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Old 05-21-2020, 08:35 AM
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What Led to the Radical Sixties?


I don't think I need a cite. One way or another, things changed considerably by the end of the 1960's.

Women's rights, gay rights, pornography even. People were talking and even thinking in a considerably new way.

But what led to it? And was it a variety of factors? And (I just had to ask this), did JFK's assassination have anything to do with it (the 'radical sixties'')? It did immediately precipitate it, so I had to ask.

Thank you all in advance for your kindly and civil replies.

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Last edited by Jim B.; 05-21-2020 at 08:36 AM. Reason: Typo.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:06 AM
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On this side of the Atlantic, we had "The Swinging Sixties". They were a direct result of WW" and the depression that followed it.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:07 AM
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Women's rights, gay rights, pornography even.
Pornography has existed since at least 7200 BC.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:34 AM
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There were two major factors - affluence and Earl Warren.

Chevrolet ran an ad in the 50s - 'today a family can expect to have a home or car and sometimes both'. By the 60s good paying jobs were common, education was cheap and developers were begging you to buy a house. My first house purchase was $10 down and $90 closing in what is now Silicon Valley. The Warren court provided a broadening social background.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:36 AM
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Gross hypocrisy.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:39 AM
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One argument I heard is that the boomers were the first generation where financial stability was more or less guaranteed. You could drop out of society and do acid for a couple years, then show up and get a factory job in a week if you wanted one. Because financial stability was pretty much assured, people focused on higher needs like self actualization instead.

Also supposedly the civil rights movement wasn't nearly as influential until after Brown.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:44 AM
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Woman's rights were a thing since Susan B Anthony; Gay rights were not a thing for the larger community, in the Gay community it started to become a thing with the Stonewall Riots in 1969. The Vietnam War and the draft protests started a strong counter-cultural movement that might be considered radical and spawned some radical groups. But none of this is strictly 60s.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:00 AM
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Suburbs, new middle class, and Benjamin Spock.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:12 AM
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There were two major factors - affluence and Earl Warren.

Chevrolet ran an ad in the 50s - 'today a family can expect to have a home or car and sometimes both'. By the 60s good paying jobs were common, education was cheap and developers were begging you to buy a house. My first house purchase was $10 down and $90 closing in what is now Silicon Valley. The Warren court provided a broadening social background.
And that affluence was a result of things like a 90% top marginal tax rate....under a Republican president! 'Tis ever thus, you get what you pay for.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:16 AM
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The television.

Contrary to what you might think, there was plenty of unrest, radical activism, protests and countercultural lifestyles going on at any time you care to name throughout human history. But it got very little press, and what press there was was generally negative. Once there was a TV in nearly every home, though, people with different ideas knew they weren't alone. And people who might have been opposed to those "dirty weirdos" will think differently when they see the weirdos on TV and find out that they're a lot like them.

Also, don't underestimate the importance of the Pill. Women being able to take control of their reproductive functions was an absolutely huge game changer. In fact it might be one of the most important inventions of the 20th Century, surpassing the influence of penicillin and nuclear bombs.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:21 AM
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And that affluence was a result of things like a 90% top marginal tax rate....under a Republican president! 'Tis ever thus, you get what you pay for.
Which no one ever paid anything close to because of tax loopholes and shelters.

https://www.accountingtoday.com/arti...by-movie-stars

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Prior to the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the tax code was full of loopholes that individuals could take advantage of. One favorite was buying rental properties. In 1954, Congress passed a law allowing for accelerated depreciation on any income-producing real estate — meaning that wealthy taxpayers could deduct from their income tax a percentage of the value of the property each year. What made it even better was that more often than not, the property appreciated in value, even as the government provided its generous depreciation schedule. The tax break was used not only by actors making millions but also by lawyers and doctors making $50,000 or $60,000 a year.

