Right On: From free love to free money, our country went to pot in the 1960s

Composite stock image, St. George News

OPINION — Sex, drugs and rock and roll.

For those who remember the 1960s, those words encapsulate the dramatic changes in societal values that occurred during the latter half of that tumultuous decade. Many of today’s most vexing problems have their roots in that era.

In the 20 years following World War II, traditional values were widely accepted by all segments of society. An opinion column in the Philadelphia Inquirer summed them up:

Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime.

Not everyone embraced these values, but those who didn’t stayed in the shadows to avoid being ostracized by society at large.

If only that were true today.

Society then was far from perfect. Female roles were limited. Southern Jim Crow politics and pockets of racism elsewhere betrayed our founding principles. Nonetheless, dramatic progress was being made by African-Americans as described by the Wall Street Journal’s black columnist, Jason Riley.

Riley notes that black labor participation rates during the post-war era were higher than whites. Black incomes grew faster than whites, and the number of blacks in middle class professions quadrupled. The legacy of slavery, a frequent liberal touchstone today, was not stifling black progress then.

The bipartisan Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 swept away Jim Crow laws and paved the way for today’s large number of black elected officials in the South. Martin Luther King and like-minded civil rights leaders asked not to be judged by the color of their skin.

But these laws, intended to produce equality of opportunity, failed to produce equality of results in short order. Liberal politicians discovered that pandering to African-Americans was an electoral winner. Tell blacks they were being oppressed by Republicans and that only Democrats could help them.

Thus began Democratic identity politics, putting everyone in a demographic box, initially sorted by race but to which ethnicity, gender and eventually sexual orientation would be added.

Equally unfortunate, the other great federal initiative of the 1960s, President Johnson’s war on poverty, unleashed a number of controversial programs with a mixed record of success. Each of these programs has been debated at length: Medicare, Medicaid, expanded Social Security benefits, food stamps, the Job Corps, Head Start and others all started in the 1960s.

All were launched with high-minded intent, but most have either failed to accomplish their stated goals or have proven to be fiscally irresponsible. Several of these programs will bankrupt the country if their costs and benefits are not dramatically reduced.

I find it fascinating that Johnson’s goal of “eliminating poverty” instead halted the dramatic progress that had been made in the preceding 20 years. How could this be?

Many observers believe that Johnson’s social safety net instead undermined work and self-responsibility, replacing them with an attitude that government was there to provide for every need.

Excessively generous unemployment benefits made work optional for those satisfied with a minimal standard of living. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children – commonly abbreviated WIC – undermined the need for fathers in the home. The list goes on.

To these economic disincentives, add the social and moral upheaval characterized by the pill, LSD and the Beatles.

Birth control pills fostered a sex-without-commitment culture leading to today’s “hook ups” on college campuses. Increasing acceptance of abortion for those who forgot to take their pill has contributed to promiscuity and the steady erosion of traditional values in the guise of “women’s health.”

Drugs became fashionable among the young in the 1960s with psychedelic Timothy Leary’s famous LSD mantra, “turn on, tune in and drop out.” Marijuana began its climb to social acceptability as public figures acknowledged using it. Bill Clinton says he didn’t inhale while California Governor Jerry Brown apparently never exhaled.

Hollywood’s offerings started down their increasingly dark road glamorizing sexuality and drug use while dissing fatherhood, patriotism and love of country. It’s ironic that the same folks who applauded “realism” in movies and television are now the ones complaining about the exploitation of women.

The Beatles moved from the innocent “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to their well-publicized immersion in the drug culture, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Millions of young people followed.

Cocaine and its lethal variant, crack, were next. Now we have heroin and opioid epidemics. We’ve led ourselves down the primrose path of drug use.

I have no illusion that the traditional values dominant in the 1950s can be restored intact in today’s culture. But there are significant segments of society where they hold sway. Among these segments – spread across all levels of education and affluence – there is little drug addiction, minimal poverty and few homicides.

