I decided to write a little while being snowed in today. For you sensitive and easily offended people, it is a safe article to read, but keep in mind, this article is for conversation, so calm down, be a little tolerant and accepting please! …. 😉
After reading books like The Fourth Turning, by William Strauss and Neil Howe, books on the hippie generation and books and articles of the events that have taken place during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, I am convinced that the events taking place today are not all that complicated to understand.
This generation has the strong marks and characteristics of the hippy generation. Since we live in a very individualistic society, history, tradition and culture are not very important. It really is about the “me” culture. (Good book is “Generation Me, Why today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled and More Miserable Than Ever Before,” by Jean M. Twenge)
Hippies were against a certain authority that expected unity, accountability, and conformity. The hippies confessed that we are all equal, that is to say, “equality without distinction.” Not only did it advance the use of such expressions as “You should not judge,” and “You respect my opinion and I will respect yours,” for fear of criticism, lack of acceptance or being judged but also propagated an idea that there was no distinction between a man and a woman and all authority was, almost, well, evil, subversive or oppressive. Thus it cultivated a sexually free culture, where the institution of marriage itself was minimized and sexual satisfaction and gratification became the norm. The degradation of human life became even more pronounced when this society legalized the murder of the unborn children. Thus we witnessed a growing loss of the institution of marriage and the family and thus morals. All these things were compromised in the name of what? Equality, equal rights?
When the moral fabric of the smallest unit of society (family) begins to fall apart, we should expect chaos, violence, and the loss of dignity of human life. History is my witness. (my Facebook post 12.15.2012)
One can read such good books as De la démocratie en Amérique, by Alexis de Tocqueville (good English translations is called, “Democracy in America” which was written in two volumes, the first in 1835 and the second in 1840) where he warns us that the fall of American democracy is when the majority rules the minority (namely the majority takes the minor groups freedoms away by laws, et al) and where there is a decline of the moral fabric of the American society.
Society has two fundamental concerns in its existence:
1. A stable economy (not only financially but a stable society with good order and ethics)
2. A future population (Pro-life, pro-children, thus pro-marriage and family)
History does not appear to be too important to this generation. I wonder if this society is aware of what happened to other societies that had moved in this direction. As Marcus Tullius Cicero said, “Not to know what happened before you were born is to remain forever a child.” That is to say, not to know your history, you are simply subject to the whims and language of your present society and you are like the “frog in the pot.” This is not fundamentally a religious issue today as some believe but a secular one that impacts my religious freedom.
Classically, a healthy understanding of authority was to preserve unity within society. Again, a classical notion of equality was that everyone had equal value and worth with dignity and respect to the sanctity of life. But this equality was not, unlike the hippie notion, to take away distinction between persons (those who had authority and those who did not) and gender. Again, classically speaking, those who bore authority were seen to hold a position of servitude otherwise it became abusive in some way to those of whom he or she leads.
What I think is ironic is when these liberals in our culture think they are preserving or striving towards freedom and equality (two very different words by the way) by imposing and creating laws upon society. Soon these laws would interfere with the freedoms promised by the Constitution; that is, free speech and freedom of one’s philosophy or religion.
I read a book called, “The Constitutional Thought of Thomas Jefferson,” by David N. Mayer. I had a conversation with someone who held the position that it was important to make laws or ordinances to support or protect his liberal agenda. I pointed out that his argument would some day infringe upon his own freedoms and interest as it would inhibit the freedom of speech and influence within a society; by making either a civil ordinance or law that protects only his personal interest, one limits our constitutional freedom of speech and opportunities of influence and controls my language and how I am allowed to speak.
I worked with a public high school principal while I was a pastor at my first church. He told me when a student comes to him who felt verbally abused, no matter how credible it was or not, he had to fill out seven pages of reports and then have interviews with the perspective people involved. In 1984 I read the novel, “1984” by George Orwell. For those who read this book get my point. Will the movements in our day going to result in a “negative utopia”? Just because we make a law does not mean we have solved anything. Perhaps Plato was right in his Socratic dialog, the Republic, that the answer to societal problems is education and teaching virtue and values, and in this case, not by making laws.
Thomas Jefferson supported the freedom of organizations or institutions (including businesses) to influence a certain moral within society and not legislate morality by law otherwise it might interfere with one’s individual philosophical or religious freedom. Law was to preserve order within society and preserve the maximum freedom to the individual as long as it did not work against a good order within society.
I think it is important for me to mention that I agree with the hippies on some issues, there was no doubt abuse of authority in some arenas and there was a loss of dignity of human beings in certain aspects of their society during their day. I really enjoyed growing up in the 60’s and 70’s! There was structure within society, namely the traditional family, but at the same time a growing sense of freedom and a relaxed environment.
I think it is interesting that in a supposed tolerant society is not very tolerant to people’s convictions or beliefs unless we conform to their own principles and propositions. Also, in a very liberal society I think it is interesting how private people have become. No more open conversations because one is always worried using the wrong word, about offense or being judged, yes, it is about me, truth remains subjective, and the conversation ends and the conformity to the liberal agenda is expected. Perhaps the real hippies of the 60’s and 70’s need to be called upon again in our day in the same spirit but perhaps with a different message.
– Just some thoughts