The Sixties (the 1960s) is widely celebrated by Leftists and Liberals as a decade of progress and freedom. However, it was in reality a decade that saw the origin or the worsening of some of the gravest ills to afflict modern society. Far from being the decade of 'peace and love' it was a period of left-inspired war and terror, including the escalation of the Vietnam War and the outbreak of the Cultural Revolution; the 'events' of 1968 in universities across the western world saw a minority rabble of Trotskyist and Maoist students try to impose their views on society; and the so-called social revolution of the period saw a massive upsurge in sexual immorality and the abuse of illegal drugs. Leftist and other 'trendy' educational theories began their assault upon the education of our children. As history Professor Gerard DeGroot records, "For too long the Sixties has been a sacred zone... Cast aside the rose-tinted spectacles and we see mindless mayhem, shallow commercialism and unbridled cruelty... [While the '60s brought] flowers, music, love and good times... It also brought hatred, murder, greed, dangerous drugs, needless deaths, ethnic cleansing, neo-colonialist exploitation, sound-bite politics, sensationalism, a warped sense of equality, a bizarre notion of freedom, and the end of innocence." Truly, as Margaret Thatcher noted, "We are reaping what was sown in the sixties... fashionable theories and permissive clap-trap set the scene for a society in which the old virtues of discipline and restraint were denigrated."
Assault upon religion
This might be said to be two-pronged. The Sixties saw moves away from revealed to religion amongst young people in favour of a half-baked and quarter-understood mish-mash of eastern mysticism, sexual hedonism and drug abuse of the kind peddled by The Beatles in their 'Maharishi' phase; John Lennon of The Beatles went on, in his song Imagine, to celebrate and propagandise a nihilistic and atheistic view of human life. Simultaneously, many Christian priests and ministers themselves undermined Chritianity by a variey of means: from watering down the required standards of Christian behaviour in a misguided attempt to seem 'trendy' and 'relevant', completely overlooking the relevance of Faith; to harnessing the Bible to Karl Marx, in the form of the so-called Liberation Theology which did much to inspire left-wing terrorism in Latin America.
The 'Permissive Society': licence unbridled
Chastity, restraint, and human values of decency were mocked by the 'gurus' of permissiveness. Instead, the increasing availability of artificial contraception in the form of contraceptive pills, fuelled a wave of promiscuity and the promotion and practice of all forms of perversity. Restrictions on pornography were eroded or evaded, a seminal event here being the decision of a UK court in 1963 to allow the publication of an unexpurgated version of D.H. Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover despite its overt and explicit sexual content. Legal reforms permitted or loosened restrictions on homosexuality, divorce and abortion, undermining the very fabric of family life. Feminists such as Germaine Greer launched assaults on traditional male-female relationships, while Lesbian separatists argued that women (which they spelled wimmin or womyn) and men should lead entirely seperate lives. The use of foul language and displays of nudity became a commonplace on television in many western nations, with the BBC in the van.
'Turn on, tune in, drop out'
This quotation, by 'counter-culture' guru Dr Timothy Leary, epitomises the attitude of many 1960s nostalgiacs towards illegal drugs. Drugs have been a perennial problem in societies worldwide, but in the 1960s the problem became much worse. This is because drug-taking, which was previously the covert activity of a tiny minority, perceived as immoral as well as illegal by society, suddenly became portrayed as acceptable in the media. Worse, advocates of 'permissiveness' such as Leary openly recommended the use of mind-altering drugs as a means to access a different, supposedly better, reality. Many, if not most, of these advocates had inadequate personalities which prevented them from participating fully in the richness of real life. However, their pernicious effect upon a generation of impressionable young people has been incalculable.
Drug abuse often went hand in hand with left wing politics, and the 'joint' or 'reefer' became the trademark of the 1960s student leftist plotting world revolution in his bedsit or student dorm.
Music and Literature
- The Beatles, who used drugs such as heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and LSD
- The Rolling Stones, who also used drugs and released albums with positive titles such as Their Satanic Majesties Request, influenced by psychedelic drugs
- Led Zeppelin, whose drummer, John Bonham, had a problem with alcoholism and eventually choked to death on his own vomit
- The Doors, whose singer, Jim Morrison, was arrested once for indecent exposure on stage and who eventually died from mysterious causes possibly related to alcoholism
- Jimi Hendrix, who also abused alcohol and drugs and choked to death on his own vomit
- Pink Floyd, whose first singer eventually went insane; their song "We Don't Need No Education" lamented public schooling
- Jefferson Airplane, whose song "White Rabbit" was meant as a slap toward parents who read "Alice in Wonderland" to their kids and then wondered why their kids used drugs
- Janis Joplin, who died from a massive heroin overdose
- Sergeant Barry Sadler
Successes in the Sixties
The Sixties however did have some good points. The Civil Rights Movement gained momentum during this period, which saw the end of segregation of the African Americans. The societal problems caused by the erosion of restraint inspired campaigners such as Mary Whitehouse to take a stand for decency and Christian standards. Also in 1969 the United States scored a remarkable triumph on behalf of the Free World in the Space Race, overcoming a Soviet lead earlier in the decade, with two members of the courageous crew of Apollo 11 becoming the first two humans to step on to the Moon
- Apollo 11 lands on the Moon
- Cuban Missile Crisis
- Cultural Revolution
- Prague Spring
- Vietnam War
- Assassination of John F. Kennedy
- Assassination of Martin Luther King