Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Did 1968 Win the Culture War?

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Fifty years ago this year, the ’60s revolution sought to overturn American customs, traditions, ideology, and politics.

The ’60s radicals eventually grew older, cut their hair, and joined the establishment. Most thought their revolution had fizzled out in the early 1970s without much effect, as Americans returned to “normal.”

But maybe the ’60s, not the silent majority, won out after all. The world a half-century later looks a lot more like 1968 and what followed than what preceded it.

Most of the political and cultural agenda from that turbulent period — both the advances and the regressions — has long been institutionalized. The military draft, for good or bad, has remained defunct. There is greater transparency in politics, fewer smoke-filled rooms. Disabled children, once ostracized or dismissively labeled “retarded,” are now far better integrated into society and treated more ethically as special-needs kids. The rights of women, racial minorities, and the LGBT community are now widely accepted.

Yet lifestyles have been radically altered — and often not for the good. Before the late ’60s, most Americans married before having children; afterwards, not so much. One-parent households are now far more common.

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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