World War and the Sexual Revolution

There is an article over at First Things touching just the issue of the origins of the revolting sexual revolt. The origin of the sexual revolution, so the argument is made, is the social breakdown ushered in by World War Two.

Because of its scope and intensity, World War II shattered an existing moral consensus, creating a socially unstable situation in which “ordinary” morality was jettisoned. People lived very intensely and with the knowledge that everything, including life itself, was transient. The typical American serviceman in World War II had four sex partners, not counting prostitutes. Venereal disease rates for U.S. servicemen in Europe and Australia reached epidemic proportions that eventually required the military to license and regulate brothels. As Kipling wrote, “Single men in barracks don’t grow into plaster saints”.

While soldiers were fornicating their way across Europe and women on the home front were in contact with men on the war assembly lines, the number of “Dear John” letters received at the front and in the POW cages constituted a real threat to morale. One received in 1944 by a POW in Stalag Luft VII read: “Dear John, I hope you are open-minded, because I just had a baby. His father is a wonderful guy, and he has enclosed some cigars for you”. Of course, most men and women were not promiscuous during the war—just as most men and women today are not—but enough were to have a lasting impact.

After the war, everything was supposed to return to normal, but of course, it did not, and many trends conspired to ensure that they would not, including unprecedented prosperity, social and physical mobility—which broke down traditional ties of family and community, a burning resentment of authority among servicemen and a more relaxed attitude toward sex, growing out of the wartime experience.

My comment: Most servicemen serviced four French girls while humping through the blood-splattered mud of Normandy Beach? Go, Joe!

So maybe, as with most sins, the young teens of ’68 were stirred by envy. They could not save the world, as their fathers did, and they could not service four nubile Euro-damsels grateful to escape Nazi captors.

Your Dad Punched Nazis IN THE FACE

Your Dad Rescued Damsels, and Europe, in Distress

Your Dad Invented the A-Bomb, Flew Aircraft, Blew Nazis to Bits

Your Dad Saved America

Your Dad Saved Europe. And Shot Nazis IN THE FACE.
After a Long Day of Shooting Nazis IN THE FACE,
Your Dad Serviced Lonely yet Nubile French Damsels.
How could you NOT be Jealous?

So the jealous young, unable to match their fathers, turned to Timothy Leary and Rachel Carson to find some crusade of their own to save the world. Hopefully, a crusade not requiring any sacrifice or physical bravery on their part, or any Manhattan-Project level of intellectual effort. (But since they could not invent an atomic power, for example, they could try to make sure it was never used.)

And they rejected, out of envy, the moral strictures that prevented them from playing the wolf toward young women, who were reduced to the role, in the sixties, of bunnies with furball tails.

The resentment toward authority that prevailed after World War Two was one of the factors, or so I have read, which led to the defeat of Churchill after the war, and the election of Attlee and the Labour government. For those of you who do not recognize the name, Attlee played the role in England after the Second World War that Saruman played in the Shire after the War of the Ring — except, in real life, there were no bold hobbit veterans to oppose the ‘Gatherers’ and ‘Sharers.’

Conservatives are often accused of romanticizing the 1950’s. Perhaps so, but if so, the Conservative heart is misplaced: in the 1950’s the intellectuals had already won the only victory on the only battlefield that really counts, which is the battlefield of the mind, the capture of the heart and soul.

If the above article is true, this suggests that the soul of the West had already been captured by the spirit of the postcapitalist, postliberty, and postchristian 1960’s — and the reluctance of the West to abandon its outward forms of liberty and Christianity long after the once-solid tree had succumbed to termite-ridden rottenness in its heart was the source of the main complaint (often, the only complaint)made by the Left toward hypocrisy.

Perhaps their complaint has the shadow of justice behind it? The 1950’s were hypocritical, not because all previous ages of mankind had adopted a hypocritical philosophy which only just then was being overturned, but rather because the 1950’s had abandoned the faith that bloomed in the West since AD 50, and merely had not brought its brain to agree with the darkness and selfishness already in its collective heart.