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Subject: How Alex P. Keaton Predicted The New Conservative Movement

Written By: Voiceofthe70s on 01/30/20 at 12:37 pm

Here is an article of interest from the conservative leaning website The Federalist called "How Alex P. Keaton predicted the New Conservative Movement".  I myself on several occasions here have pointed to the Alex P. Keaton character, played so well by actor Michael J. Fox in the 1980s "Family Ties" TV series as the great example of the "young-1980s/Gen X- conservative-as-rebel-against-hippie/Boomer-parents." Coming, as I did, out of the aesthetic of the 60s and 70s, it seemed very jarring to me in the 80s that young people would suddenly be so conservative. But it was the Reagan 80s and it was only natural that the next generation would rebel against it's Boomer parents (just as every generation has done), and they did it by being conservative. This article utilizes a very on-target term for it, the "countercultural conservative". Here is a sample paragraph from the article:

"It is important to note that Alex P. Keaton was born in 1965, the very first year of Generation X. The comic tension he provided was his rejection of the 1960s hippie ethos of his progressive parents. He is arguably the first manifestation of something that is now a staple of our society, the countercultural conservative. Conservatism as counter culture has reached an apex in the age of Trump. But its seeds can be seen in this old NBC sitcom. Keaton might as well have said, 'Okay, Boomer'."

The article goes on to predict the ultimate fate of Generation X, the generation the writer calls "former latchkey kids, the last generation to play outside without a cell phone":

"Gen X will not hold power for long. It is a tiny generation, and those born after 1980 are already installing themselves as the new arbiters."

Read the entire article at the URL below. Don't be put off by the very conservative slant, if it is not your nature. The article encapsulates an aspect of the sociological/generational type topics often discussed here.

How Alex P. Keaton Predicted The New Conservative Movement
by David Marcus
https://thefederalist.com/2020/01/28/how-alex-p-keaton-predicted-the-new-conservative-movement/

Subject: Re: How Alex P. Keaton Predicted The New Conservative Movement

Written By: 2001 on 01/30/20 at 9:38 pm

That was a really interesting read, but I think it has a flaw. Didn't most Boomers also vote for Reagan in the 1980s?  ???

I feel like the rejection of the 1960s/1970s was a societal move rather than generational. 1950s nostalgia was big in the late 1970s, as you mentioned in another thread. Televangelism, the "born-again" movement, Alcoholics Anonymous etc. feel like Baby Boomer institutions to me and were established as a rejection of the rise in drug addiction, divorces, crime rates and other tragic things that were happening in the 1970s. The 1970s were the only world that Gen X ever knew, and from how I'm seeing it, I think they "backslashed" against it the same way their elders did.

Subject: Re: How Alex P. Keaton Predicted The New Conservative Movement

Written By: wixness on 01/30/20 at 9:40 pm


That was a really interesting read, but I think it has a flaw. Didn't most Boomers also vote for Reagan in the 1980s?  ???

I feel like the rejection of the 1960s/1970s was a societal move rather than generational. 1950s nostalgia was big in the late 1970s, as you mentioned in another thread. Televangelism, the "born-again" movement, Alcoholics Anonymous etc. feel like Baby Boomer institutions to me and were established as a rejection of the rise in drug addiction, divorces, crime rates and other tragic things that were happening in the 1970s. The 1970s were the only world that Gen X ever knew, and from how I'm seeing it, I think they "backslashed" against it the same way their elders did.
I think the AIDS crisis helped to especially bolster religious and social fundamentalism in the west. Considering how it's spread and how gay men often had it, it's probably set back the LGBT community a bit and given drugs more of a bad name.

Subject: Re: How Alex P. Keaton Predicted The New Conservative Movement

Written By: 2001 on 01/30/20 at 9:46 pm


I think the AIDS crisis helped to especially bolster religious and social fundamentalism in the west. Considering how it's spread and how gay men often had it, it's probably set back the LGBT community a bit and given drugs more of a bad name.


