Liberalism, the Me Decade, and Now 

Commentary Who could have imagined that liberalism would be so fragile, so easily and righteously abandoned? I don’t mean the collapse of that cornerstone of American liberalism, the First Amendment, though the hounding of religion out of the public square, the rising mistrust of free speech, the decay of the press into a partisan club, and free association repeatedly challenged in the courts are trends certainly sufficient to mark a nation in (probably) inevitable decline. I mean, instead, the end of liberalism in social life, that free-wheeling attitude of Live-and-Let-Live and Do-Your-Own-Thing and Whatever-Floats-Your-Boat that was the main upshot of the cultural revolution of the 1960s. We think of the ’60s and images of righteous fury come to mind, the Black Panthers and campus takeovers and assassinations, but by the mid-70s the militance had largely dissipated as a social force. The Vietnam War was over and there was no more …

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Mark Bauerlein
Author: Mark Bauerlein

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