Share
Op-Ed

Victor Davis Hanson: We Can Defeat the Revolution & Reclaim America, But There's a Big 'If'

Share

In the 1960s and early ’70s, the U.S. was convulsed by massive protests calling for radical changes in the country’s attitudes on race, class, gender and sexual orientation. The Vietnam War and widespread college deferments were likely the fuel that ignited prior peaceful civil disobedience.

Sometimes the demonstrations became violent, as with the Watts riots of 1965 and the protests at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. Terrorists from the Weathermen (later called the Weather Underground) bombed dozens of government buildings.

The ’60s revolution introduced to the country everything from hippies, communes, free love, mass tattooing, commonplace profanity, rampant drug use, rock music and high divorce rates to the war on poverty, massive government growth, feminism, affirmative action and race/gender/ethnic college curricula.

The enemies of the ’60s counterculture were the “establishment” — politicians, corporations, the military and the “square” generation” in general.

Leftists targeted their parents, who had grown up in the Great Depression. That generation had won World War II and returned to create a booming postwar economy. After growing up with economic and military hardship, they sought a return to comfortable conformity in the 1950s.

Trending:
'Holiday Nightmare Comes True' When Man Makes Strange Discovery in a Ravine on His Property

A half-century after the earlier revolution, today’s cultural revolution is vastly different — and far more dangerous.

Government and debt have grown. Social activism is already institutionalized in hundreds of newer federal programs. The “Great Society” inaugurated a multitrillion-dollar investment in the welfare state. Divorce rates soared. The nuclear family waned. Immigration, both legal and illegal, skyrocketed.

Thus, America is far less resilient, and a far more divided, indebted and vulnerable target than it was in 1965.

Today, radicals are not protesting against 1950s conservatism but rather against the radicals of the 1960s, who as old liberals now hold power.

Do you think today's leftists radicals are worse than those of the '60s?

Now, many of the current enforcers — blue-state governors, mayors and police chiefs — are from the left. Unlike Democratic Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley in the ’60s, today’s progressive civic leaders often sympathize with the protesters.

The ’60s protests were for racial assimilation and integration to reify Martin Luther King Jr.’s agenda of making race incidental, not essential, to the American mindset. Not so with today’s cultural revolution. It seeks to ensure that racial difference is the foundation of American life, dividing the country between supposed nonwhite victims and purported white victimizers, past and present.

In the ’60s, radicals rebelled against their teachers and professors, who were often highly competent and the products of fact-based and inductive education. Not so in 2020. Today’s radicals were taught not by traditionalists but by less-educated older radicals.

Another chief difference is debt. Most public education in the 1960s was bare-bones and relatively inexpensive. Because there were no plush dorms, latte bars, rock-climbing walls, diversity coordinators and provosts of inclusion, college tuition in real dollars was far cheaper.

The result was that 1960s student radicals graduated without much debt and for all their hipness could enter a booming economy with marketable skills. Today’s angry graduates owe a collective $1.6 trillion in student loan debt — much of it borrowed for mediocre, therapeutic and politicized training that does not impress employers.

Related:
The Establishment Is Making a Fool's Bargain with the Violent Mob

College debt impedes maturity, marriage, child-raising, homeownership and the saving of money. In other words, today’s radical is far more desperate and angry that his college gambit never paid off.

Today’s divide is also geographical in the fashion of 1861, not just generational as in the 1960s. The two blue coasts seem to despise the vast red interior, and vice versa.

Yet the scariest trait of the current revolution is that many of its sympathizers haven’t changed much since the 1960s. They may be rich, powerful, influential and older, but they are just as reckless and see the current chaos as the final victory in their own long march from the ’60s.

Corporations are no longer seen as evil but as woke contributors to the revolution. The military is no longer smeared as warmongering but praised as a government employment service where race, class and gender agendas can be green-lighted without messy legislative debate. Unlike the 1960s, there are essentially no conservatives in Hollywood, on campuses or in government bureaucracies.

So the war no longer pits radicals against conservatives but often socialists and anarchists against both liberals and conservatives.

In the ’60s, a huge “silent majority” finally had enough, elected Richard Nixon and slowed down the revolution by jailing its criminals, absorbing and moderating it. Today, if there is a silent mass of traditionalists and conservatives, they remain in hiding.

If they stay quiet in their veritable mental monasteries and deplore the violence in silence, the revolution will steamroll on. But as in the past, if they finally snap, decide enough is enough and reclaim their country, then even this cultural revolution will sputter out, too.

© 2020 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
, , , , ,
Share

Conversation

Notice: Due to threatened de-monetization, we have temporarily removed commenting while we build a long-term commenting solution that allows you to voice your opinion freely and allows us to continue to publish the news fearlessly and cover topics that you care about. If you would like to personally partner with The Western Journal to help us continue publishing while under relentless assault by Big Tech, please visit our subscription page here. We encourage you to share this article and discuss with your friends.