What happened between the sexual revolution and the age of the internet?

 

“Baker Shot,” Bikini Atoll, 1946. (Wikimedia Commons)

The study of history is always tainted by the fact that we know how things turned out.  So, in retrospect, it seems inevitable that things would go the way they did, and we look for reasons for that outcome that fit our preconceived worldview.  So we’re misled before we even begin, even if we’re making an honest effort to understand.

This is an interesting time, as Western Civilization has quickly moved from making the world a better place, to seeking one way after another to destroy itself.  Future historians will wonder how we went from pursuing happiness to persecuting liberty in only a couple of generations.  It may seem inevitable, in the future, I suppose.  Even though things could have gone differently, of course.

But out of all these various possible variants, there is one question that keeps occurring to me, over and over again:  What exactly happened between the invention of the birth control pill and the invention of the internet?

Things seemed so great.  For a while.  Optimism was nearly unavoidable.  Everything was wonderful, and getting better all the time.

Until it wasn’t.

We stopped yelling at one another,
“Tastes great!”
“Less filling!”

Now we’re yelling,
“Black Lives Matter!”
“Kill the Jews!”

Not all of us, of course.  But Western Civilization has gone from unbridled optimism to unrestrained hatred.  Seemingly overnight.

Society seems to have changed.  When everything was going so swimmingly just recently.

As an athlete growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, very few people enjoyed the benefits of birth control pills more than I.  And I love the internet.  But it seems to me that those two events appear to have had absolutely enormous unintended consequences, which we are only now beginning to understand.

I loved both of those developments.  But together, they seem to be destroying that which I love most of all: Western Civilization.  What happened?

I’ve got to work tomorrow.  So I can’t drink enough bourbon to explore this question adequately.

Can anyone here save me a hangover, and explain this to me?  What exactly happened between the invention of the birth control pill and the invention of the internet?

My liver thanks you in advance.

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  1. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Something that may or may not help: Sebastian Haffner, whose invaluable memoir of Germany between the wars I’ve often cited, had an interesting paragraph on the positive aspects of Weimar culture:

    Despite everything, one could find a fresh atmosphere in Germany at this time…The barriers between the classes had become thin and permeable…There were many students who were labourers, and many young labourers who were students. Class prejudice and the starched-collar mentality were simply out of fashion. The relations between the sexes were freer and franker than ever–perhaps a fortunate by-product of the lack of discipline of the past years…we felt a bewildered sympathy for previous generations who had, in their youth, had the choice between unapproachable virgins for adoration and harlots for relaxation. Finally, a new hope even began to dawn in international relations; there was less prejudice and more understanding of the other side, and an unmistakable pleasure in the vivid variety that the world derives from its many peoples.

    Even though Weimar didn’t have birth control pills, it strikes me that to some extent his points could also be applied to the 1960s & 1970s era in United States.

    And yet,  we know what came only a little bit later.

     

    • #1
  2. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    I think the birth control pill and it’s inevitable cousin, abortion are both evil. The pill introduced sterility to the sexual act as something to be celebrated. This is wrong. This leads to the death of Western Society and Civilization. We don’t reproduce enough – birth rates below replacement are very prevalent in the West. But what do I know – I’ve been drinking tequila.

    • #2
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    A number of things. Part was that the Soviets played a long game, and it is bearing fruit now that they are long gone. Part is that we became too wealthy a nation. We had too many university graduates and not enough tradesmen or tech school grads. We allowed childhood to extend from ending at thirteen to ending at twenty-six or beyond. Our people are far divorced from reality. Their actions are divorced from consequences. The system should take care of that, but the system in corrupt all the way through.

    And I have nothing stronger than tea.

    • #3
  4. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    This was initiated with women’s right to vote. When Men had to start appealing to Women to win elections (and keep peace in the Home) it all went downhill.

    The idea of Individualism transformed to needing to take care of one another. And that idea transformed from charity to government.

    Edit: Vodka Arnold Palmer

    • #4
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):
    This was initiated with women’s right to vote.

    You are not wrong. End all the Progressive Amendments.

    • #5
  6. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    I think maybe too many of us are addicted to the news — via the internet and TV. I live in Eugene, Oregon, yet I’ve “invested” (wasted) far too much time following the rioting at Columbia University ‘way back there in New York.