I was actually going to mention AIDS before I erased it. ;D I think AIDS was "discovered" in 1982 or thereabouts, so there was already a 1970s backlash underway but that really cemented it. There was no way the 70s were coming back after that, even for Boomers.

Subject: Re: How Alex P. Keaton Predicted The New Conservative Movement

Written By: Voiceofthe70s on 01/30/20 at 10:12 pm


That was a really interesting read, but I think it has a flaw. Didn't most Boomers also vote for Reagan in the 1980s?  ???


It wasn't "most Boomers" who voted for Reagan. Not by a longshot, though that myth of the "hippie turned capitalist" does persist (and is not entirely untrue). More than half of Boomers voted for somebody other than Reagan in 1980. The Boomers were more of the type to vote for Clinton (the first Boomer president) some years later. I'll tell you who it was that got Reagan in. It was the conservatives of the 1950s. These 1950s conservatives who resented the 60s and 70s and all they stood for were just "lying in wait" so to speak, throughout the decades of the 1960s and 1970s for an opportunity to seize things back, to bring back 1950s values, to, uh, "make America great again", and their perfect opportunity came with Reagan, whom they voted for with a vengeance in 1980. Many of these "1950s people" were still just in their 50s or maybe 60s and constituted a large voting bloc. The 1960s and 70s were effectively obliterated and the 1980s were the new 1950s. We as a society have never recovered from this.



I feel like the rejection of the 1960s/1970s was a societal move rather than generational. 1950s nostalgia was big in the late 1970s, as you mentioned in another thread. Televangelism, the "born-again" movement, Alcoholics Anonymous etc. feel like Baby Boomer institutions to me and were established as a rejection of the rise in drug addiction, divorces, crime rates and other tragic things that were happening in the 1970s. The 1970s were the only world that Gen X ever knew, and from how I'm seeing it, I think they "backslashed" against it the same way their elders did.


My God, don't Boomers just get blamed for EVERYTHING nowadays. :D  Alcoholics Anonymous was started in the 1930s for heaven's sake! It had nothing to do with Boomers or being established as a reaction to 70s decadence. Likewise with the Televangelists of the 1980s. They were largely those same "1950s people" I refer to above.  You are correct though that the swing to conservatism was a societal one in the 80s, but that encompasses Gen X's embrace of it.

Subject: Re: How Alex P. Keaton Predicted The New Conservative Movement

Written By: wixness on 01/30/20 at 10:49 pm


It wasn't "most Boomers" who voted for Reagan. Not by a longshot, though that myth of the "hippie turned capitalist" does persist (and is not entirely untrue). More than half of Boomers voted for somebody other than Reagan in 1980. The Boomers were more of the type to vote for Clinton (the first Boomer president) some years later. I'll tell you who it was that got Reagan in. It was the conservatives of the 1950s. These 1950s conservatives who resented the 60s and 70s and all they stood for were just "lying in wait" so to speak, throughout the decades of the 1960s and 1970s for an opportunity to seize things back, to bring back 1950s values, to, uh, "make America great again", and their perfect opportunity came with Reagan, whom they voted for with a vengeance in 1980. Many of these "1950s people" were still just in their 50s or maybe 60s and constituted a large voting bloc. The 1960s and 70s were effectively obliterated and the 1980s were the new 1950s. We as a society have never recovered from this.


My God, don't Boomers just get blamed for EVERYTHING nowadays. :D  Alcoholics Anonymous was started in the 1930s for heaven's sake! It had nothing to do with Boomers or being established as a reaction to 70s decadence. Likewise with the Televangelists of the 1980s. They were largely those same "1950s people" I refer to above.  You are correct though that the swing to conservatism was a societal one in the 80s, but that encompasses Gen X's embrace of it.
The boomers have a horrendously outdated mentality since the 2010s - I'm not entirely sure, but boomers tend to prioritize economic prosperity at the cost of social equality and environmental health, and if they support social equality, it's often the negative (as in minimum legal protections of marginalized individuals) as opposed to the positive (actively trying to help the marginalized even if it involves changing one's own mindset significantly).

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