The 1950s values in the column above were demeaned and ridiculed by journalists, academics, and Hollywood. A certain well-known politician even called people with these values “deplorables.”

Until these very visible opinion leaders recognize where their misguided values have led the country, large segments of our society will continue on the path to economic dependence, social disintegration and moral depravity.

Howard Sierer is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: hsierer@stgeorgeutah.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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66 Comments

  • bikeandfish July 12, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Make no mistake old white men like Howard want our country to go back to the 50s. They rarely say it as honestly as Howard though.

    Mentioning the abhorance of the “Pill” is becoming increasingly common amongst his aging demographic. They never accepted the fact that woman should control their own bodies.

    Old white men have been afraid for decades of their waning dominance in American society. They’ll clutch and claw to maintain it any cost.

    • Pauly D wanna cracker July 12, 2018 at 4:48 pm

      B&F our resident socialist liberal. Do you and Paul, I mean, comment share his parents basement?

      • bikeandfish July 12, 2018 at 5:17 pm

        Cute. And what socialist policy have I advocated for? Would love to know so I can make sure I vote my values properly this autumn.

      • John July 12, 2018 at 5:26 pm

        Nailed it Pauly ! If b&f had half a brain she would be “comments”!

        • Pauly D wanna cracker July 12, 2018 at 6:02 pm

          Maybe “it” is…

          • John July 12, 2018 at 6:34 pm

            Maybe “it’s” name should be boyandfemale?

        • bikeandfish July 12, 2018 at 7:08 pm

          Keep grasping straws you two. The more of these fake little accounts there are the less relevant the already tired and ineffective attempts at trolling become.

          All insults and no substance as always.

          • John July 12, 2018 at 8:03 pm

            We know you never have any substance, and there are no fake accounts that you are speaking of, the only one was jailturd and he got banned, but your’e still a pompous insignificant liberal blowhard and people are catching on to your fecklessness and calling your irrelevant little “know it all” BS what it is.. Liberal BS !

          • Pauly D wanna cracker July 12, 2018 at 8:36 pm

            And you provide substance…. hahahaha… I think not. At least we provide entertainment. Go put some cream on your hemorrhoids and stop wasting people’s time.

          • bikeandfish July 12, 2018 at 8:50 pm

            Oh, John. I’m glad you learned a new word and your first multisyllabic one at that, but you clearly don’t understand its meaning.

            Best of luck failed troll. For a year I’ve provided evidence against your persistent ignorance. I’ll keep doing the same as a local for years to come. It really doesn’t take much time given your total incompetence.

          • John July 12, 2018 at 9:30 pm

            You are the expert on total incompetence boyandfemale. Never have you provided a valid argument or a coherent fact thet has anything to do with the subject at hand. All you ever do is talk down to people if they are not a misinformed liberal like you are. You are a pompous insignificant illiterate blowhard and we all know you hate yourself, we love to laugh at you. Life must suck for you not knowing what bathroom to use !

          • bikeandfish July 12, 2018 at 10:27 pm

            You serve up your own bigotry and ignorance on a silver platter in every comment.

            I’m not sure you understand the definition of illiterate, John.

          • John July 13, 2018 at 12:43 am

            Oh, but I do! Illiterate = bikeandfish! No bigotry, just a fact! The only ignorance around here is presented in your long winded, rambling, off subject and left wing fictional comments. Nobody buys the crap your’e selling! Hopefully you will be able to settle on what bathroom you belong in and finally relieve yourself of all that excess pressure in your big head!

    • desertgirl July 13, 2018 at 7:27 am

      Yep, women should control their own bodies. Actually practice birth control and not use abortion as a method as many do. Having received an education in and worked in the medical community, I have seen far to many women have abortion after abortion. Fact. Aborting human life after eight weeks is barbaric. As a woman, I like men be they white, black, brown or yellow. The hatred borne and bred by the fake feminists and the weak men they have brought to their knees has not made the country much less the world a better place. Another tool of the totalitarian globalists. You definitely are one of their sheep and, yep, Nazi like haters.

