reason vs. Rolling Stone


Rolling Stone continues its four-part celebration of its 40th anniversary year with a special issue dedicated to exploring every facet of 1967, its birth year.

It features an article by progressive-hero historian Sean Wilentz that is eerily similar in many ways to Brink Lindsey's July reason cover story (which is an excerpt from his fab new book, The Age of Abundance: How Prosperity Transformed America's Politics and Culture.)

Both examine '67 as the year in which both the counterculture and what might be called modern religious right conservatism began to take flight. Brink took a more nuanced and sanguine view about what that culture clash has meant for America, seeing that elements of both have helped create an America that is richer, stronger, and freer in many respects than the world that those movements changed.

Wilentz is more predictably a partisan for the counterculture and sees only a necessary war between the two tendencies that ought to continue until the hippies celebratorily drape themselves in the bloody suits of the Reaganites and Falwellians. Brink himself assesses the similarities and differences between his and Wilentz's take on the legacy of '67 over at his blog,

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  1. they also had a recent cover story on the cultural impact of south park

  2. I don’t have much use for “what might be called modern religious right conservatism”. Fundies have only had a destructive influence on society. While I’m sympathetic to calls for ‘family values’ and the virtues of ‘nuclear families’, when you look into what that means to them, they’re just terms thrown around to justify hatred of others.

    The hippies a like much better. Peace, love and beauty are virtues everybody should endorse. Though the counterculture doesn’t do much better at putting it’s values into practice. I also like the 60’s aesthetic, though I understand many don’t. They’re politics and economics are of course abysmal. It’s hard to say how much destructive influence the anti-capitalist, eviro-wacko’s have had. Though it’s certainly ubiquitous.

    Querry: Who deserves the blame for the rise of the Nanny-State?

  3. Warren, that is not fully correct. I have noticed that some of the most hard-core libertarians are fundies who don’t want to have their lifestyle choices overridden by outsiders, and are quite willing to forego state violence when it comes to spreading their values.

  4. tarran,
    You are correct. I’ve worked on homeschooling initiatives with some of them. There’s a strong correlation between the Religious Right and Fundamentalism, but they’re not the same.

    With as much spitting and cussing as you hear from the Christian Conservatives over how the libr’ls have ruined society, it’s dismaying how giddy they are to wield the same club now that it’s in they’re hand.

    That’s true for many, but as you say, not all.

  5. ******************
    I’m breaking my own prohibition against correcting typo’s so I don’t have to bash my head into the wall.

    they’re vs their
    I know the difference, I don’t know why I can’t get it right before I hit the submit button

  6. They’re you go.

  7. Warren,

    It’s “typos” not “typo’s”

    Unless of course something belongs to the typo.


  8. “Querry: Who deserves the blame for the rise of the Nanny-State?”

    Any honest answer has to be “both.” As to who fired first…that would be the fundies, and long before 1967.

    Exhibit A: the 19th century Populism of William Jennings Bryan, champion of free silver and Bishop Ussher.

    Exhibit B: Prohibition, fueled by an number of sermons against Demon Rum.

    If there are any Canadians here, I’ve a query of my own about 1967. Actually, two.

    a. I wouldn’t have minded going to Expo, but has its historical importance for Canada been blown out of proportion?

    b. Was ’67 the last good year?

  9. Taktix?,

    All right funny man. Now get over here and plaster my wall.

  10. Warren,

    Come on man. My B.A. in English has to be worth something. It sure as hell didn’t get me a job!

  11. Your B.A. in english didn’t teach you that “pwned” is not actually a word, but the sound of brain cells dying.

  12. Okay, many (but not all) right-wing evangelicals mobilized to regulate pornography, ban abortion, fight against gay rights, fight against women’s rights, support school prayer, and, more recently, support Israel and American Middle East policy unconditionally in an effort to see their vision of the scripture correspond to reality.

    Meanwhile, many (but not all) hippies mobilized to mainstream recreational drug use, spread Eastern spirituality, rally against the Vietnam War, support women’s rights and the sexual revolution, and fight for civil rights.

    Which set of goals sounds more like something a libertarian could get behind?

    “They’re politics and economics are of course abysmal. It’s hard to say how much destructive influence the anti-capitalist, eviro-wacko’s have had. Though it’s certainly ubiquitous.”

