When Americans think of the 1950s we are reminded of a conformist, cookie-cutter world. Make no mistake, Americans in the ‘50s were definitely living an “another brick in the wall” type of existence physically and metaphysically.
Inevitably, thinking of the conformity of the ‘50s makes us think of the countercultural revolution of the 1960s.
Back then, popular culture, the media, etc. had an almost invariable conservative lean. We recognize the hippie movement of the ‘60s as a liberal rejection of that.
Today the situation is flipped.
There is absolutely no question that starting in the latter part of the 20th century, new liberalism became the dominant culture in American society.
By this I do not mean that one would meet more liberals than conservatives on a day-to-day basis. In fact, I would posit the opposite.
What I mean is that the elite culture that was broadcasted to Americans via radio, television and the arts was – and is to the utmost extent today – unequivocally left leaning.
Yes, there has been a mix of conservative and liberal presidents during the past 50 years.
However, the culture itself that is propagated to Americans is gradually liberal in its character.
One needs to look no further than the 2016 election.
It was obvious that the established media, governmental figures, artists (if you really want to call people like Katy Perry artists) and late night comedians behaved like the church lady on SNL in their opposition to an offensive and deplorable populist conservative.
He was appealing to the Americans who felt as if they were being left behind, and they hated him for it.
Think about it. How “avant garde” can Kathy Griffin be in her denigration of Trump when 99 percent of everyone else in Hollywood agrees with her? It is not avant garde or unique in any sense. If anything, bashing conservatives has become a “cause celebre.”
Countercultural movements are consumed by the youth of the day, and today’s youth are sick and tired of elitist virtue signalers who denounce anyone with dissenting opinions.
The fact is, the up and coming Generation Z is the most conservative since the WWII generation. Even a significant portion of Millennials have taken up the banner of the populist/conservative revival.
Countercultural movements usually have worldwide implications.
This is precisely what the world has been experiencing since 2015.
First, there was Brexit, then there was Trump and now there is Kurz. Even the failed movements of Le Pen, Wilders and the current plight of the Catalonians signify the growing resentment and the turning away from bureaucratic global governance.
This is because “no army can stop an idea whose time has come” as Victor Hugo said.
To end this, I would like to remind readers of one of the most famous popular counterculturalists of the last century: Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols. In the ‘70s, the establishment censored him, called him “deplorable” and utterly detested him.
They had the same disgust for him that Clinton had for Trump supporters.
It is interesting how history rhymes. Back then, people were arguing for free speech and ideological diversity.
Like then, many people today are railing against the established culture of the elite.
In 2017, Rotten even appeared on Good Morning Britain exclaiming how the Brexit and Trump movements symbolized the “new punk rock.”
Modern leftists are the new Puritans, and conservatism is the new counterculture.
The views expressed in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Auburn Plainsman.