Another common practice was to push income generated in year 1 into years 2, 3, 4 and beyond. In 1957, for instance, William Holden was signed by Columbia Pictures to act in “The Bridge on the River Kwai.” The company agreed to give the 39-year-old actor 10 percent of the gross profits. To keep his taxes down, Holden insisted that Columbia pay him no more than $50,000 a year. The movie, of course, was a huge hit, with domestic box office receipts exceeding $27 million ($241 million in 2019 dollars).
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There were two other tax loopholes favored by actors and other entertainers — loopholes that were largely out of reach for the merely well-to-do. The first was the oil depletion allowance. The second was the collapsible corporation.

The oil depletion allowance was created by Congress in 1926. Meant to give incentives to drill for oil, it reduced the taxable income generated by an oil well by 27½ percent. It was, writes Yuxun Willie Tan in the Iowa Historical Review, “the biggest tax loophole in U.S. history.”

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Old 05-21-2020, 11:43 AM
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I think the comment was more about the acceptance of pornography rather than it's invention. Pornographic movies like Behind the Green Door, Deep Throat, and The Devil in Miss Jones received attention from mainstream press, some of it positive, and they were known throughout American households. These movies were released in the early 70s but the radical sixties actually went into the seventies.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:50 AM
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The difference in the 1960s wasn't that pornography suddenly poped up of nowhere, having never been heard of before. The issue is when changes became acceptable in public. These reductionist answers derail thought, and add nothing.

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Woman's rights were a thing since Susan B Anthony; Gay rights were not a thing for the larger community, in the Gay community it started to become a thing with the Stonewall Riots in 1969. The Vietnam War and the draft protests started a strong counter-cultural movement that might be considered radical and spawned some radical groups. But none of this is strictly 60s.
Pornography is an example of this as well. Soft core nudity became acceptable in magazines and movies in the 60s but the 70s brought The Devil in Miss Jones, and Behind the Green Door, and Deep Throat. [ninjaed by Odesio while I wrote too much]

The answer to What Led to the Radical Sixties? is The Pre-Radical Fifties. (All references are to America only.) Porno chic was the flowering of a seed planted in the 50s, which grew tall in the 60s.

Playboy happened in the 50s. Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl started in the 50s. The Beat movement was from the 50s. Rock 'n' Roll started in the 50s. The big social concern of the 50s was juvenile delinquency. That and rock had nothing to do with one another, but people paired them anyway, creating an attractive menace. The biggest protest was the civil rights movement, a gigantic change. And television, which went national in the 50s and brought all these images of change into peoples' living rooms, transformed how Americans looked at the world.

It wasn't Kennedy's assassination that caused change - Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique appeared in 1963 - but his election. The first 20th century born president, he symbolized a generational change that can hardly be overestimated. The old and tired and boring and staid was to be tossed out. Everything would be different in the New Frontier.

I'd rate The Beatles as a bigger cultural change effect than Kennedy's death. The Beatles broke all the rules. You cannot believe how radical their hair was unless you lived through it. Rock joined the "new wave" movements in a dozen other arts, from mainstream fiction to movies to science fiction to architecture to op and op art.

Johnson used Kennedy's death to push through sweeping bills changing the relation of government to the people. But he also got swamped by Vietnam, which made political protest legitimate in a way unthinkable under Eisenhower. The civil rights movement turned militant itself after its several assassinations of major figures.

Change always happens. The sixties were special because decades of changes blocked by the Depression, the War, and the Recovery were loosened all at once, so that the pace of change speeded up. That was too much for people, one big reason why the majority wanted old man Reagan to slow things down again.

