The Ten Revolutions of the 1960s and Their Meaning for Today


Article #349

by Bill Nugent


Where were you in 1968? That was a frequent question posed in the years following the most turbulent decade in American history.

The 1960s was a time of revolutionary change in the United States and in Western Europe and all across the globe. It can be argued that the revolutionary changes that occurred in that 10-year period were greater than all the changes that occurred in the hundred years before that time.

A correct understanding of these revolutions is crucial to understanding where we are in world history at this time in the year 2020. In studying this period of time we see that there were ten revolutions.

The ten revolutions are:

1) The Civil Rights revolution was carried out in the years of demonstrations and marches led by Martin Luther King Jr and many other civil rights leaders. It was given great momentum by the passage of the civil Rights act of 1964 and the voting Rights act of 1965. There was rioting in over 150 American cities, nevertheless, much good came out of the civil rights movement. Discrimination was outlawed in America.

2) The welfare revolution of the 1960s was brought about in large measure by the War on Poverty of President Lyndon Johnson and his package of legislation called the Great Society enacted in 1965. This resulted in literally trillions of dollars of federal spending through dozens of public assistance programs in the years that followed. An unintended consequence was that it devolved into a “war on fathers” because single mothers lose their benefits if they marry the fathers of their children. This encouraged fathers to abandon their families. The current welfare state supports millions of single mothers today.

3) The sexual revolution of the 1960s is probably the revolution that has had the greatest impact of all the revolutions. This was brought about by many factors including the seminal 1963 book The feminine mystique by Betty Friedan and other books and articles by feminist authors. They launched The Women’s Liberation Movement which championed equality in education and career opportunity but also, unfortunately, legalization of abortion. Feminism was given much momentum by the civil Rights act of 1964 which prohibited discrimination based on sex. Attitudes toward family and child rearing changed so rapidly that the Baby Boom ended in 1965 and birth rates plummeted to below-replacement-level by 1971 and haven’t recovered much since.

4) The Homosexual Revolution was launched when homosexuals violently resisted police during a raid at the Stonewall Inn, a bar in Greenwich Village, lower Manhattan, New York City, June 28 – July 3rd 1969. The gay riots are commemorated by gay pride marches yearly since 1970. Several homosexual organizations and newspapers were started soon after Stonewall. This ultimately led to the promotion of the gay agenda and the imposition of homosexual marriage on all 50 states by the US Supreme Court in 2015.

5) The drug revolution of the 1960s was brought about by a cultural change in which the use of illicit drugs spread from the fringes of society into the mainstream of the suburban middle class. Drugs such as marijuana, LSD and heroin became commonplace on college campuses and in other segments of society in Western Europe and the United states.

6) The immigration revolution started with the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 which greatly expanded immigration and allowed immigrants into America from regions other than Europe including Africa, Asia and South America.

7) The trade revolution of the 1960s began with the passage of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. This act enabled the president of the United States to reduce tariffs up to 80% on goods imported into the United States. This was used in the negotiations for the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). This paved the way for the export of jobs from the United States to low-wage countries. Corporations could sidestep Union wages and import goods from countries where low wage workers could do manufacturing work at a fraction of American wages. The effect of the immigration and trade revolutions was to import workers and export jobs. This resulted in corporate profits rising and American workers’ wages falling.

8) The religious revolution was reflected in the vast changes in the Catholic church which occurred as a result of the Second Vatican General Council held from 1962 to 1965. It brought liberalization of Catholic doctrine. Also during this time, the liberal mainstream Protestant denominations continued their March to the left with everything from anti-war activity to liberalization of morals. Evangelical Christianity had a time of a great revival towards the end of the 1960s. It was called The Jesus Movement in which people came to Christ in huge numbers, especially young people of college age.

9) The anti-war revolution was in reaction to the unpopular US involvement in the Vietnam War. It resulted in the ending of the draft, liberalization of the military, expansion of the role of women in the military and a general increase in resistance to government war policies.

10) The philosophical revolution resulted the dominant philosophy of western civilization going from modern to postmodern. This has had a profound effect on western politics and culture. It’s also reflected in the young people of the 1960s beginning to use slogans such as “Do your own thing.” That phrase is something that echoes postmodernism. Postmodernism is a philosophical system where each person essentially makes up his or her own morals and rejects God’s absolute truth. The Summer of Love which occurred in San Francisco in the summer of 1967 was also a time of expression of great individual independence and departure from traditional values. It also brought in a time of so-called “free love” which is sexual immorality and fornication.