    • #6
  7. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    I think maybe too many of us are addicted to the news — via the internet and TV. I live in Eugene, Oregon, yet I’ve “invested” (wasted) far too much time following the rioting at Columbia University ‘way back there in New York.

    “New York (City)?!?!?  Get a rope!”

    • #7
  8. Michael Minnott Member
    Michael Minnott
    @MichaelMinnott

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    I think maybe too many of us are addicted to the news — via the internet and TV. I live in Eugene, Oregon, yet I’ve “invested” (wasted) far too much time following the rioting at Columbia University ‘way back there in New York.

    “New York (City)?!?!? Get a rope!”

    Wow!  Those commercials for Pace picante sauce were pervasive enough to create a cultural phenomenon and even nostalgia.

    Is that incidental, or a symptom of decline?

    • #8
  9. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    This was initiated with women’s right to vote. When Men had to start appealing to Women to win elections (and keep peace in the Home) it all went downhill.

    The idea of Individualism transformed to needing to take care of one another. And that idea transformed from charity to government.

    Edit: Vodka Arnold Palmer

    Quite true, although it happened way before the pill and the internet.

    It seems to have been pretty well demonstrated that women tend to vote leftist, and I for one don’t think it’s worth ending Western Civilization just so that women could feel “empowered” and otherwise good about themselves, for 100 years or so.

    • #9
  10. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    When public policy is driven by people’s “feelz,” then society is bound to decline.

    Reality does not give a hoot about anyone’s feelings. Laws of economics, biology, and cause-and-effect are not negotiable.

    Recognition of these facts of life is a sign of growing up. Unfortunately, too many have not had that epiphany, and too many ‘powers that be’ find it convenient for their own ends to cater to the “feelz” crowd for their support and . . .  votes.

    • #10
  11. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Fritz (View Comment):

    When public policy is driven by people’s “feelz,” then society is bound to decline.

    Reality does not give a hoot about anyone’s feelings. Laws of economics, biology, and cause-and-effect are not negotiable.

    Recognition of these facts of life is a sign of growing up. Unfortunately, too many have not had that epiphany, and too many ‘powers that be’ find it convenient for their own ends to cater to the “feelz” crowd for their support and . . . votes.

    Which are, once again, predominantly women.

    • #11
  12. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Dr. Bastiat: But western civilization has gone from unbridled optimism to unrestrained hatred.

    When was this period of unbridled optimism?  I doubt there has been a decade in history when there haven’t been old (and probably middle-aged) people complaining that things were great when they were kids, but now everything has gone to hell.

    • #12
  13. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    We have confused (probably deliberate) liberty with libertine.

    • #13
  14. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Doc, I can’t save you from a hangover. I wouldn’t if I could: who wants a life without consequences?

    The optimist in me wants to say that maybe things aren’t all that different from the way they were. Maybe our frustration with “kids these days” is the same as past generations’ frustration with their own dilettante offspring. Maybe we’re alarmed by it because the average age on Ricochet is 55.7 years old (just taking a stab there; I could be way off), and that’s about the age when we shake our graying heads and wonder what’s become of the next generation.

    That’s what the optimist in me wants to say. But then I reluctantly admit that some things really are different now. For one thing, kids are networked in ways we never were: everyone I communicated with as a child in the halcyon days of the last 60s and early 70s was someone my parents knew, or someone whose parents my parents knew. That’s just how it was back then.

    (And was it halcyon? I was nine years old when the Kent State riots happened, ten when the Weather Underground bombed the U.S. Capitol building. Over the next year and a half more than two thousand bombings took place in the U.S. as the most militant wings of the counter-cultural revolution of the 60s vented their righteous rage.)

    What’s gone wrong, assuming something has gone wrong (and I admit that I think something has gone wrong)? I think perhaps it’s this: we have elevated credentials over old-fashioned common sense. And so we have over-educated mediocrities mis-educating our children, over-credentialed journalists mis-informing the public, experts telling us when to mask and what to drive and how to live.

    Those things are different from the old days, and that’s bad.

    Is it worse, now, than it was half a century ago?

    Honestly, I don’t know.

    • #14
  15. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Some Thoughts:

    The Pill is the most radical technological change of the 20th Century. It decoupled sex from birth control. We are still trying to grapple with the consequences 60 years on.