Just on a personal note, I need to correct Wesley Clark. The seventies were a terrible financial decade. There was a recession from 1973-1975 after the first round of oil price hikes. The second round made it worse, with inflation spiking over 20 percent. Jobs were impossible to find. It was so bad that Nixon signed the The Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) to fund jobs, and CETA benefits had to keep lengthening because even after a year people still couldn't get a job. I took a couple of CETA jobs myself and I had been on food stamps for a few months in that blasted 1973. It was my worst decade as an adult and I would have laughed in your face if you told me the boomers had it easy.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:51 AM
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The fear of young people that we were going to be sent to Vietnam to have our asses shot off might have had a tiny bit to do with it.
The Civil Rights movement, before this, demonstrated that in many cases government should not be respected, especially the racist southern governors. Plus it had some success - and generated martyrs.
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:05 PM
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Mass affluence, mass education and mass media. Affluence raises your expectations and your sense of possibility. Education exposes you to new ideas and values. The media feeds you new trends at a much faster pace than anything before. All three came together in an unprecedented way with the boomers. Of course Vietnam also played a role but it is striking how the fairly similar Korean war had such a massively different level of impact. That's because the youth of the early 50s was very different from that of the late 60s.
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:50 PM
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One argument I heard is that the boomers were the first generation where financial stability was more or less guaranteed. You could drop out of society and do acid for a couple years, then show up and get a factory job in a week if you wanted one. Because financial stability was pretty much assured, people focused on higher needs like self actualization instead.
Very true.

And vestiges of this attitude were still lingering a decade or more later. I remember when I decided to go to college (in the early 1980s) to become an engineer, some friends and acquaintances were mildly disparaging. "Why you wanna do that? The money, right?" Fellow musicians suggested that I should "stick with (my) guitar playing". And I wasn't talking about getting rich, just making a good, steady living. But it seemed (for some) that I had crossed over to the dark side.

You saw it in works of fiction from that era too. The 'cool' guest characters on TV shows like Route 66 were often penniless hitchhikers who spouted all the wisdom.

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Old 05-21-2020, 03:15 PM
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The television.

Contrary to what you might think, there was plenty of unrest, radical activism, protests and countercultural lifestyles going on at any time you care to name throughout human history. But it got very little press, and what press there was was generally negative. Once there was a TV in nearly every home, though, people with different ideas knew they weren't alone. And people who might have been opposed to those "dirty weirdos" will think differently when they see the weirdos on TV and find out that they're a lot like them.

Also, don't underestimate the importance of the Pill. Women being able to take control of their reproductive functions was an absolutely huge game changer. In fact it might be one of the most important inventions of the 20th Century, surpassing the influence of penicillin and nuclear bombs.
But of the dozen or more forms of birth control why was the pill so influential?
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:36 PM
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And that affluence was a result of things like a 90% top marginal tax rate....under a Republican president! 'Tis ever thus, you get what you pay for.
Democratic Presidents seem to get away with doing the most Republican-stuff, and vice-versa.
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:42 PM
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Very true.
I imagine it's pretty hard to get wound up about social change when your first concern is feeding and sheltering your family, especially if it takes a lot of hard work to do that.

The 1960s were the era in which the first generation to come of age AFTER WWII were young and in college. They'd never had to endure the privation their parents and grandparents had known from the world wars and the Depression, so there was a notion that things could be better and that they could make that change happen I suspect.
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:57 PM
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Mort Sahl
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:00 PM
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But of the dozen or more forms of birth control why was the pill so influential?
The pill was safe, affordable, effective, and the allowed the woman to take full control of her reproduction. I think having full control of their reproductive cycle is what made the pill so important.
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:07 PM
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But of the dozen or more forms of birth control why was the pill so influential?
It was the first to be both extremely reliable and have bearable side effects. And it actually prevents pregnancy, unlike many of the botanical and chemical abortifacients women used to end pregnancies. It was under the control of women themselves, unlike condoms. It was private, and didn't require doing anything to prepare for sex that might interrupt things or spoil the mood or dull the sensation. Finally, by 1965 the Supreme Court had ruled anti-birth control laws unconstitutional, which allowed many more women to actually use it (married women, at least -- unmarried women had to wait until 1972 for that right to be affirmed).

But the short answer is just that it was so much more effective than the birth control methods that existed before.
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:50 PM
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But of the dozen or more forms of birth control why was the pill so influential?
Because of its convenience. That's still the case.

Unlike other methods, it can also be used for other things (menstrual regulation, treatment of PCOS and endometriosis, etc.)

