Family Guy Values

One of the reasons the GOP has such a hard time selling “family values”, at least to the mass political market, is that those values have slowly changed over recent history.

Johnathan Fitzgerald in the DBeast chronicles the slow, steady drip of decay:

 The sitcoms from the 1980s and 90s were on the leading edge of this shift. What those cheesy shows with nontraditional family arrangements like Full House or Who’s the Boss were doing back then was preparing the American public for a radical redefinition of family in a safe—and comical—environment.

But the shift in the moral landscape goes back much further. Television in the 1950s portrayed a stringent vision of a traditional family—think Leave it to Beaver, I Love Lucy, or Father Knows Best—shows that one can easily imagine playing on repeat in the Romney living room. But it wasn’t long before new sitcoms appeared and began to show the cracks and break the model. In the 1960s, Bewitched, The Addams Family, and The Munsters maintained the traditional family model, but used nontraditional characters, a witch and an assortment of monsters, to change the formula. In shows like Family Affair, The Andy Griffith Show, and My Three Sons, single parents—because of death, not divorce—appeared for the first time.

And then the “family” became a vehicle for writers with agendas:..

In many ways, the 1970s revealed just how influential the primetime sitcom could be. In a recent review in The New York Times of the DVD box set of the popular 70s sitcom All in the Family, Neil Genzlinger noted that, “before All in the Family sitcoms were largely something to tune in for escape and reassurance. But as of Jan. 12, 1971, when All in the Family had its premiere on CBS as a midseason replacement, comedies suddenly had permission to be relevant.”

…as well as reflect the results of the agenda with a big happy face:

And in the 1980s and 90s, popular culture began to explore dysfunction in families, as in The Simpsons and Married With Children, both objects of consternation from the GOP at the time.

The whole thing is worth a read, not because it’s especially prescient – doy, it’s history – but as food for thought to explore the following question:

Conservatives ceded the culture war to liberals forty years ago.  How much has America suffered for it?

6 thoughts on “Family Guy Values

  1. ” How much has America suffered for it?”

    •Number of marriages: 2,077,000
    •Marriage rate: 6.8 per 1,000 total population
    •Divorce rate: 3.4 per 1,000 population (44 reporting States and D.C.)

    41% of NYC pregnancies end in abortion
    non-Hispanic Blacks have a 59.8% abortion rate.

    “Suicides among young people continue to be a serious problem. Each year in the U.S., thousands of teenagers commit suicide. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-to-24-year-olds, and the sixth leading cause of death for 5-to-14-year-olds.”

    “For some teenagers, divorce, the formation of a new family with step-parents and step-siblings, or moving to a new community can be very unsettling and can intensify self-doubts. For some teens, suicide may appear to be a solution to their problems and stress.”

    Make no mistake; this is the legacy of 50 years of “progressive” influence on American culture. When I say leftists won’t be happy until we are indistinguishable from roaming packs of mongrel dogs (save our loincloths), I’m not kidding.

    Hell; we’re not so very far from that right now.

  2. Maybe I’m biased as the daddy of six kids, but I’d argue that the changes of the family started a LOT earlier than the 1950s. How many kids were on “Leave it to Beaver” anyways?

    (the plunge in fecundity actually started in the late 1800s, and accelerated during Roosevelt’s Great Depression/with the acceptance of birth control at that time)

    As others note, huge problems exist due to the Sexual Revolution, but let’s keep in mind that it started not during the 1960s, but arguably during the 1880s. Teddy Roosevelt wrote disapprovingly about plunging birthrates in the late 1800s.

    Maybe it’s a very good thing that the Duggars have a show now? Maybe a few more such shows are needed?

  3. I had drinks with a management guru last evening, talking about how to manage employees from different generations. He claims Gen Xers were “raised by wolves” meaning they were the latch-key kids whose parents were divorced or if married, both working, so Xers learned their own survival skills, not those of their parents’ or grandparents’ generation. To effectively manage Xers, you must use different skills than you’d use with their parents.

    His focus is the workplace but I wonder about the public policy implications. Government nanny-state policies enacted with the best intentions “For The Children” resulted in a generation “raised by wolves.” Is that good for society, long-term? And what about their kids: will they have the ability – or even the desire – to uphold a social order designed for a different set of people?

    Burke claimed life without enough government was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. We’ll soon see what happens with too much government.

  4. The success of liberal initiatives, and the defeat of socially conservative senate Tea Party candidates and Mitt Romney suggest a movement towards a more socially liberal country. Historically, the last great economic dislocation in the 1930s also led to rapid social liberalization as conservatives, exposed as unable to manage a successful economy, lost their moral sway as well. This seems to be happening in the wake of today’s economic crisis. The social compact allows the establishment to dictate moral and political standards as long as it delivers stability and prosperity.

    On a contrary note, the success of the House Republicans (widely regarded as a bulwark against rising taxes), the widespread success of Republicans in state government, and the preference for Romney over Obama with regards to managing the economy (and little else) argues that fiscal conservatism is alive and well. The Democratic party has the lead on their embrace of libertarian with their social liberalism, but the opening for small government, balanced budget Republicans is clear if they can learn to silence the voices for social conservatism, and selectively embrace a few socially liberal goals (and embrace immigration reform).

    The young, educated elite who create jobs and lead opinion trends are socially liberal and fiscally conservative. They support useful benefits and efficient government but not deficits or bureaucracy. The boomers, who have become less socially liberal with age and have always been fiscally profligate, are electorally important today but a diminishing breed. Getting in front of the libertarian trend will require adjustment by both parties, the Republicans most obviously, but the Democrats too. Some of the members of the Democratic coalition are pulling them the wrong direction.

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