      • Pauly D wanna cracker July 13, 2018 at 8:08 am

        Yes! Why don’t the libs get it!

        • John July 13, 2018 at 9:25 am

          Because the libs are failed control freaks and they have an innate drive to tell everyone else how to live their lives. They don’t see how they could possibly be wrong! Way too much of that progressive kool-aid and they have been chasing the MSM carrot so long they cannot function rationally anymore! They just become outraged over whatever the media tells them to be outraged about, funny but sad.. not much we can do about it.. laugh at them is about all we can do!

          • bikeandfish July 13, 2018 at 12:20 pm

            Oh, the irony keeps pouring on. Howard is the only one making claims of how we should live our own lives, ie adhere to 1950s culture.

    • statusquo July 13, 2018 at 8:05 am

      Bike says “old white men” are bad. Not a lot different from saying “young black men are bad”. Who is racist here?

      • bikeandfish July 13, 2018 at 9:32 am

        Never said old white men are bad. Highlighting the way a large portion of that demographic is behaving as American culture and demographics change doesn’t make the inherently good or bad. And its not racist because its not about their general value compared to other races, as thats a fallacious approach in general.

        But critiquing writing like this by old, religious white men like Howard is accurate because it exposes their faux conservatism. They crave the power and means to force others to live their own social values. They want to, and are currently trying to, limit women’s autonomy, because they never fully valued women beyond their Bible’s misogyny. They rely on misreadings of history and civil rights leaders to perpetuate structural discrimination.

        This was always the political goal of “Make America Great Again”: a white, male, Christian dominated America from a whitewashed view of the 50s. Its not remotely trying to disguise its sexism and racism as American culture was inherently tied to those values then. And they are using their waning power to strip anyone that doesn’t fit into their narrow mold of basic rights (voting) and liberty (family, work, etc) while they can.

        • John July 13, 2018 at 9:49 am

          Yes, you did in your first comment you self contradicting fool.. “Old white men have been afraid for decades of their waning dominance in American society. They’ll clutch and claw to maintain it any cost.” Go pop that Zit between your ears!

      • bikeandfish July 13, 2018 at 10:21 am

        John, were did I say white men are “bad”? Show me that direct quote.

        Sorry if you lack reading comprehension, John. If you can’t read from the opening statement “old white men like Howard want our country to go back to the 50s” to “they never accepted the fact that women should be able to control their own bodies” as the reference again “to old white men” then that is about your own inability to read context. Next time I’ll make it simpler for you, given your sexism and homophobia fits the description perfectly, and eithrr constantly repeat the exact phrasing “old white men like John”.

        • bikeandfish July 13, 2018 at 10:22 am

          I will try to add “these old white men” next time since people won’t read the context of the full comment.

        • John July 13, 2018 at 10:37 am

          I did… you are a propaganda controlled puppet who can only spout the latest imaginary problems facing the basement dwellers like yourself daily. Your problem is nobody need your misinformed self to tell us what’s right or wrong by your progressive / socialist / lgbtwxyz standards..shove it, lefty! NO SPECIAL RIGHTS for anybody.. WE all have the same rights guaranteed in the BILL OF RIGHTS.. NO SPECIAL TREATMENT you self important noisy twit!

          • bikeandfish July 13, 2018 at 11:36 am

            A little triggered, snowflake?

          • John July 13, 2018 at 11:57 am

            I’m not triggered, just pointing out the FACT that you are one misinformed pompous blowhard, You are the laughing stock of St George News.. and you keep coming back for more.. Go spout your progressive fake BS to somebody who might believe you.. But your only ally is now banned. hahahahahahahaha! Aren’t you a little old for training wheels?

      • bikeandfish July 13, 2018 at 10:35 am

        In rereading my first comment, it would have better suited my point to say “these old white men”.

        Too many people here take ideas out of context for me not to be more careful with that wording. John and his ilk will always cherry pick and exploit those subtle grammatical choices.