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Old 05-21-2020, 08:18 PM
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I'm not sure I'd include the pill and the sexual revolution as a cause of the radical '60s. It's not like only people on the left were having sex. And radicals on the left were just about as sexist as conservatives on the right.
However sexual freedom might have had an impact in that lots of people lied to their parents about their living arrangements. My roommate sophomore year was living with his girlfriend, and I covered for him. I suspect only kids with very religious parents have to lie today - my daughters didn't have to. (And I didn't have to, my parents were cool with it. Probably relieved.)
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:22 PM
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I imagine it's pretty hard to get wound up about social change when your first concern is feeding and sheltering your family, especially if it takes a lot of hard work to do that.

The 1960s were the era in which the first generation to come of age AFTER WWII were young and in college. They'd never had to endure the privation their parents and grandparents had known from the world wars and the Depression, so there was a notion that things could be better and that they could make that change happen I suspect.
We were the first generation to be born after WW II. Those who reached adulthood in the late '50s had it pretty good for most of the lives they remembered. There were fewer of them due to the war, but by the time of the late '60 there was well over a decade of prosperity.
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:25 PM
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Mass affluence, mass education and mass media. Affluence raises your expectations and your sense of possibility. Education exposes you to new ideas and values. The media feeds you new trends at a much faster pace than anything before. All three came together in an unprecedented way with the boomers. Of course Vietnam also played a role but it is striking how the fairly similar Korean war had such a massively different level of impact. That's because the youth of the early 50s was very different from that of the late 60s.
I was a baby during the Korean War, but that one started with a real attack and not a fake one, plus the people we were fighting for and with were on our side, unlike so many of the Vietnamese. Plus it was a lot shorter, and was more of a classical war not a guerilla war.
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:29 PM
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But of the dozen or more forms of birth control why was the pill so influential?
What dozen are you thinking of? I can only think of condoms, unreliable diaphragms (and I'm not sure about them) and the woman crossing her legs.
Besides the other good responses, the pill meant that the man didn't have to think about it and neither did the woman at the moment.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:56 PM
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What dozen are you thinking of? I can only think of condoms, unreliable diaphragms (and I'm not sure about them) and the woman crossing her legs.
Besides the other good responses, the pill meant that the man didn't have to think about it and neither did the woman at the moment.
There was also natural family planning (AKA the rhythm method) but then and now, it worked best for people who were trying TO conceive, not avoid it.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:16 PM
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Was the fact that it was 100 years after the Civil War? A war which saw Americans splitting and going after each other?

Alot of issues like growing radical youth, rock n roll, and minorities getting tired of segregation was growing in the 50's.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:18 PM
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It was the first to be both extremely reliable and have bearable side effects. And it actually prevents pregnancy, unlike many of the botanical and chemical abortifacients women used to end pregnancies. It was under the control of women themselves, unlike condoms. It was private, and didn't require doing anything to prepare for sex that might interrupt things or spoil the mood or dull the sensation. Finally, by 1965 the Supreme Court had ruled anti-birth control laws unconstitutional, which allowed many more women to actually use it (married women, at least -- unmarried women had to wait until 1972 for that right to be affirmed).

But the short answer is just that it was so much more effective than the birth control methods that existed before.
Badly needed since all the cars had those big back seats.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:21 PM
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My vote is that the pill had the largest influence but we're probably overstating the influence of any one thing. The Roaring 20's was just as radical for its time as the 60's and most of the things we're discussing had little to no influence in the 20's. The 20's had the odd incongruence of the liberal (Jazz, movies, flappers) with the conservative (Prohibition).
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:04 PM
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I think the comment was more about the acceptance of pornography rather than it's invention. Pornographic movies like Behind the Green Door, Deep Throat, and The Devil in Miss Jones received attention from mainstream press, some of it positive, and they were known throughout American households. These movies were released in the early 70s but the radical sixties actually went into the seventies.
And let's not forget the X-rated Midnight Cowboy. It would be laughable to consider it pornography now, but a lot of people did in 1969, and it won the Best Picture Oscar as well as two other major Oscars. That movie could not have even been made in 1959.


