In the 1960s and early ‘70s, the United States was convulsed by massive protests calling for radical changes in the country’s attitudes on race, class, gender and sexual orientation. The Vietnam War and widespread college deferments were likely the fuel that ignited prior peaceful civil disobedience.
Sometimes the demonstrations became violent, as with the Watts riots of 1965 and the protests at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. Terrorists from the Weathermen (later called the Weather Underground) bombed dozens of government buildings.
The ‘60s revolution introduced to the country everything from hippies, communes, free love, mass tattooing, commonplace profanity, rampant drug use, rock music and high divorce rates to the war on poverty, massive government growth, feminism, affirmative action and race/gender/ethnic college curricula.
The enemies of the ‘60s counterculture were the “establishment” — politicians, corporations, the military and the “square” generation in general. Leftists targeted their parents, who had grown up in the Great Depression. That generation had won World War II and returned to create a booming postwar economy. After growing up with economic and military hardship, they sought a return to comfortable conformity in the 1950s.
A half-century after the earlier revolution, today’s cultural revolution is vastly different — and far more dangerous.