The sum total of the ten revolutions caused a massive cultural shift and transformation of western civilization. The outflow of the revolutions rapidly changed attitudes all during the 1970s, 80s and down to our own day. In western civilization, there are really just three basic philosophical worldviews: the Judeo-Christian, the modern and the postmodern.

The Judeo-Christian worldview maintains that there are moral absolutes and these absolute truths are given to us by God by revelation and are written in the Bible. Biblical morals include the Ten Commandments, the teachings of Jesus and the sacredness of human life. God’s commandments apply to all people at all times in all cultures. Moral absolutes are universal, objective truths. America was founded in 1776 as a Christian country. The Judeo-Christian worldview was dominant.

The modern worldview claims that moral absolutes can be discovered by human reason alone without the aid of divine revelation. Modernism, since it arose in post-renaissance Christian Europe, was nevertheless influenced by Christian concepts of justice and morality. Modernism is also dependent on Natural Law as a starting point for its reasoning. Modernists looked to nature rather than the Bible but they still believed in moral absolutes. The absolutes were manmade principles derived from rationalism, empiricism and pragmatism. America became predominantly modernist during the period roughly from 1870 to 1960. Famous modernist philosophers were Descartes, Hume, Locke, Voltaire, Rousseau, Hegel and the American pragmatist, William James

The postmodern worldview claims that no moral absolutes exist. Morals are simply made up by the will of each person. This is radical existentialism and moral relativism. American culture and education, especially the universities, made the shift from modern to postmodern during the 1960s. Anti-intellectualism is really the postmodern rejection of modernist dogma and absolutes. Postmodernist philosophers include Jacques Derrida, Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre.

God’s standards do not change. God gave us moral absolutes by revelation. The mass murder of the unborn by abortion is serious sin. American postmodern culture accepts many practices that God abhors. All humankind is accountable to God and will be judged by God in the afterlife.

It’s very important to look at the revolutions of the 1960s and to study them because presently there are political and academic movements that wish to expand the revolutions of the 1960s to an even more radical turning away from traditional values. There are people who wish to create a revolutionary socialist utopia. Socialism is really just a euphemism for totalitarianism. Socialism is a word that sounds good. However, the radical society of socialism must be enforced by a tyrannical government. That government would be a totalitarian government, a government of cradle to the grave “security” and cradle to the grave control by government. The expansion of the 1960s revolutions would be a world of anthill regimentation, misery and dystopia.

In the 1960s, the social turmoil and radical overthrow of traditional values had a way of waking people up and causing them to take a new look at their lives and their future destiny. Many of these people began to look to Jesus. This helped cause the launch of The Jesus Movement of the late 1960s and early 70s. There is a new revival that is happening again today. Society is so chaotic now and people are so unmoored that they are taking a fresh look at Christianity.

People are looking to Jesus. They’re seeing the timeless wisdom of the Bible, its family values, it’s moral stability and it’s moral order. They’re also looking at the miracles. God gave us miracles. Jesus worked miracles and they proved that He is the Son of God. Jesus came in fulfillment of over 300 prophecies written in the Old testament hundreds of years before his birth. No other person in all of world history can make this claim. Jesus worked healing miracles in front of eyewitnesses. The apostles and others who followed Jesus also worked miracles. Down through history, even to our own time, there are miracles of healing and other types of miracles that occur in answer to Christian prayer.

The Old testament prophets foretold that there would be a coming Messiah. “Christ” is another word for “Messiah.” The Hebrew prophets foretold that Christ would come to die for the sins of the people. The LORD has laid on him [Christ] the iniquity of us all” Isaiah 53:6. Jesus suffered and died, taking the penalty of our sins upon Himself and then He rose from the dead to offer forgiveness of sins to all who turn to Him in repentance. I invite you to turn to Christ today to receive forgiveness of sins

Steps to salvation:

Jesus said “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).

  • 1) Believe that God created you and loves you and sent the Messiah (Messiah is Hebrew for Christ) to redeem you.
  • 2) Believe that Jesus Christ came in fulfillment of over 300 Bible prophecies to die for you, to take upon Himself the penalty of your sins (Isaiah 53:5-6, John 6:29, Romans 4:5, First Peter 3:18).
  • 3) Turn from sin and call on the name of Jesus to receive forgiveness of sins (Romans 10:13).
  • 4) Receive Jesus as Savior and experience the new birth (John 1:12, Acts 2:38).
  • 5) Follow Jesus Christ as Lord (John 14:21).

Prayer to receive salvation:

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

To receive the salvation that Jesus purchased for us at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on our behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer:

“Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask for your forgiveness on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!

(C) 2016 William P. Nugent, permission granted to email or republish for Christian outreach.

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