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My vote is that the pill had the largest influence but we're probably overstating the influence of any one thing. The Roaring 20's was just as radical for its time as the 60's and most of the things we're discussing had little to no influence in the 20's. The 20's had the odd incongruence of the liberal (Jazz, movies, flappers) with the conservative (Prohibition).
Funny, but the history of the classical world I'm reading discusses a similar a generation gap in the Greek world, mainly Athens, between the 440s and the 420s BC. Who remembers that nowadays? I guess this sort of thing pops up every now and then.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:43 PM
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What dozen are you thinking of? I can only think of condoms, unreliable diaphragms (and I'm not sure about them) and the woman crossing her legs.
Besides the other good responses, the pill meant that the man didn't have to think about it and neither did the woman at the moment.
https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control

The IUD existed at the same time as the pill, and IUDs are highly effective too.

Diaphrams, cervical caps, etc. also existed back then too and those are also effective. All these methods are under the control of the woman arguably.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:47 PM
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https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control

The IUD existed at the same time as the pill, and IUDs are highly effective too.

Diaphrams, cervical caps, etc. also existed back then too and those are also effective. All these methods are under the control of the woman arguably.
Still, the advent of the pill is generally considered a game changer.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:51 PM
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All of those things you list in the OP had been becoming increasingly public and accepted all through the twentieth century (and even before then). The following citations mostly refer to what was going on in the U.S. However, the same things were happening elsewhere:

(Racial) civil rights:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeli...ights_movement

Gay rights:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeli...,_20th_century

Women's rights:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeli..._United_States

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeli...r_than_voting)

Acceptance of general sexual rights:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_revolution

So none of those things appeared out of nowhere, although they have may reached sufficient public acceptance at that point to become noticeable to everyone.
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Old 05-22-2020, 01:27 AM
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There was also natural family planning (AKA the rhythm method) but then and now, it worked best for people who were trying TO conceive, not avoid it.
I thought of that, but rejected it as a reasonable method. If you meant the Church recommended it because they wanted you to conceive no matter what you wanted, I'm with you.
I never heard timing to conceive called the rhythm method, though we did it (got it in 1) and did my daughter (who also got it in 1.) All of which made us all glad we are rigorous about using birth control.
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Old 05-22-2020, 01:33 AM
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In terms of sex, we've come a long, long way since then. We watch Wheel of Fortune, about as mainstream America as you can get, and people talk about their children with girlfriends and boyfriends, and a lot of players acknowledge same sex partners.
I think the changes are permanent now.
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Old 05-22-2020, 01:56 AM
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I was a baby during the Korean War, but that one started with a real attack and not a fake one, plus the people we were fighting for and with were on our side, unlike so many of the Vietnamese. Plus it was a lot shorter, and was more of a classical war not a guerilla war.
Fair enough but by 1952 the war had become a bloody stalemate and was increasingly unpopular in the US without leading to major anti-war protests. And the time frame can be a bit misleading. From a US perspective mass troop deployments only started in 1965. From there to the first major protests in 1967 was just two years, well within the duration of the Korean war. So while the two wars did have significant differences, cultural changes in the 15 years also played a major role in the public reaction.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:29 AM
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https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control

The IUD existed at the same time as the pill, and IUDs are highly effective too.

Diaphrams, cervical caps, etc. also existed back then too and those are also effective. All these methods are under the control of the woman arguably.
The IUD popular at the time required an invasive procedure where the physician dilated the cervix to insert the device and diaphrams, cervical caps, and other barrier methods had to be fitted to ensure they worked well. And so far as barrier methods go, there's a difference between method effectiveness and actual effectiveness. One advantage the pill has over other methods is that women no longer had to make sure to take special precautions before sex as the pill took care of all that. It was a game changer.