        Nonetheless, its absurd to claim racism when taken in the context of this article and with the full first comment. John knows this and also know that I have explained a difference between critiquing the behavior versus condemning the entirety of a person as good or bad multiple times. He relies on bad faith cherry picking in everything he does. But I made that job easier for him with a simple grammatical mistake. So it goes.

  • Paulley wanna cracker July 12, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    Well said Howard! Great article!

  • No Filter July 12, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    Do you want to live in a neighborhood where all houses look the same and you have no personal identity? Do you want your wife to stay home to cook and clean all day? Do you like to come home and put your feet up to watch Fox News? How about zero crime and no loud music except on Sunday at church? Then leave your current home and come on over to H. Sierer Estates. We live like we are in the 50’s, so we can continue to oppress anyone who is not white and christian.

    Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, LGBTQ, and Liberals need not apply.

    • Pauly D wanna cracker July 12, 2018 at 5:11 pm

      Sounds wonderful! Much better than the Soddom and Gomorrah you prefer. Paul… he prefers the darker side of the page and the fence.

      • John July 12, 2018 at 6:43 pm

        Clogged filter has a mancrush on Trump and blames his failed existence on Fox news.. he’s just a clueless PUTZ!

    • desertgirl July 13, 2018 at 7:29 am

      Wow, No Filter, you have it backwards. The lefts love of a controlling large government is what initiates all the things you mentioned and more. Geez, your brain-washing is complete as you can’t see the forest for the trees. Watching to much CNN and NBC networks? Yep.

      • Pauly D wanna cracker July 13, 2018 at 8:08 am

        I think I’m in love… 🙂

  • Kilroywashere July 12, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    A line from one of my songs. Ode To Ball Rd.
    “Shed happy tears in coming years”
    “Old angry white men will be gone”
    “For change is strange and can rearrange”
    “The melting pot at dawn”

    As an OG deplorable I can honestly say a culture from 60-70 years ago does not relate to me. Conservative ideas, yes. The truth is the opiod epidemic came from naive doctors and the pharmaceutical industries marketing tactics. The Cocaine epidemic came from funding covert operations in Central & South America. They landed the planes in Arkansas where then Governor Clinton looked the other way. So lets not be so naive. Now Meth Amphetamine is a homegrown product but nowadays due to difficulties getting the chemicals in the USA in bulk, it is mass produced in Mexico. Although small labs are here or there. You missed that drug altogether. But we have a new MUCH MORE POWERFUL drug now. One that crosses all social strata and income levels. It is the black mirror, i.e black screen. And it programs you wherever you go, and triggers endomorphine using advanced algorithms built into social media platforms. It is responsible for the highest suicide rates in history amongst teenagers and middle aged white guys. It also has changed human social interaction. Loneliness is at an all time high in this country, and we have made the left brain king over the right brain. WORDS matter now. Newer generations struggle talking over the phone vs. texting. The late 60s may not have been that bad after all, because what is happening now is changing humanity. Homo cyborg seems to be in our future. Sexbots too! Lol.

  • RadRabbit July 12, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    Great article as usual!

  • desertgirl July 13, 2018 at 7:21 am

    Could not agree more. My generation was the first to have massive numbers brain-washed by the leftist professors and media. Unfortunately, the beat goes on.

  • Lefty July 13, 2018 at 9:06 am

    Onward, culture warriors.

  • bikeandfish July 13, 2018 at 9:52 am

    The true social warriors have always, ironically, been conservatives who use their privilege to deny American citizens of basic liberties:

    Legalize discrimination in adoption:
    https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2018/07/rule-making-legal-ban-gays-lesbians-adopting-passes-house-committee/

    Racial Discrimination in Voting Law:
    https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/05/15/528457693/supreme-court-declines-republican-bid-to-revive-north-carolina-voter-id-law

    Just two recent examples of this pervasive social warrior mentality. One side has tried to strip the full American experience of franchise and liberty out of the hands of women and minorities for ages while one side tries to protect. All the while these “conservatives” attack those diligently protecting the civil rights of the marginalized with supposed insults like “identity politics” and “social justice warriors”. These “conservatives” are the true “snowflakes” as they fight tooth and nail to retain every little bit of unearned privilege to maintain a type of dominance that has always been used to oppress others.

