The U.S. is a confused, unsettled nation. But green shoots are quietly sprouting.
Happy Independence Day, America! And greetings from Ukraine. ✊
Does this mean that kpop is the new disco?
I love the optimistic forecast! And agree.
Bad times pass into better ones. Although the current gens music doesn't enthrall me. Although there are awesome performers.
Just 69 here! Obviously the 60s had the trauma of assassinations, Vietnam, Nixon. And the best decade of music, necessary and positive political protests and change.
My 70s also had great music, personal computers, internet, email and the start of millions of travel miles everywhere, and marriage 46 yrs ago. Vietnam ended.
President Carter I believe began the recovery of American self-healing. Gets no credit for it. The Arab oil embargo caused inflation. Ending Vietnam caused unemployment. Out of his hands. But ny wife and I were very optimistic then.
The right wing extreme conservative policies will not stand either. They are negative. And America is still a positive people.
.Happy 4th of July.
Lee retreats from Gettysburg, as the greatest man not on Mt. Rushmore, U.S. Grant, defeats the bad guys at Vicksburg. Read the best bio ever, Ron Chernows Grant.
Love your referencing the Perlstein books. If you haven’t seen it already, you may enjoy Bruce Schulman’s The Seventies, which is equally wonderful.
Happy Fourth Noah and readers
This period certainly does rhyme with the late 60s/early 70s period, but I feel as though we're still battling through a period of upheaval unlike anything my parents' generation faced. I talk to them about this all the time, and both say today's broken political system with threats from the far-right and extremism infecting local neighborhoods is simply worse than anything from that period.
Having said that, there are promising portents ahead. As you call out, Noah, this administration seems to be investing in America's future, not groveling over how to divide the pieces right now. So, there's at least one promising sign. And there seems to be a lot less insanity in the spotlight in 2023, as opposed to any of the last 3 years. I hope that trend continues!
Interesting take, and I appreciate the optimistic tone. But one important difference between the 2020s and the 1970s is extreme partisan polarization. The Nixon/Trump analogy is revealing -- Nixon was ultimately tossed out by his own partisans, but Trump, for much worse sins than Nixon ever committed, is on his way to the GOP nomination in 2024.
This is a complex topic.
Civil rights WAS a huge issue, but I think it would be more accurate to say the 60’s upheavals ERUPTED (was catalyzed and initiated by) a mixture of ingredients, including 1) the birth control pill - which dramatically lowered risk of pregnancy for the first time in history, followed by 2) the Viet Nam war, which not only killed and physically wounded thousands of young Americans, it also brought young people home with PTSD from the atrocities of war, AND the drugs from Southeast Asia (pot, hash, heroin) to medicate their pain... and pass those drugs along to the rest of the young people anxious for a new way to get high, followed by, 3) the release of LSD in the Bay Area in the early 60’s (it wasn’t illegal until 1967), which created was the final ingredient needed in the war-sex-drugs-rock and roll cocktail explosion. 4) Let’s add the assassination of JFK in 1963 - followed by the assassinations of MLK and Bobby Kennedy a month apart in 1968, followed by the spectacle of the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago.
Happy 4th of July!
I’m proud to live in an imperfect but (still) free country where we have an ever-evolving public square that allows us to debate our ideas and vote.
That was a preposterous idea (self-governance and free speech) that (I believe) has been a net positive for humanity.
Keep up the great work you are doing Noah, it’s needed now more than ever.
I am in my early 60s and I absolutely loved the 70s! It really was my time.
1. The first Earth Day was in 1970 and it kicked off a decade of environmental movement actions that were both amazingly successful and frankly a lot of fun. The first vision of what the country could be as a solar nation. As a child in an activist family I also enjoyed the music and environmentalist culture of the time.
2. Architecture and design hit a high point. Actually innovative change in many intellectual fields deeply changed those fields in the 70s. (I do really wish, though, that the architects of the 1970s had chosen more durable materials.) By the 80s there was a reaction, architecture and design got much worse.
3. I learned to program in 1970 and definitely rode the wave. Alan Kay's vision of computing as an expressive, universal community of practice though the programming language Smalltalk (1972-1980). The invention of the GUI interface. Ted Nelson's book "Computer Lib/Dream Machines" (1974) described a vision that became the web a decade later. A revolution in online communities with Turroff's EIES system (1974-78), and an exploration of what a networked country would mean for human society in "Network Nation" by Hiltz and Turoff (1978).
Yes, the 1970s also had its share of problems. The metastasis of drug culture (horrible), public corruption, violence, and bad political events. But from my teenage point of view the deep disappointments did not show up until 1980. I hope this new era, if like the 1970s, includes some of the good parts too.
I genuinely hope you are right. Happy 4th, Noah!
Am always a fan of optimism.
Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." - Mark Twain
I like this essay. It's optimistic. But I also think it's based upon old notions which have been obliterated by religious fanatics who want to force us all to live according to their (various) (mis-) interpretations of their sacred texts. We're still in deep, deep water.
I’m looking forward to listening to the ‘Rumors’ of the 2020s.
I get the comparisons and you may be right but if Ray Dalio and George Friedman, among others, are correct about several long term cycles all coalescing now the late 1920s may be a more apt scenario to compare with (stock market bubbles, asset bubbles, divisive politics, maybe a Warren Harding/Trump corruption connection).
It's hopefully a sign that better things are ahead
So whatever happened to BLM apart from showing a country can be burned down and hustled by race hustlers,politicians, the media and grifters who go off with the money after taking advantage of tragic events.
Where to begin -- lived through it all, now twice. The differences? This has become a much more predatory country. Tech abuse caused a a lot of it, overtly or covertly, socially or financially, so fear of loss is pervasive. Education has changed from a balance of personal and professional to all professional, so people do not learn human care as they used to -- note today's youth mental illness and violence. Therefore, health is worse, obesity more prevalent, child care poor, intact marriages at a new low, college pricey, poverty and income gap growing, and 45% cannot afford retirement or understand that social security will be a pittance if it's there at all. Teaching in the 70s in a large city, I did not see homeless people living for years on the streets. All told, things are better now for those sectors that comprise happy econ data or political outcomes, but worse for the overall human quality of life. I suspect the normalization of the 'abnormal' prevents objective analysis. Seems like level of fear now is causing many people to retreat and try to save themselves, polarizing the country from the top down, just when the thing that works is common cause and action. The 70s conditions and their fallout were not existential or intractable like some we have now but many, like climate change, were forecast.