Other changes included court rulers making contraception available to married or unmarried women. It wasn't until the mid-60s that married women had access to contraceptives in all states and it wasn't until the early 70s until unmarried women had legal access to them in all states.
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:44 AM
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What about the rebellious music? The Doors, for example (among many others)
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by MortSahlFan View Post
What about the rebellious music? The Doors, for example (among many others)
What rebellious music did the Doors put out? CSNY and Jefferson Airplane did more, and to no effect that I can see.

"Volunteers," by the Airplane, was a straightforward call to revolution. A couple of weeks ago I heard it playing in a supermarket.
  #42  
Old 05-22-2020, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
What rebellious music did the Doors put out? CSNY and Jefferson Airplane did more, and to no effect that I can see.

"Volunteers," by the Airplane, was a straightforward call to revolution. A couple of weeks ago I heard it playing in a supermarket.
"Five to One", "The Unknown Soldier" plus a ton of live concerts played to millions of people over a short period of time where Jim would talk.

Last edited by MortSahlFan; 05-22-2020 at 11:57 AM.
  #43  
Old 05-22-2020, 12:13 PM
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This article argues that there was a clear progression from 1950's rock to 1960's rock in rebelliousness:

https://www.csmonitor.com/1999/0827/p17s1.html

This one argues that rock was always associated with moral panics:

https://www.usi.edu/news/releases/20...50s-and-1960s/
  #44  
Old 05-22-2020, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post

Playboy happened in the 50s.

Just on a personal note, I need to correct Wesley Clark. The seventies were a terrible financial decade. There was a recession from 1973-1975 after the first round of oil price hikes. The second round made it worse, with inflation spiking over 20 percent. Jobs were impossible to find. It was so bad that Nixon signed the The Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) to fund jobs, and CETA benefits had to keep lengthening because even after a year people still couldn't get a job. I took a couple of CETA jobs myself and I had been on food stamps for a few months in that blasted 1973. It was my worst decade as an adult and I would have laughed in your face if you told me the boomers had it easy.
Re: the first sentence. I read somewhere years ago that the women's movement was a reaction to the Playboy ethos ... that families were uncool and men should be free to "pollinate" and move on. Or to dump the old, frumpy wife for a young bimbo.

As for your second paragraph, I graduated college in '73, and I can heartily confirm everything you said here. I worked in a department store and was glad to get the work. And the gas shortages were in the 70s, too. Remember lining up for hours on alternate days to hopefully get enough gas to fill your tank? My memories of the 70s were of a lot of angst and financial worry. Also, don't forget that interest on mortgages -- for a long time -- were in double digits, like 19%. I would love to have the "excess" money I paid in interest all those years.
  #45  
Old 05-22-2020, 01:15 PM
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Affluence has been touched on but needs more exposition. The "Generation Gap" was real, contrasting the life experiences of someone born in the USA in 1920-1925 versus someone born in 1945-1950. As children and young adults the older generation went through the Great Depression and World War Two; the younger generation at least in the USA rode ~twenty years of one of the most affluent periods in history. The clash between the survive/thrive mindsets couldn't have been greater.
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Old 05-22-2020, 01:27 PM
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And comic books don't forget the comics.


https://www.npr.org/sections/talk/20...ook_scare.html
  #47  
Old 05-22-2020, 02:13 PM
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But of the dozen or more forms of birth control why was the pill so influential?
For several reasons. One, it was more effective than anything except an IUD. FAR more, compared to a condom, which was the only thing easily available before. Two, it could be used without a man having to know about it, agree to it, or participate in the process. Three, feminism created an avenue where it (along with other forms) was universally available, no questions asked, which had never happened before. I took a bus to Planned Parenthood and got my prescription for the Pill with one appointment. I was fifteen years old. My parents never knew about it.

Sex without inevitable punishment was incredibly novel for women, and it changed the world we live in.

I think that the confluence of widespread, unheard of levels of affluence and the coming of age of a huge number of young people (the Boom) was critical. All these young people with time on their hands, easy money, health, freedom from fear and hardship (at least for whites). An enormously expanded ability to travel was a giant factor-- you could wander through India and Mexico or hitchhike across Europe for almost nothing.