    Men and women working together, side by side in the workplace is a radical change in how the sexes interact. Again, a grand experiment that has an unknown outcome. Why, for instance, if sex at work is wrong, do women wear high heels and lipstick? These two items exist solely to make women more sexually attractive. Why is this considered OK? I am not attacking it, mind you, I just wonder. 

    We have upended the dance between the sexes and we see the costs across the board in society. Heck, the advent of the nuclear family was new, and we have trashed even that. Maybe big families that live together is a better way to do it. 

    What we do know is that women’s happiness has decreased. I think this is because we have changed their roles to deemphasis on the feminine and increase the masculine. We have made it possible for either party to blow up a marriage in “no fault” divorce and then still have a claim on the other person’s stuff. No other contract works this way. Even pre-nups can be voided. 

    Western governments subsidies the undermining of marriage, and in fact, having kids is penalized in the taxes with national pensions. My kids will pay for the pensions of people who had no kids. 

    We have stopped teaching civic virtue. We have given up on our own pasts, and we denigrate the things we should celebrate. 

     Finally, we have turned out faces from God and His word. Believe in God or not, no nation in history has ever been robust, successful, and respectful of human rights without faith. 

    • #15
  16. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I think birth control was the most momentous change in human history. It permanently altered the relationship between parents and children. From that point on, kids could say, fairly, to their parents, “Why did you have me? I didn’t ask to be here. You owe me!” Until then, we were all in this together.

    Thirty years ago, my obstetrician told me that even with birth control, 50 percent of pregnancies were “unplanned” for one reason or another.

    That serendipity does not matter to the underlying structure of the parent-child relationship, partly because no parent ever wants to have that conversation. It would harm their children.

    And for parents who did plan their children’s birth, the birth control option put a strange burden on them to get it perfectly right. “After all, I asked for this!” And the ability to plan pregnancies affects the parents’ support system as well. There’s this general attitude of “You did this. It’s your responsibility.”

    I think birth control really negatively affected family life and explains a great deal of the societal breakdown we see around us. Family life, the atomic basis of society, cannot survive with the children in charge.

    When the underlying relationship structures are out of whack, it’s really hard for people to function. It can be done, for sure–most children still grow up to live pretty good lives–but the failure rate will be way higher than it would otherwise be.

    Just my very humble opinion that I know no one else shares. :) :) :)

    • #16
  17. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    Western governments subsidies the undermining of marriage, and in fact, having kids is penalized in the taxes with national pensions. My kids will pay for the pensions of people who had no kids.

    The most amazingly dumbest, and most obviously stupid thing we have ever done. Both parties recognized that Medicare was going to be an actuarial disaster by 1973.

    They make you pay in at gunpoint, and then it collapses. The second the Soviet Union fell, we should have collectively got on it. Then we started trading with the Chinese mafia.

    • #17
  18. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    Men and women working together, side by side in the workplace is a radical change in how the sexes interact. Again, a grand experiment that has an unknown outcome. Why, for instance, if sex at work is wrong, do women wear high heels and lipstick? These two items exist solely to make women more sexually attractive. Why is this considered OK? I am not attacking it, mind you, I just wonder. 

    Dressing up nice is not done exclusively for the purpose of sexual arousal.  A married couple in their 80s may dress up in nice clothes, perfume, cologne, and jewelry when they go out.  They aren’t doing it in hopes of a sexual hook-up.  It’s human nature (for at least a significant portion of humanity) to want to feel attractive, even if they aren’t looking for a mate.  A meeting for an exclusively female group may have a few women who show up looking sloppy, but will almost certainly have women who are dressed up like they are going to church.

    • #18
  19. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    ***It’s too late for this***, but here is my solution. Inflation causes so many problems and they don’t measure it right. Change the measure back to something more accurate and set it at zero no matter what. Don’t produce non-public goods. Nobody really needs any non-public goods from the government. And, like I said, Social Security and Medicare are disasters created at gunpoint. Really stupid. 

     

    • #19
  20. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    MarciN (View Comment):
    Thirty years ago, my obstetrician told me that even with birth control, 50 percent of pregnancies were “unplanned” for one reason or another.

    The Plan B pill will 99% wipe this issue out. I can’t understand why this isn’t understood. 

    • #20
  21. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    We have confused (probably deliberate) liberty with libertine.

    Here is where we need to start.  

