A Philosopher's Blog

It is Time to Say “Goodbye” to the 1960s

Posted in Ethics, Philosophy, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on February 1, 2008

The 1960s were important years in American history and they did much to define the shape of country. It was a time of conflict, war, dissent, racism, sexism, hate, love, and hope. But, it is also a time that is long over and it is about time people accepted that it is groovy to say “goodbye 60s.”

The need to say goodbye was brought to my attention by two of my close friends. One is a neo-conservative who makes Rush Limbaugh look like a liberal. The other is a classic liberal-what my neo-con buddy would call a “moonbat.” Oddly enough, they both agreed that is was high time to put the 1960s behind us.

My moonbat friend, in an act of moonbattery, made an excellent case that the politicians who came of age in the 1960s are locked into the conflict and partisan mode of politics. Back then it was always “us” against “them” and this approach has continued to this day.

My neo-con friend thinks that nothing good came from the 1960s. In his eyes, it was a time when America was in decay and chaos. Those who are enamored of that time are, in his eyes, naught but hippies who want to drag America into socialism and decadence.

My view is that the 1960s did have some positive outcomes. Civil rights, women’s rights, and other steps towards equality took place in that time. America had the chance to look deep into its soul and see much that was wrong. This sort of thing is painful for both a person and a nation.

However, as my friends pointed out, the 1960s had many negative effects on America. The taint of decadence, drug use, and other social ills became highly entrenched during that time. The culture of the victim also had its foundations put down solidly in that time and this is one of the most problematic legacies of the 1960s.

The culture of the victim is the view that a person’s identity is to be largely defined and determined by their status as a victim. It is also the view that the victim is neither responsible nor capable in regards to his/her fate.

While it is noble and good to help others who have been harmed, furthering the culture of the victim does nothing to truly help people. In fact, it enervates people by convincing them to remain victims and wait for someone else, perhaps the government, to make things right for them.

This is not to say that we should not help our neighbor. They are our brothers and sisters and we are the keepers of each other. But, people need to be aided and encouraged to succeed. Treating people as eternal victims does not do this. We can acknowledge the sins of the past and the sins of the present while still treating people as they deserve to be treated: as men and women and not as mere victims.

While we are duty bound to honor the sacrifices made in the 1960s, those days are over. Those years were important but there are years that are more important-namely now and the future. It is time to say goodbye to the 1960s and to say hello to tomorrow.