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By Philip Jenkins

Why did the younger optimism and openness of the sixties cave in to Ronald Reagan and the spirit of conservative reaction--a spirit that continues to be ascendant today?

Drawing on a big selection of sources--including tabloid journalism, renowned fiction, video clips, and tv shows--Philip Jenkins argues amazing confluence of panics, scares, and some actual threats created a weather of worry that ended in the conservative response. He identifies 1975 to 1986 because the watershed years. in this time, he says, there has been a pointy bring up in perceived threats to our defense at domestic and out of the country. At domestic, the USA looked to be threatened by way of mammoth criminals--serial killers, baby abusers, Satanic cults, and predatory drug purchasers, to call quite a few.

On the foreign scene, we have been faced by means of the Soviet Union and its evil empire, by way of OPEC with its stranglehold on worldwide oil, by way of the Ayatollahs who made hostages of our diplomats in Iran. more and more, those hazards started to be defined when it comes to ethical evil. Rejecting the radicalism of the '60s, which many observed because the resource of the drawback, american citizens followed a extra pessimistic interpretation of human habit, which harked again to a lot older subject matters in American tradition. This easier yet darker imaginative and prescient eventually introduced us Ronald Reagan and the ascendancy of the political correct, which greater than 20 years later exhibits no signal of loosening its grip.

Writing in his ordinary crisp and witty prose, Jenkins bargains a very unique and persuasive account of a interval that maintains to fascinate the yank public. it truly is absolute to captivate someone who lived via this era, in addition to all those that are looking to comprehend the forces that transformed--and proceed to define--the American political panorama.

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These included the revelation of the vast damage caused by a chemical landfill at the Love Canal site near Niagara Falls, a story that first came to public attention in 1976. Love Canal pointed to the longterm effects of dumping hazardous wastes and added the term PCB to popular demonology. Also in 1976, the media reported the catastrophic leakage of poisonous dioxin at Seveso, Italy. 41 In the same years, newer ecological theories urged the defense of nature and wilderness for their own sake, not just for any possible human benefit.

And speculated about Frankenstein monsters. The following year, a symposium on recombinant DNA was stormed by protesters who denounced genetic research, as well as much of modern science. Bitter rhetoric also dominated the debate over E. O. Wilson’s book Sociobiology, which critics compared to Nazi texts because of its leaning toward genetic determinism. 35 38 mainstreaming the sixties In a time of wide-ranging cultural crisis, it seemed natural to turn within, to explore inner resources and needs.

Changing the official response to rape represented another key front for political action. Women Against Rape (WAR) groups appeared about 1972, and in 1973 the National Organization for Women (NOW) created a rape task force. One provocative title from 1974 was The Politics of Rape, by Diana E. H. Russell. The idea that a crime such as rape might be a political phenomenon was integral to feminist ideology, but it represented a major departure in public views of sex crime. In 1975, Susan Brownmiller’s influential text Against Our Will presented rape as a direct counterpart of lynching, a collective act of terrorism by which one social group held another in subjection.

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