    • #21
  22. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    Men and women working together, side by side in the workplace is a radical change in how the sexes interact. Again, a grand experiment that has an unknown outcome. Why, for instance, if sex at work is wrong, do women wear high heels and lipstick? These two items exist solely to make women more sexually attractive. Why is this considered OK? I am not attacking it, mind you, I just wonder.

    Dressing up nice is not done exclusively for the purpose of sexual arousal. A married couple in their 80s may dress up in nice clothes, perfume, cologne, and jewelry when they go out. They aren’t doing it in hopes of a sexual hook-up. It’s human nature (for at least a significant portion of humanity) to want to feel attractive, even if they aren’t looking for a mate. A meeting for an exclusively female group may have a few women who show up looking sloppy, but will almost certainly have women who are dressed up like they are going to church.

    I grant there is a desire to look attractive, even when socializing in a women-only group.  Don’t neglect the role of the competition for status.  What scores the most points?  What would best catch the “male gaze.”  

    • #22
  23. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):
    Thirty years ago, my obstetrician told me that even with birth control, 50 percent of pregnancies were “unplanned” for one reason or another.

    The Plan B pill will 99% wipe this issue out. I can’t understand why this isn’t understood.

    The Plan B pill exists, so why hasn’t the issue been wiped out?

    If people weren’t already often lazy and irresponsible, there would be no reason for Plan B to start with.  And since they ARE often lazy and irresponsible, that means they can’t be relied on to use Plan B either.

    Next step could be adding Plan B to city water supplies.

    • #23
  24. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    kedavis (View Comment):

    The Plan B pill exists, so why hasn’t the issue been wiped out?

    If people weren’t already often lazy and irresponsible, there would be no reason for Plan B to start with.  And since they ARE often lazy and irresponsible, that means they can’t be relied on to use Plan B either.

    Abortion went up 15% after Roe versus Wade was wiped out. People are upset about abortion. 

    kedavis (View Comment):
    Next step could be adding Plan B to city water supplies.

    Either I’m missing your point or this is gratuitously stupid. 

    • #24
  25. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    The Plan B pill exists, so why hasn’t the issue been wiped out?

    If people weren’t already often lazy and irresponsible, there would be no reason for Plan B to start with. And since they ARE often lazy and irresponsible, that means they can’t be relied on to use Plan B either.

    Abortion went up 15% after Roe versus Wade was wiped out. People are upset about abortion.

    kedavis (View Comment):
    Next step could be adding Plan B to city water supplies.

    Either I’m missing your point or this is gratuitously stupid.

    That depends on how much Fauci, WHO, WEF, Soros, etc, want to control people.

    • #25
  26. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    This was initiated with women’s right to vote. When Men had to start appealing to Women to win elections (and keep peace in the Home) it all went downhill.

    The idea of Individualism transformed to needing to take care of one another. And that idea transformed from charity to government.

    Edit: Vodka Arnold Palmer

    Quite true, although it happened way before the pill and the internet.

    No [expletive], Einstein.

    I stated it began with Women voting, which is before the pill and internet.

    • #26
  27. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf 🚫 Banned
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    What happened between was Gen X. The greatest generation since the Greatest Generation.

    We’d solve the world’s problems if you asked nicely, but honestly, we just want to be left alone.

    • #27
  28. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    This was initiated with women’s right to vote. When Men had to start appealing to Women to win elections (and keep peace in the Home) it all went downhill.

    The idea of Individualism transformed to needing to take care of one another. And that idea transformed from charity to government.

    Edit: Vodka Arnold Palmer

    Quite true, although it happened way before the pill and the internet.

    No [expletive], Einstein.

    I stated it began with Women voting, which is before the pill and internet.

    I was pointing out that it wasn’t congruent with the OP assumption, that it was something between the pill and the internet.

    • #28
  29. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    kedavis (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):
    Thirty years ago, my obstetrician told me that even with birth control, 50 percent of pregnancies were “unplanned” for one reason or another.

    The Plan B pill will 99% wipe this issue out. I can’t understand why this isn’t understood.

    The Plan B pill exists, so why hasn’t the issue been wiped out?

    If people weren’t already often lazy and irresponsible, there would be no reason for Plan B to start with. And since they ARE often lazy and irresponsible, that means they can’t be relied on to use Plan B either.

    Next step could be adding Plan B to city water supplies.

    I think we should have sex robots to end abortion.

    • #29
  30. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    I’d even posit that the pill would probably be illegal if Women couldn’t vote.

    • #30
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