Do you ever wish that you could just snap your fingers and change the culture overnight?
That, in a moment of time, the things that are important to you – the values you so cherish and honor – would become the values of millions of others?
That would certainly be wonderful, but it is hardly realistic. Cultural transformation does not happen overnight, and unless we have a long-term plan and a persevering spirit, we will never see the changes we desire.
Back in 1958, after spending four hours of intense interaction and argumentation with Norman Podhoretz, Allen Ginsberg shouted out, “We’ll get you through your children.”
Podhoretz, of course, was a conservative political commentator while Ginsberg, then known as a Beat poet, became an icon in the counterculture revolution of the 1960s, himself a sexual radical and proponent of Eastern religion.
Ginsberg’s words proved prophetic, as the next generation vigorously rejected the values of their parents, discarding the American dream in favor of a supposed new and better way. Then, over time, the young radicals of the 60s and early 70s became part of the mainstream culture, taking jobs in corporate America, in national media, and in the arts and education.
Among these former student radicals was Bill Ayers (William Charles Ayers), once a member of the Weather Underground, which the FBI deemed a terrorist group, later to become a distinguished professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. And, although Ayers has personally denied this, others have claimed that he was a mentor to Barack Obama.
As of 15 years ago, Ayers still described himself as “radical, leftist, small-‘c’ communist,” and regardless of his connection to the former president, there is no denying the influence he had on generations of students that he taught.
Once again, Ginsberg’s words proved prophetic.
In his 1968 White Panther manifesto, John Sinclair manager, of the hard rock group MC5, wrote these shockingly candid words:
“ROCK AND ROLL music is the spearhead of our attack because it is so effective and so much fun. We have developed organic high-energy guerrilla bands who are infiltrating the popular culture and destroying millions of minds in the process. With our music and our economic genius we plunder the unsuspecting straight world for money and the means to carry out our program, and revolutionize its children at the same time.” (For additional, related quotes, with their original sources, see Michael L. Brown, The Power of Music: God’s Call to Change the World One Song at a Time.)
The members of MC5 were young men themselves, yet Sinclair’s words echo those of Ginsberg: we will revolutionize your children.
And they did.
For them, rock was just not loud music. Rock was a revolutionary tool used to change the thinking and actions of young people, contributing to a significant (and, for the most part, very negative), shift in the society.
Fighting on another front, in their watershed 1989 book After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays, gay sociologists Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen called for the “conversion of the average American’s emotions, mind, and will, through a planned psychological attack, in the form of propaganda fed to the nation via the media.”
This, too, would not happen overnight. But with a constant bombardment of this “propaganda” year in and year out, and with patience and perseverance, the change would come.
And boy did it come, far beyond even what Kirk and Madsen envisioned. (In their book, they didn’t even think of trying to redefine marriage; that was not even put forward as a long-term goal. They knew that marriage, itself, would not be redefined, but they hoped to change attitudes towards same-sex relationships. Their strategy proved wildly effective.)
Even when cultural change seems to happen overnight, you can be sure that, under the surface in many ways, the seeds of that change have been germinating.
In July 2006, the UK’s National Union of Teachers (NUT) recommended that,
“It is particularly important to begin to make three to five-year-olds aware of the range of families that exist in the UK today; families with one mum, one mum and dad, two mums, two dads, grandparents, adoptive parents, guardians etc.”
Yes, the thinking of the children must be changed, and at the earliest ages possible.
Or in the words of a gay drag queen who participated in Drag Queen Story Hour’s for children, the goal was to “groom” the little ones (not meaning here in a pedophilic, sexual way, although that may have been the goal for some, but in terms of changing their thinking about gays and sexuality).
Ironically, sentiments like this gave rise to new group bearing the name “Gays Against Groomers,” called by MSN in 2022
“the newest crusader in the fight against radical LGBTQ activists said to be grooming young children in a sexual, indecent manner. Their motto is simple, and similar to that of Libs of TikTok: share as much ‘leftist’ created material as possible in a mission to expose extreme groups that are claimed to be confusing youth.”
What goes around certainly comes around.
The lesson, though, is clear. We must have a long-term vision and strategy. We must seek to educate (and, where necessary) reeducate the next generation, helping them to think critically, to see the beauty and value of biblical wisdom, and to reject the ongoing radicalization of the culture.
We must also sow seeds daily in the larger society among people of all ages, joining this together with the spiritual activism of prayer, fasting, and preaching the gospel. And then we must give things time, even as we live in the passion and urgency of the hour.
Thankfully, the pushback is continuing to gain momentum, but the shift will not come through a single election (or even series of elections), as important as the elections might be. The strategy must be bigger and broader if we want to see lasting, positive change.
Could it be that, little by little, the tide is starting to turn?
I believe the answer is yes, which should encourage us to dig in even deeper for the long battle ahead.