    Sorry, Howard, but we aren’t going back to the culture of the 50s. Women are liberated and will remain so. Minorities and women are slowly claiming equal access across the spectrum of the American experience. We aren’t going backwards to live in your fairytale world.

    • John July 13, 2018 at 10:18 am

      Just more leftarded propaganda.. go suck eggs boyandfemale.. give it up! NPR is not a reliable news source and the other is totally laughable..!

      • bikeandfish July 13, 2018 at 10:42 am

        John, the sources are both valid and backed up by other news releases. You are dishonest and duplicitous as always. You know these laws and rulings are accurate. I can’t say if you support such law but your homophobic insults hint at such a predilection. You don’t even exhibit the courage of NickDanger and LBA to just publicly own the truth of your personal values. You hide behind petty insults and ineffective trolling like the true coward you are.

        • John July 13, 2018 at 11:44 am

          BS boyandfemale, the points made mean absolutely nothing, they are invalidated by THE CONSTITUTION whether they are real or fake. ALL PEOPLE have the same protections under The Constitution. You and your sorry self are not really afraid Kavanaugh, you people are afraid of The Constitution! Three branches of government..and the Supreme Court does not legislate.look up who can legally write laws… a fact you libtards refuse to acknowledge. Stuff it.. just because you get your news delivered with a british accent does not make it valid blowhard! and that Lgbtqzvd site is pure propaganda.. go relieve some of that pent up progressive pressure in your big indoctrinated head!

          • bikeandfish July 13, 2018 at 12:29 pm

            WTF does your comment even mean? Your ideas are even less coherent when you are triggered, John.

            Why did you randomly bring in the myth that the SCOTUS legislates?

            If all people have the same protections under the Constitution then why did we need so many amendments over time? Why did we need to legislate the Civil Rights Act?

            And yes, the SCOTUS ruled the NC law unconstitutional. But it was conservatives who made the original law that tried to disenfranchise voters, largely people of color, in the first place.

            And no, the Constitution does not currently protect LGBTQi people equally. Homophobic men like you have successfully stripped LGBTQi citizens of basic liberties for ages and we are only slowly seeing equal protection cases succeed. But going back to the 50s like Howard advocated means undoing the limited successes to protect women, people of color and LQBTQi people. As a diehard Trump fan you already know that and seem completely comfortable with his authoritarian behavior and goals in that regard.

    • Pauly D wanna cracker July 13, 2018 at 10:44 am

      NPR and LGBTQnation… that’s your source? That’s as good as Paul’s use of a Wikipedia. It’s online Mom so it must be true.

      • bikeandfish July 13, 2018 at 11:24 am

        Lack the ability to falsify the accurate source?

        If you had any media literacy you would know the source doesn’t invalidate the truth, John. Is a LGBTQi site biased? Probably. Does their bias meam oyr Congress didn’t vote to allow publicly funded adoption to discriminate against LGBTQi individuals? No, that is verifiable fact. What you are doing is “poisoning the well” and ad hominem attacks, both logical fallacies.

        • John July 13, 2018 at 12:01 pm

          And lgbtqxyz is not being discriminated against.. They have the same rights under the Constitution as everybody else and shall not be granted any special considerations.. JUST AS IT should be..

          • bikeandfish July 13, 2018 at 1:49 pm

            Ugh, the very bill cited is about legally allowing discrimination.

            Believing the Constitution stops discrimination from happening is magical thinking. That is why we have the courts.

            And LGBTQi people don’t have special protections in these situations protected by Civil Rights Laws (at the state level). The ones that protect them protect everyone from being discriminated against based on sex, gender or sexual identity.

            You should know these things as someone who constantly yells about the law.

