How Highbrows Killed Culture

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by M.D. Rawlings, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. M.D. Rawlings
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    M.D. Rawlings Classical Liberal

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    By Fred Siegel
    April 2012
    Commentary



    It is one of the foundational myths of contemporary liberalism: the idea that American culture in the 1950s was not only stifling in its banality but a subtle form of fascism that constituted a danger to the Republic. Whatever the excesses of the 1960s might have been, so the argument goes, that decade represented the necessary struggle to free America’s mind-damaged automatons from their captivity at the hands of the Lords of Conformity and Kitsch. And yet, from a remove of more than a half century, we can see that the 1950s were in fact a high point for American culture—a period when many in the vast middle class aspired to elevate their tastes and were given the means and opportunity to do so.

    The wildly successful attack on American popular culture in the 1950s was an outgrowth of noxious ideas that consumed the intellectual classes of the West in the first five decades of the 20th century—ideas so vague and so general that they were not discredited by the unprecedented flowering of popular art in the United States in the years after World War II. And, in the most savage of ironies, that attack ended up not changing popular culture for the better but instead has led to a popular culture so debased as to obviate parody.

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  2. Foxfyre
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    Foxfyre Eternal optimist Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    A compelling article though way too long and too difficult reading so that probably most USMB members won't bother. Also it helps to have some additional historical context to truly understand some of it.

    But the point is well made. In the 1950's, America was still a unique nation that had successfully blended a myriad of cultures of millions of immigrants, taking the best that each offered, and melding them into a uniquely identifiable American culture. Religion, by whatever brand, was not something to be dismissed, feared, or denigrated but was something to be embraced, celebrated, and promoted. "Conservative" values of patriotism, love of God, country, and the American way were the norm. And "conservative" values of self reliance, accepting consequences for poor choices, and preparing oneself to be a contributing adult were pretty well universally the norm.

    Those values are under almost constant attack anymore. Multiculturalism has replaced a concept of a blended culture and, as a result, we are losing our language, culture, borders. Conservative values have given away to promotion of victimization, class envy, and culture wars. Contemporary American liberals see themselves as superior people, better people than those holding on to the old values.

    The 50's weren't perfect by any means. The 50's after all were inhabited by imperfect people. Just as is the current decade that also is not perfect. But the current generation is doing its damndest to damn the generation of the 50's. And in so doing they are losing much of the America that made it great.

    I loved the last paragraph. The current generation of young people is the best ever. If only they would read.
     
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  3. M.D. Rawlings
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    M.D. Rawlings Classical Liberal

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    Excellent summary . . . as usual.
     

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