Why Both Counterculturs Failed


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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13 Responses

  1. Avatar veronica d says:

    “Meaningness” is a pretty fun site, even if it’s overwrought in some places. In any case, I call myself a “moral nihilist who practices virtue ethics cuz it happens to run well on my wetware.”

    (I shouldn’t have to explain what I mean by that to this crowd.)

    In any case, yeah. This all seems to boil down to “dialectics 101.”Report

  2. Avatar Kolohe says:


    1950s America was peak Armed and Armored Eternalism in American history – and a good chunk of that was literal.Report

  3. Avatar Pinky says:

    Interesting site. Thanks for posting this. I can tell that the author likes sweeping generalizations, but then again who doesn’t?Report

  4. Avatar j r says:

    I found Meaningness through Scott Alexander’s blog and it’s another example of how people writing for free, for their own edification are routinely putting out content many times more thoughtful and well-researched than the median paid internet journalist.

    There is also on the blog (here: https://meaningness.com/metablog/stem-fluidity-bridge) a really interesting analysis of the stages of human development and why it’s so difficult for people to evolve past certain stages in our contemporary culture.Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    A definition of the two counter cultures would have helpedReport

    • Avatar j r says:

      Three lines in there is a link to this post: https://meaningness.com/monism-dualism-countercultures, which starts off with:

      “The counterculture” generally refers to the youth movement of the 1960s-70s: rock and roll, anti-war protests, psychedelics, the New Left, hippies, and the sexual revolution. While puzzling out how these elements cohered—to understand the counterculture functionally and structurally—I had a peculiar realization.

      A second movement shared “the” counterculture’s abstract features—its structure and function. Based in Christian Fundamentalism, it might be called “the Moral Majority,” after one of its main organizations. It too offered “a new, alternative, universalist, eternalist, anti-rational system.” This was the same mode of relating to meaningness, even though its content was deliberately opposed to most of what the hippie counterculture stood for.


  6. Avatar dhex says:

    a lack of spellcheck?Report

  7. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    This is some very high academic gibberish that proves nothing.Report

  8. My principal criticism is the author’s sweeping generalizations, especially about the 1950s. The author does probably capture what at least one of the countercultures–the hippy version–thought of the 1950s. The evangelicals, for however much they might have romanticized the 1950s in retrospect, were probably as a group none too pleased with developments on the national level during the decade while it was happening.

    Otherwise, though, I do find article interesting, and it “rings” true to me. I don’t think I’d read this site before.Report