        • Pauly D wanna cracker July 13, 2018 at 12:09 pm

          Sure thing Professor… as stated in the past.. why is it my job to prove you wrong. Just use credible sources and every is fine. I am also not John. Not even close. My best friends call me Paul.. Paul D

          • bikeandfish July 13, 2018 at 1:38 pm

            Not how that works. I have supported my claim with verifiable facts. They stand as such unless you can show us they are false.

          • ladybugavenger July 13, 2018 at 2:55 pm

            Heres a fact: I cleaned out the weeds in my flowerbed and it looks great! Not one neighbor bugged me. Peace!

          • #resist July 13, 2018 at 2:56 pm

            Just google everything opposite of what you said. Those are my facts. Similar to your fact finding

          • John July 13, 2018 at 7:52 pm

            waaaah waaah waaaah! there’s a russian behind every tree too… hahahahahahahahaha! grow some skin crybaby!

        • John July 13, 2018 at 4:08 pm

          You are one clueless leftard..You survive on leftist propaganda.. I am not a homophobe, misogynist or a white supremacist! If you want to be gay, go ahead just don’t expect me to celebrate it. I don’t care nor do I want to know what your preferences are. Since you must thrust your misguided progressive opinions on the rest of us, that opens the door to your being called a pompous jerk and a know it all blatherskite. As long as you continue to talk down to everybody who disagrees with you , I will continue to successfully make a fool out of you. You’re a little old for training wheels bernice!

          • bikeandfish July 13, 2018 at 4:50 pm

            If you don’t want to be considered homophobic and sexist then don’t perpetuate homophobic and sexist stereotypes and jokes. Pretty simple.

          • John July 13, 2018 at 5:26 pm

            We all know it can’t possibly be a fact unless bikeandfish approves it. NOT!!!!! Keep it in your bedroom then …duh! You put it in my face I’ll call you out.! Blowhard… I have made no homophobic comments you triggered snowflake ! You have an imbicylic agenda and it shows badly . You are always wrong that’s why you can never be right! Go figure out what bathroom to use and relieve some of that pressure in your big know it all head!

          • bikeandfish July 13, 2018 at 6:33 pm

            You just included a homophobic/transphobic insult without any sense of irony.

      • John July 13, 2018 at 11:58 am

        Next boyandfemale will be using snopes..hahahahahahahahahaha!

  • Scott July 13, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    You’d think men would champion birth control too! Who wants to pay until the kid is 18?

    • ladybugavenger July 13, 2018 at 2:11 pm

      Seriously! And apparently not many, that’s why child support services has to get involved

  • ladybugavenger July 13, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    y’all give me a headache. Yawn. Boring. Meaningless. blah blah blah

  • Southpaw July 13, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    Great article Howard! Spot on!

  • comments July 13, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    Bike&FishTroll and JohnTroll: you two lovers need to get a room. The sexual tension between you two lovebirds is so thick you can cut it with a knife. Let’s put you both someplace classly like a motel 6. Set up a gofundme and i’ll go $5. If that doesn’t work out you can meet up at john’s filthy rundown stink-stained trailer(“mobile home”) haha. hahahaha 😉

    • bikeandfish July 13, 2018 at 7:29 pm

      I’ve tried ignoring and honestly engaging him but he never stops so trolling him back seems like the only other option.

      I will say he’s provided a year of entertainment trying to unsuccessfully “trigger” me and guess my sex/gender.

      • John July 13, 2018 at 7:56 pm

        Your’e triggered, you keep coming back for more you pompous blowhard! You can’t handle being WRONG and it’s hilarious!!! #WalkAway you loser democrat…hahahahahahahaha!

    • #resist July 13, 2018 at 7:41 pm

      Of course you would suggest this… is it cuz you wanna hold the camera comment?.. be honest… you do enjoy the dark side of the page… and the moon

    • #resist July 13, 2018 at 7:42 pm

      Of course you would suggest this… is it cuz you wanna hold the camera comment?.. be honest… you do enjoy the dark side of the pa….moon

    • John July 13, 2018 at 7:56 pm

      shut up and get back in your dumpster, nobody asked you..

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