he wrote, “what amounts to a cultural revolution, comparable to the one in China if not worse, and whereas the Chinese have to some extent overcome their cultural revolution, I see many signs that ours is getting worse all the time, and no indication that it will be overcome in the foreseeable future.”
In democratic societies, where free elections are guaranteed, political revolution is almost unthinkable in practical terms. Consequently, utopian efforts to transform society have been channeled into cultural and moral life. In America and Western Europe, scattered if much-publicized episodes of violence have wrought far less damage than the moral and intellectual assaults that do not destroy buildings but corrupt sensibilities and blight souls. Consequently, the success of the cultural revolution of the 1960s can be measured not in toppled governments but in shattered values. If we often forget what great changes this revolution brought in its wake, that, too, is a sign of its success: having changed ourselves, we no longer perceive the extent of our transformation.
-Roger Kimball (Roger’s Rules, PJ Media)
Behold what the New Left has wrought…
(H/T: PJ Media)