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Tom Scotus

Cultural Decline Rooted In 1960s Revolution

Culture ClubI’m old enough to remember the 1960s cultural revolution. Actually, it only really got going by the mid-sixties and petered out by about 1973. It was part of a historical process that began with the Enlightenment. It promoted secularism, feminism, socialism, egalitarianism, pluralism, naturalism, liberalism, non-traditional family arrangements and sexual permissiveness – all characteristics of our present culture.

The “social consciousness” of the sixties revolution, perhaps its only redeeming quality, aped the love-thy-neighbor principle of Christianity and was reflected in popular songs of the period such as “All You Need is Love,” “Peace Train,” “Lean on Me,” “Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “You’ve Got a Friend.” However, that altruism has now been largely eclipsed by naked hedonism, materialism and egoism.

The sixties revolution was based on the belief that humanity, apart from God, could build an earthly utopia using reason, public education, government action and grass-roots activism. Therefore, it shared much with Marxism. However, like the Communist experiments in Russia, Eastern Europe and China, it had a soul-destroying effect on Western nations. It eroded the people’s faith in noble concepts such as duty, sacrifice, purity, faithfulness, selflessness, commitment and diligence.

Indeed, since the sixties there has been a gradual dramatic decline in cultural achievements. What written over the past 30 years or so compares with Gone With the Wind, The Grapes of Wrath, War and Peace or The Wizard of Oz? Even recent popular music pales in comparison to what was created decades ago. Where, in this generation, are the great artists, architects, composers or poets? You will still find talented people in these fields, but no cultural giants.

During a recent episode of American Idol, one of the contestants sang I Say a Little Prayer:

The moment I wake up
Before I put on my makeup
I say a little prayer for you
While combing my hair, now,
And wondering what dress to wear, now,
I say a little prayer for you

Forever, forever, you'll stay in my heart
And I will love you
Forever, forever, we never will part
Oh, how I'll love you…

This song, written by Burt Bacharach and David Hal in the late 1960s, was not a religious song, strictly speaking. However, it was a huge hit partly because the mainstream culture, although under assault in the 1960s, was still heavily influenced by its rich religious heritage. Can you imagine anyone today writing and recording this kind of a song to be played on mainstream radio? I can’t. It’s too “goody-goody” for our more “progressive” modern culture. For the same reason, we don’t see many movies like Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music and Love Story being created today. According to Hollywood insiders, who I’ve had the privilege of speaking with on this very issue, “nice” movies don’t make much money for the industry. What does that say about our culture?

The sixties social upheaval was a major part of an ongoing ideological revolution that is gradually destroying our once great civilization. Please “say a little prayer” often, that God will intervene and restore sanity.