August 4, 2019
Philip C. Johnson, Ph.D.
The highlight of the Summer of 1969 was marked by the achievement of the Apollo 11 moon landing – an achievement that showed what American ingenuity was capable of – what was possible when a group of people pursued an achievable goal and pulled towards something bigger than themselves. It was a demonstration of global American leadership. Fifty years later, the Summer of 2019 has been marked by things a little less impressive than walking on the moon. The Summer of 2019 will be remembered for the infamous, ongoing, expensive, “Mueller Report,” an effort to explain the election of Donald Trump as some sort of nefarious collusion with Russia. (It wasn’t.) The Democrat’s last ditch effort to get traction from this story was to drag Robert Mueller to testify in front of congress only to reveal that Mueller didn’t actually know much about what was in his report and that there was nothing new – nothing interesting to reveal.
The second legacy from the Summer of 2019 seems to be the recent spate of mass shootings from El Paso, Texas to Dayton, Ohio – with the Ohio shooting becoming the 250th mass shooting in the U.S. this year. Expect progressive talking points to center on gun control and controlling free (supposedly “hate”) speech rather than on the criminals and their individual ideologies who perpetrate such travesties. The Texas shooting seems to be clearly the result of a white supremacist mentality while, as of this writing, the motive behind the Ohio shooting is not yet clear. (There are some unverified reports that the motive was entirely different than El Paso, but I’ll wait for reliable information to come out.) Regardless, both are tragic and I have nothing but sympathy for the families and communities touched by these evil acts of violence.
While it’s more pleasant and more noble to think of the Summer of 1969 in connection with the magnificent moon landing, 1969 was also the summer of Woodstock, the beginning of the drawdown of troops from Vietnam and the Charles Manson Family murders. Fifty years later, the U.S. is a very different country. Better in some ways, more disturbing in others.
Over the last fifty years, advancements in travel, communication, science, medicine and technology have altered and improved American life in immeasurable ways. During these last five decades, we’ve also experienced changes to our culture that have not always been for the better. Compared to fifty years ago:
- Marriage is no longer a priority. Having children is no longer a priority. Sex before marriage is common. Marriages are occurring at older and older ages or some are simply forgoing marriage altogether. Traditional family structures – the foundation of all cultures – has changed in fundamental – perhaps irreversible ways.
- People are less religious today than they were 50 years ago – 20% less likely to adhere to any faith. What becomes of a culture that has nothing eternal to believe in?
- There is a greater emphasis on diversity and “identity” groups that seems to itch at the core of unity and a shared culture. (Read Heather MacDonald’s book, The Diversity Delusion.)
- More than 60 million babies have been aborted in the U.S. since 1973, the date of the legalization of abortion. Several states allow for late-term abortions. (Note: I believe all abortions of babies from the moment of conception and afterwards is murder.) Protecting defenseless American children doesn’t seem to be as high a priority as anguishing over the “rights” of people who break our laws by entering U.S. territory illegally.
- Americans are shifting towards socialism more than in the past. According to The Guardian, four in 10 Americans prefer socialism to capitalism. The promise of “free” stuff is very alluring to some – as I believe that fundamentally, people prefer security to freedom. But when a government runs out of other people’s money and you can’t buy toilet paper, then we’ll talk about the value of freedom again. Oh, but then it’ll be too late… Yeah, stay away from socialism and those who espouse it.
- The majority of people are likely to have a super computer in their pocket. Who could have imagined fifty years ago that people would have a powerful computing device at his or her constant disposal that could access billion of bits of data, play all your favorite songs, show your favorite TV shows and movies, waste your time with games and connect with people across the world. Smart phones have changed how we receive information and how we communicate in ways that have forever changed our culture – and our relationships to others. And speaking of information…
- The Internet: Never before has more information been available to more people more instantaneously. Each day, 63,000 searches are made on Google per SECOND. Every month (worldwide), 25.7 million searches are made on YouTube. The internet is where people are consuming their information, getting their emotional fixes and developing their worldviews. Now just imagine the power of having so much information available. Now imagine if that information was controlled by a very few companies that could decide what was fit for public consumption -and appropriate thought – or not… (YouTube is owned by Google).
Of course, no one would ever let that happen, right? Just like no one would willingly embrace socialist/communist values or embrace the idea of a sovereign country without borders, or murder babies. Those are just ridiculous things that a culture that could send men to walk on the moon would never be willing to allow. At least not in 1969. I wonder if I can get a WiFi signal on the moon…