Saturday, October 6, 2007

Cultural Change: Where Are We Headed?

Posted by Teresa at 10:04 AM

Click on picture for image source

American society and culture is ever changing. Some would
even say there is a culture war going on right now. Ok, I'm
exaggerating Bill O'Reilly says there is culture war against
social progressives and traditionalists. I don't want to discuss
the 'culture wars' in this post. I do want to talk about how war
brings about cultural and societal change.

Throughout modern history the trend is to fluctuate from more
traditional values to progressive ideals. It seems each generation
backlashes at each other. After War World II, we had the 1950s
a more subdued American culture where church attendance was
high
and there was a large societal sentiment of conservatism
and anti-Communist feelings
. As we know there was also racial
inequality and restrictive gender roles during this time period.

Then came the 1960s and the counterculture, which was basically a
backlash from from the social norms of the 1950s. In 1964 The Civil
Rights Acts was passed. Another movement happening during this
time period was the Sexual Revolution. Some of the sexual taboos
of previous generations were broken down. During the 1970s there
was disillusionment with government because of the Vietnam War.
The 1980s saw us back to more conservative and economic prosperous
times. There was more talk about about "family values" and the rise of
religious conservatism. Of course, there were contrary trends during
these time periods. For example, the 1980s saw the birth of MTV and
a high divorce rate, which really contradicted the pro-family agenda
being talked about by the government.

Ok, I just gave this brief synopsis of how culture has changed
through the decades to help us see where we might be headed right
now. Sometimes reflecting on the past helps decide what road we
want to take next. On September 11, 2001, we were shaken as a
people and were greatly united. We are now in a war against terrorism.
The war in Iraq again has brought us disillusionment in our government.

I think this is a pivotal time for us as an American people to decided
what is important to us as a collective. What do we care about?
What are things in our society we want and can change? What do we want
to keep the same? What are the moral values we want to show the next
generation?

I hope we can find a balance between traditional and progressive values.
Traditions aren't always bad. Sometimes traditions are the ties that bind
us. They can also get in the way of changes that need to be made. We should
always be striving for social progress. We always want to be challenging
ourselves to be better as a people. However, let's not just kick down social
norms and traditions because it feels good.

I like to put a up a video that is related to my topic. I found the video below on
Youtube. Although it mostly deals with pop culture; I think it does a fine
job on defining culture.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Cultural Change: Where Are We Headed?"

I think we are headed in a direction away from individualism, personal responsibility, and what some have noted as 'the death of the grown-up'.

I think there has been a tendancy for too much humor...too much emphasis on being amused. We've become the 'ha-ha' culture. The classic image of bread and circuses.

My point is not to diminish humor in its appropriate context, because we all need a laugh now and then in order not to go crazy, but to point out that there seems to be a real lack of seriousness about the important things that affect our lives (like our obvious march toward Socialism) as opposed to manufactured issues like 'social justice' and the like.

Ayn Rand once noted that the smallest minority is the individual. Unfortunately, some don't believe it's actually the only minority...

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