    Even if we grant your premise that this damage is “ubiquitous”, those weren’t goals of the hippie movement, which at any rate died in its original incarnation by the mid to late 1970s. It is true, however, that some hippie sentiments might have contributed to create anti-capitalists and enviro-wackos (whatever that means). Still, I would take the second set of objectives over the first any day.

  13. Ashish, I would say those are distorted pictures of both ‘movements’. The political side of the ’60s left was steered by hardcore Marxists who were either members of the Old Left or were their offspring. They were devoutly anti-capitalist and devoted to revolution and expropriation. Not exactly libertarian.

    In contrast, you leave out that the early fundies were far more likely to be hostile to the outside world and mostly wished to be left alone, though of course at least some of their political goals revolved around coercion.

    As such, the ‘cultural’ side of both movements contained strong libertarian streaks, while the ‘political’ side of both were strongly authoritarian. And it is from this political side of both that the modern nanny state springs.

  14. “The political side of the ’60s left was steered by hardcore Marxists who were either members of the Old Left or were their offspring.”

    Such as…?

  15. The Berkley Free Speech Movement….

  16. Principally the SDS and Weathermen.

  17. Wow! They don’t teach history anymore….do they?

    Prohibition/temperance was/is a progressive movement. The evangelicals didn’t have much to do with that. The mainstream protestants were the religous force in the progressive movement. They have evolved into a largely secular movement today although their religous roots are here with the National Council of Churches and much of today’s “mainstream” protestant leadership.

    The Nanny State is purely the result of the Progressive tradition, elements of which are present in both political parties and even contemporary “big church” evangelicals. The dominant force is very much secular and left/moderate however.

  18. Learn to swim.

  19. The Berkeley Free Speech Movement and the SDS included radical Marxists, but they were hardly “steered” by them. The Weather Underground really was pretty awful, but their membership wasn’t very large.

    Contrast this with the influence Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, etc. command(ed).

  20. Libertarians fight for the rights of hippies to do nothing but smoke pot and smell bad. I may not like Phish, sir, but I will defend to the death your right to listen to them.

  21. Exhibit A: the 19th century Populism of William Jennings Bryan, champion of free silver and Bishop Ussher.

    No to mention your own T C Douglas, the father of Medicare, the “Greatest Canadian” and a Baptist Preacher (oh, and Kieffer Sutherland’s grandpa).

    a. I wouldn’t have minded going to Expo, but has its historical importance for Canada been blown out of proportion?

    I’m not a Canadian but I lived there in 1967.

    The significance of the year was that it was the centennial of Confederation. That was what all the celebrating was. Expo was one small part of it. As a World’s Fair it was soso (or so I here; I didn’t go).

    It did, however form a bookend with the 1976 Olympics on nearly a decade of financial excess in Montreal which left the city practically bankrupt.

    b. Was ’67 the last good year?

    That I can’t answer. I been gone for nearly thirty years.

  22. SIV,

    I think it is you who might need to reread history.

    Prohibition/temperance was/is a progressive movement.

    The evangelicals formed a significant part of the “Progressive” movement.

    What split them from the rest of the movement was first evolution (see William Jennings Bryan vs. Clarence Darrow – both Progressives, both Democrats). Then in the fities and sixties came sex education in schools. And the straw that broke the camel’s back in the late sixties/early seventies was abortion. They gays getting all uppity in the eighties and nineties was just icing on the cake.

    Evangelicals and fundamentalists* have no argument with the welfare/nanny state per se. Their problem is with a welfare state that rewards and encourage sloth and indolence and sexual sin. As long as benefits go to the worthy and deserving and the power of the state can be used to correct the slothful, the indolent and the fornicators (and of course, now, teh gays) and steer them to the path of righteousness they have no problem.

    *with exceptions as noted by others. Yes there are those religious folks who reject government as and earthly intrusion to be kept to a minimum. They are, I believe, a small minority.

  23. Oh, and just a note on the above.

    I realize that there are, in fact, Evangelicals today who are not politically conservative. And that these are less likely to believe in creationism than their conservative brethren and sisters who in turn are not necessarily defined by said belief.

    Some Fundamentalists may be Evangelicals. But by no stretch are all Evangelicals, Fundamentalists.

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