I well remember the sense that the narrow, worried world of our parents was over, and creative new ideas were pouring in like a flood. If you didn't live through it it is hard to grasp just how shockingly refreshingly new these ideas were to most Americans.

Most of this stuff had in reality been around quite awhile (Eastern mysticism, organic gardening, psychotropic drugs, utopian communalism, all predated the 1960's of course) but suddenly they could be experienced by anyone who wanted to try them out, instead of just a few wealthy bohemians in tiny enclaves.
  #48  
Old 05-22-2020, 02:59 PM
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If you want the roots of what's integral to the radical, don't be square or derivative.
  #49  
Old 05-22-2020, 06:30 PM
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Badly needed since all the cars had those big back seats.
That actually may have had something to do with it; even without the back seats. The ready availability of cars meant that most people in their late teens and early twenties had a lot more freedom to go do things their parents didn't know about.

Cars had been around for quite a while, of course. But the switch from war footing production to civilian production meant that there were a lot more of them; as well as a lot more of quite a few other things. That shift in production wasn't instant; and social changes aren't instant -- people who grew up under a previous situation don't shift gears in how they live their lives instantly if they can help it, and people born after WWII took a while to get old enough to do things much differently. Also, I think there was a swing in the 1950's to try to get back to what people found familiar, after they'd survived the war, rationing, etc. - which had quite an impact in the USA even though there was no fighting here, and of course much more impact where there was; so it was mostly the people born after that who were ready for change.

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Originally Posted by Deeg View Post
My vote is that the pill had the largest influence but we're probably overstating the influence of any one thing. The Roaring 20's was just as radical for its time as the 60's and most of the things we're discussing had little to no influence in the 20's. The 20's had the odd incongruence of the liberal (Jazz, movies, flappers) with the conservative (Prohibition).
Agreeing with both parts of that.

The 20's were hugely, wildly radical. We tend to forget that. I don't even think that Prohibition was conservative; at least, in the sense of 'trying to keep things as they have been'. Most of the USA had taken hard cider, beer, and whisky for granted throughout its previous history.

My ten-years-older sister, who was in her teens in the 50's, was seriously shocked when she saw a dress my mother had worn somewhere around the late 20's or early 30's. But there was a lot more to it than just clothes.

And, in the case of both the 20's and the 60's, there were multiple factors involved in the reasons as well as in the expression.

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Originally Posted by Odesio View Post
The IUD popular at the time required an invasive procedure where the physician dilated the cervix to insert the device and diaphrams, cervical caps, and other barrier methods had to be fitted to ensure they worked well. And so far as barrier methods go, there's a difference between method effectiveness and actual effectiveness. One advantage the pill has over other methods is that women no longer had to make sure to take special precautions before sex as the pill took care of all that. It was a game changer.

Other changes included court rulers making contraception available to married or unmarried women. It wasn't until the mid-60s that married women had access to contraceptives in all states and it wasn't until the early 70s until unmarried women had legal access to them in all states.
Very much this; and, as Ulfreida said, the Pill required no cooperation from one's partner; not even waiting while you put in a diaphragm (which, until the 60's or later, you probably couldn't get unless you were married; and might have had trouble getting even if you were.) Your partner didn't even need to know you were taking it.

There was a brief narrow window, between the mid to late 60's and the early 80's, when contraception was readily available, and nearly everybody thought that any STD could easily be treated with antibiotics. That wasn't entirely true even at the time, but it was the general perception. The Pill seemed to be all you needed. The potential sexual freedom of that stretch of time had a lasting effect on the culture.
  #50  
Old 05-22-2020, 09:15 PM
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The Pill also led to feminism via a backlash: In the 1960s men had optimistically presumed (hoped?) that freedom from fear of pregnancy would lead to women joining men in unrestricted swinging promiscuity- which most women did not in fact want. The crassness with which the "Sexual Revolution" often treated women led to women in the 1970s demanding to be taken seriously and not as walking party favors.
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