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When the 1950s and early 1960s are discussed by the retrospective experts of academia and PBS hush-toned documentaries, traditional families are generally portrayed as vehicles for an oppressive patriarchy. They are nothing more than little capsules of conformity; individual bulwarks against personal expression and freedom; a suppression of human nature and appetites.
Culture was reflected in the popular radio and television shows at the time. Leave It To Beaver, Father Knows Best, and Ozzie and Harriet were all shows that seemed to reinforce this notion. Today, they’re used by the progressive left and the radical feminist movement as examples of an oppressive, conformist society. They mean to scare people into thinking this would be America’s future if conservatives had their way, especially if President Trump is re-elected. Women would lose their right to vote! Birth control would be banned! Abortions outlawed!! (Okay, this one wouldn’t be bad) America would be awash in Old White Man power and no one will stop them! But these are just outlandish caricatures of the views of the time.
They had it backward from the beginning. The American trajectory from the 1950s and 1960s was headed to prosperity, equality of opportunity for the sexes, and declining racial disparity. But a funny thing happened on the way from Baby Boom to Woodstock: a growing federal government “safety net” and conscripted cultural conformity. For all the high hopes of a rebellious Hippie Generation – the protests, fighting the Man, and questioning authority – the left grew up and became exactly what they purported to be against. What the left is doing now, is…whitewashing history to advance their own agenda and using fear of a return to a false history to do it.
The Civil Rights movement was well on its way – the support and outspokenness of political and civic leaders together, with a strong foundation in Christian churches helped shift momentum towards equality. And government intervention, like the 1968 Fair Housing Act, actually did little to nothing to help black families rise out of urban poverty. In 1970, 42% of black households owned their homes. In 2017, it was 41%. As for women in the workforce, the number has increased exponentially, as well as the number of women with higher education degrees. But is it making for happier women? Studies show it has not, further, it has created a backlash of sorts and a return to a more traditional view of gender roles in the home.
These trends create a terminal problem for the radical idealism that started in the 1960s through the 1970s. The Baby Boomer generation set out to change the world, and by god they did, just not for the better. The welfare state created a dependent class and the war on families and traditional American values of patriotism, individual freedom, and self-reliance became sources of shame, not pride. If only the Donna Reeds of the suburbs and Alice Kramdens of the cities would unite in burning their bras and kicking their oppressive husbands to the curb – only then would we finally breathe the air of freedom!
But being a contrarian is different from being a nonconformist. The left conflates the two, then uses it to declare their ownership of individuality, human progress, and justified rebellion. What they want to do is claim their political and cultural views of an egalitarian utopia as morally superior, while ignoring basic human nature. It is an impossible task. So they double down on silencing and shaming anyone who dares utter a contrary word to their dogma.
Michelle Obama railed against women who voted for Trump. Hilary called them traitors. Joe Biden stated out loud that black voters who were undecided on whether to vote for him or President Trump “ain’t black.” And Carla Hall, writing an op-ed in the LA Times agreed with him. One needs only to look at the resistance to Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court to understand the left’s devotion to the abortion cause.
The press, too, has closed its collective mind. Instead of indulging intellectual curiosity and holding the powerful accountable to the people, it plays its dutiful part of partisan lapdog perfectly and obediently. Mostly gone are the days of a local street beat, now swallowed by the petty, junior-high catty club of a national press corps and cable news. News has always been big business, but now it’s far more business than news. The explosion of social media has transformed the enterprise into a multiple platform superhighway of information into a narrow road of approved viewpoints and carefully curated narratives. The side that chided Nixon for paranoia and witch-hunts are now engaging in the very behavior they once rebelled against. They’ve turned the Red Scare on its head and play the part of Walter Winchell finding Russians under every voting booth. “Russia!” has nearly overtaken the left’s use of bigot as a catch-all accusation to into which they dump any truth they find inconvenient.
It’s telling, that not only do self-proclaimed Progressives continually mischaracterize traditional gender roles. Being the keeper of a home is one of the most important and crucial responsibilities for the continuation of our strongest ties: that of the family. The left likes to use women who gravitate towards traditional household roles as depressed and neglected. But that’s usually the situation in which modern feminists find themselves. Even in 1958, The Donna Reed Show episode (aptly titled “The Male Ego”) Donna’s husband laments the modern housewife, “What happened to the days beyond recall when a man made decisions? Women control the PTA. They own 70 percent of the nation’s wealth. They dictate where we live, how we live…Today the PTA, tomorrow the world!” this doesn’t sound like a man with a tight grip on the goings-on of his wife.
In 1972, Ira Levin wrote the satirical novel The Stepford Wives, and it was immediately adopted as the cause around which a generation who thought themselves counter-culture warriors rallied. But the left only wants to ‘stick-it-to-the-Man’ if they aren’t the Man. They would be burning their face masks like they burned their bras. They would object to a public school system that indoctrinates instead of educates. They would truly welcome contrarian ideas and hypothesis about climate. They would recognize the undeniable science about the unborn. They would welcome the heterodox views of minority groups, who want to make freedom, not government dependency, a priority and reality in their lives.
When the post-political elites (they are above the petty politics of debate and know liberalism is the only accepted ideology) discuss traditional mores, it’s with the poison tongue of disdain. They robotically repeat condescending tones, reassuring themselves of their faultless views. They are unable to see the nuance in the sexes because they have banished the idea from their mind. They are unable to accept the dignity of work and independence because they see themselves the savior of the minority underclass.
This is how post-modern ‘art’ sells in the millions of dollars: that something so hideous could demand the fawning admiration of an elite class that should, well, know better, considering they’re supposed to be the arbiters of fine taste. And I wonder if they truly believe a post-modern ink-spot to be the most profound art since the Mona Lisa – or are they just lemmings in a pop-culture driven crowd, moved only by the sheer force of their depraved needy acceptance of their well-heeled peers? It is less about strength in the herd, than acceptance in the herd.
It’s similar to organizations like the NBA or companies like Sony publicizing support for BLM or espousing critical race theory nonsense. It would be silly if it weren’t so dangerous. Do these companies comply with the radical left as they fawn over Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog because they believe it, or because they seek immunity from cancellation in the herd? They bop along in their privileged world, unable to hold or accept views opposed to their own.
I think they’re more Stepford than they will ever acknowledge. They conform not because they think they’re right, but because they’re afraid they’re wrong.Published in