Were the late 60's/70's more liberal than today?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by ital8, Jan 26, 2007.

  1. ital8

    ital8 New Member

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    I was just downloading some songs from the late 60's/70's. Granted I didn't grow up during those two decades, I just came to wondering, considering how diverse and experimental the music was back then that, that time period was possibly more liberal in attitude than today. Think about how explosive the 60's culture was from say '64-'69 in so many areas (fashion, attitudes towards sex, drugs, music). There were so many movements, too. Sexual revolution, women's lib., civil rights, etc. A lot of these attitudes seeped into the movies and TV (The Graduate, Easy Riders to name a few) and eventually worked its way into the mainstream audience by the seventies. It sort of seems that today certain attitudes just lay stagnant and aren't challenged or questioned as they were back then. It's kind of hard to put into words, but it seems like the late 60's/ early 70's were more progessive in just about every aspect of life. I think that era was the most pivotal time of the 20th century and broke the mold of the cookie-cutter world of the 50's and early 60's. But when the 80's arrived it appeared that the pendulum swung the other way. Anyone who grew up during that era agree?
     
  2. mindseye

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    Physicists (hold on, this'll be relevant soon!) distinguish between a particle's postition and its velocity. I'd say that the velocity at which the 60's progressed was greater than today's velocity, and I think television had a lot to do with that: seeing events from other parts of the world helped Americans think more globally, and they became more aware of different cultures and behavioral norms and "grew up" more quickly.

    But were they more liberal than today? Nope. Women lacked the right to choose in many states, homosexuality was punishable by law in every state. Despite being more than a decade after Brown, there were still public school systems which hadn't desegregated yet. Long hair and bell-bottoms may have been in fashion, but people who chose permanent alterations like tattoos and piercings was still socially shunned. The Hays Code wasn't abandoned until 1967, and it still had lasting effects on movie content. It was more difficult to come out as an atheist or a vegetarian, let alone a transgendered individual.

    We're more liberal than we were in the 1960's, but we're not making progress as quickly as we were then.
     
  3. mindseye

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    ...a followup:

    One place where we've taken a huge step backwards is on economic equality. In the 60's, men earned more than women; today, the gap is closing at entry level jobs, but because CEOs and other executives with stratospheric incomes are overwhelmingly male, the gap between the elite and the middle class is growing, as is the gap between the wealthiest men and the wealthiest women.
     
  4. Love-it

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    We were more liberal than our parents generation, who were more liberal than their parents and to me anyway the younger generations are more liberal than we were/are.
     
  5. dags

    dags New Member

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    Mindseye seems to know what he's talking about. You mentioned the movements that were going on back then, which I've been talking about with friends lately. I personally think if people came together here in the U.S and rallied and protested on the big issues of the day maybe our polaticians and government would take notice. The media coverage we have today...I dont know. Just me thinking out loud.
    I dont think we are making as much progress either.
     
  6. Wrat

    Wrat New Member

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    As mentioned above, in the middle, between the eas
    Thinking about the attitudes i encountered in the 60s and 70s, I would say no. There was definately not a more liberal slant to attitudes back then. I would say that life on or near college campuses and large population centers might have been changing pretty fast, and as mentioned above that was the first generation to be caught on television protesting an unpopular war.
    This is a big subject and covers ground from the way people behave on television to how much more energetic people tend to be when they are not weaned on computers. There was still a large portion of the country that may not have even noticed the 60s come and go if it weren't for the war.
     
  7. ital8

    ital8 New Member

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    That actually makes a lot of sense. I guess where I am coming from, not having experienced that era, I saw it all in a snapshot. So the changes appeared much more rapidly than having gone through it at a more gradual pace. But although there was rapid change I guess the extent of that change wasn't as extreme or liberal as today. I had no idea about the Hays Code. I looked it up and now I know why there was such a drastic change in what movies showed from pre-67 to post 67 in just a few short years. Also, weren't the Stonewall Riots in '69 the beginning of legalizing gay bars? If I'm not mistaken the first gay/lesbian parade in NYC was in '70? I'm wasn't too sure on what you meant by women not having the right to choose, though.
     
  8. B_big dirigible

    B_big dirigible New Member

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    Oh, I remember the era well - in fact better than most of my contemporaries, who went through it all in a drug-induced fog. It was indeed more liberal than today, but it was a shallow, noisy, and anti-intellectual liberalism, not at all like the liberalism of earlier eras. One could argue that it lead directly to the egocentric politics of today, and the idea that "concern" and activism are adequate substitutes for knowledge and understanding. Some of the anthropological and economic notions of the late 60s have been causing misery up to the present day. If the mid-70s and on had been as liberal or radical as the mid-60s to mid-70s, then we would have abandoned some of those peculiar ideas by now. This is why I consider modern liberalism to be reactionary, and not liberal at all - we're all still mired in a mid-60s time warp, with ideas formed when the highest personal ideal was to "turn on, tune in, and drop out" - hardly a formula for serious engagement with the persistent problems of history.
     
  9. ital8

    ital8 New Member

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  10. Shelby

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    People were more skeptical about using abortion as birth control and men screwing each other in the ass.

    So probably no.
     
  11. JustAsking

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    These were two very profound posts. Having participated in the 60s, I can say that it felt like we were changing the world in every aspect of life almost overnight. Whether we were or not, it seemed that way. To us it truly felt like a revolution. And this revolution had the best background music ever. The idea was that everything needed to be challenged and nothing was sacred (except the "self").

    Yes, the velocity/position analogy is accurate. Having participated in the "60s" myself, and not in a drug induced haze, I can say that the "position", as you say, or the relative liberalness of the society and laws of the times were not very high. But the "velocity", or the rate at which we wanted things changed, was extremely high and came about virtually overnight (or it seemed to).

    The civil rights movement is a good example. "Position" in the 60s: rampant discrimination. "Velocity" in the 60s: Massive protests, civil disobedience, violence. All of this did give way to subsequent changes in the law and attitudes.

    big-d, Yes indeed. The 60s was the beginning of "me-ism", for sure. The worst aspect of what transpired was the major turn towards a kind of focus on self and rampant self-indulgence. The "me decade" of the 80s is truly a child of the 60s.

    On the other hand, I think this is just a societal maturation process. I think the self-absorbed aspect of the 60s consciousness raising will eventually "grow up" and become other-focused. The boomers tend to be selfish anyway, since they feel they define their own reality and they feel "entitled". I am hoping that subsequent generations who will have to deal with new global hardships (that the boomers are mostly ignoring), will keep the social consciousness aspect of the 60s and generate a new global sense of compassion.
     
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