Jonathan Leaf’s The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Sixties (The Politically Incorrect Guides) offers a contrary look at a decade that remains extremely controversial today. Leaf argues that the 1960s remained an extremely conservative decade culturally, and that the counterculture with which the decade is usually associated was very marginal but extremely destructive in the long term as it took over academia.
However, before reading Leaf’s book I knew from various sources that in fact Leaf’s view is simplistic at best and wrong at worst.
On the other side of Christianity is Albert Ayler, an intensely religious man and a classic GI, but whose Spiritual Unity is credited with inspiring punk and was an “underground” Leaf ignores. Meditations by John Coltrane is similar if not nearly so traditional and more mystical. Ivan Illich’s Deschooling Society (Open Forum S) and Gender are two of the most influential books on conservative grassroots movements today, and come out of the same tradition as radical movements of the decade. So does paleoconservative hero Murray Rothbard, whose America's Great Depression questioned the military-industrial state of FDR like nothing else.
The Real Anti-Religion Radicalism Leaf hints that the most radical period of American history was the 1970s and 1980s rather than the 1960s. Studies, for instance of sexual behaviour show the the greatest rises in extramarital sex occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The Bush Senior Era, when such metal, industrial and rap albums as Straight Outta Compton: 20th Anniversary Edition, Vulgar Display of Power and The Downward Spiral made the celebration of violence mainstream in Europe, “Blue” America, Canada and New Zealand, was the real radical hotbed of modern times. During the attempted “conservative revolution” of the Reagan Era these attitudes, despite efforts by commerical radio at suppression, became mainstream amongst youth. For example, Master of Puppets, claimed to be anti-war, actually condones it if you read the lyrics carefully, saying that people have the right to use violence without pity or restraint to preserve their uniqueness. Benjamin Wiker ought to study these albums to write a “Ten More Books That Screwed Up the World”, whilst the best book not only for the less conservative is Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground New Edition, where you see how radical European culture has become.
A Final Word The evolution of culture is a complex topic, and what is politically palatable in today’s polarised world can be shown by experts to be far from the clear truth in many cases. Much of what I have suggested here took me a long time to recognise, but I feel I have gained from doing so.
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Subversive Orthodoxy: Outlaws, Revolutionaries, and Other Christians in Disguise by Robert Inchausti
Jack Kerouac (Biography (Lerner Hardcover)) by Alison Behnke
Dorothy Day: A Biography by William Miller
By Little & By Little: The Selected Writings of Dorothy Day by Dorothy Day
The Rough Guide to the Lord of the Rings (Rough Guide Reference) by ROUGH GUIDES
Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature ... America (or at least the Republican Party) by Rod Dreher
Mass in F Minor by The Electric Prunes
Gender by Ivan Illich
Decadence and Catholicism by Ellis Hanson
Julian of Norwich: Mystic and Theologian by Grace Jantzen
Eric Gill by Fiona MacCarthy
Free Jazz by Ornette Coleman
Blind Joe Death Volume 1 by John Fahey
Unknown Legends of Rock 'n' Roll by Richie Unterberger
Ecumenical Jihad: Ecumenism and the Culture War by Peter Kreeft
TNT [Import] by AC/DC
The Civilization of the Goddess: The World of Old Europe by Marija Gimbutas
Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols (UK Version) [Import] by Sex Pistols