NEW AMERICAN CIVIL WAR:
commentators saw the Sixties as a new American Civil War. Not
unlike the old one between the North and South during the 1860's.
Yet, it was a cultural civil war with almost no bloodshed fought
in the media, the schools, and the culture instead of on the
battlefields like the earlier civil war which had killed over
half a million Americans. Many cross-currents during the Sixties
and Seventies clashed with each other as American society became
more fragmented and polarized from multiple directions while
business and government became more and more centralized. Life
became more speeded up as consumer-led activity became more
and more socially dominant and new technologies created shorter
and shorter production cycles.
the turn of the century, all these trends finally began to go
global. America became just another arena for global production
and consumption even as it set new global trends for the rest
of the world. America was caught in a new bind. It had always
had a strong Puritan work ethic which favored hard work and
frugal living. Which now had given way to constant consumption
and debt accumulation. This tension was now creating new problems
as many Americans from all walks of life became poorer and less
educated. While a minority of Americans became even richer and
more isolated from the rest of America.
cultural creatives began to see that the birth of three kinds
of America could actually be leading to the birth of three new
kinds of worlds on Earth. The struggle between traditional and
modern Americans before the Sixties was now playing out globally
as traditional societies became sucked into the modern consumption
machine created by the American and foreign Multinational Corporations.
The first serious echo of this struggle was broadcast live on
CNN on September 11th, 2001.
in 1999, in Seattle many Cultural Creatives joined the protest
against global big business for the first time. For many Americans,
all American institutions were now suspect, but from different
cultural angles. The attack on America from traditionals coming
from other parts of the planet helped unite all Americans temporarily,
but also helped to high-light many of the same tensions within
America itself. Those between moderns and traditionals. And
those between moderns and cultural creatives.
Americans were also now living longer. In traditional and early
modern societies most people lived until age sixty-five if not
less. Adulthood began at age eighteen, if not earlier. Now many
Americans were living until age seventy-five if not longer.
This was creating new demographic shifts especially as less
Americans were born in general. For many Americans, adulthood
now did not really begin until age thirty and a second adulthood
often did not start until age forty-five. Many Americans now
had greater life choices with more time to make them. This was
all very new and confusing.