The Lost Generation and Modernism

I finally watched the whole documentary.

In the 1910s, there were only a few Moderns in the United States who were living what at the time were eccentric lifestyles in a few bohemian enclaves in Chicago and New York City. The catastrophe that was World War I which sent 2 million American soldiers to France and cost the lives of 130,000 American soldiers changed everything. It discredited the Victorian establishment.

In the 1920s, young Losters rebelled against the Victorian values of their parents and embraced the new Modern values. A whole generation of American artists, poets and novelists spent the 1920s soaking up Modernism in Europe: Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein (Jewish and older than the others), Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Malcolm Cowley, Gerald Murphy, John Dos Passos, etc. Previously, only a handful of Americans like James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Henry James had moved to Europe and gone native. They also stayed there permanently and had a limited impact on America.

The Losters who embraced Modernism are the first generation we can look back on in American history whose lives, beliefs and values are familiar and similar to our own. They created 20th century American culture in the 1920s. Their children the Greatest Generation were the soldiers who fought for it in World War II. The Silent Generation was born during the Great Depression and World War II. The Boomers were born after their fathers from the Greatest Generation came home from World War II.

The Alt-Right blames the self-centered Boomers for destroying America. My father was 12-years-old when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. Bill Clinton was the first Boomer president and was elected in 1992. The Boomers were only the tipping point when Modern values hit a critical mass and became hegemonic. Boomers were the first generation to attend college en masse and to be raised on the television. They didn’t create Modern culture so much as they absorbed its values from their elders.

Northern and Western Boomers were born into and raised in a culture that was already liberal, modernist, cosmopolitan and antiracist. Southern Boomers might remember the downfall of Jim Crow in their childhood. The oldest Southern Boomers were around 20-years-old when it happened. The Silent Generation also grew up in the 1940s and 1950s on the postwar consensus. The real decisive change in American culture took place in the thirty years between 1915 and 1945.

What happened between 1915 and 1945? The World Wars, the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression. It was during this crisis that Victorian America was replaced by Modern America. The country became liberal, modernist, cosmopolitan and antiracist.

About Hunter Wallace 9599 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent

17 Comments

  1. Very interesting. Were there any contemporary thinkers that wrote critiques of Modernism? Also, did you see the movie The Great Gatsby that came out a couple of years ago?

    • The Great Gatsby was originally made into a movie in 1974. The original is (IMHO) much better than the weak remake, check it out sometime.

      Modernism and the “intelligence” agencies, a match made in Hell.

      The CIA should be abolished and all their archives published at the same time to eliminate one of the most potent threats to this country and world peace in general. If the U.S. were to follow a policy of non-intervention, national self reliance, closed, guarded borders, and aliens deported en masse the U.S. would be one of the most peaceful, prosperous and happy nations on earth. The Department of Homeland Security, started by the miserable GWB II should also meet the same fate.

      The CIA has been involved in a river of dirty tricks and blowback since its inception. An early disaster was the overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh of Iran in 1953 (with the assistance of British Intelligence) which led to the Shah which led to the 1979 Iranian Revolution which led to the 444 day Hostage crisis. After that beauty the CIA put Osama Bin Laden in business to drive the USSR out of Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires. 9/11 was one of the nasty consequences that followed. The CIA is like Bill and Hillary Clinton’s herpes, the gift that keeps on giving.

      For purposes of national defense there are already parts of the Government that provide more than enough information/analysis. The Defense Intelligence Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Office etc. are a few of the (at least) 17 “intelligence” (sic) agencies that acquire and analyze information from all over the world and make predictions and recommendations to the President.

      The dirty tricks department is what causes the most trouble. Look for the DHS to be unleashed in the near future against White people opposed to our own destruction, the domestic version of the CIA. Their modus operandi will be “Show me the man and I will show you the crime.”

        • @Exile…

          Yes, if The FBI ought not be completely wiped away, then I do not know what department would ever qualify for that.

          As 12AX7 has so correctly described, The Intelligence State is the most profound impediment to the welfare of The American People there has ever been. Twice we went to fight the Germans, when neither time we ought to have, and they were not even a threat.

          Certainly they were not in WWI and in WWII, only barely. If FDR had made any effort, whatsoever, Hitler never would have done something incredibly stupid – declaring war on us.

          In any case, if Southerners do not get our from underneath The CIA and FBI, we will be forever subjugated, because subjugation, and NOT protection, is what those two agencies are all about.

          There, I have put it as politely as I can, though, if the truth be told, my sentiments about these agencies are very olde-fashioned Southern and undecorously impolite.

  2. “The Alt-Right blames the self-centered Boomers for destroying America.”

    Everyone blames each other. The Boomers blame Gen Z and Millennials. Millennials and Gen Z blame the Greatest Generation and Boomers. Intellectuals like yourself blame the silent and earlier generations. Some put the blame only on Jews.

    I’ve been reading your articles about the beginning of modernism and your conclusions that everything is a linear decline.

    In actuality, modernism and post-modernism are very different. Although modernism leads to post-modernism, post-modernism is in actuality a reaction AGAINST modernism.

    It really started in the 1970’s with post-structuralist theory (which was influenced by post-colonial theory).
    The difference between modernism and post-modernism is that modernism has a structure while post-modernism is literally a system of deconstructing and destroying systems.

    if you want to go earlier, you would have to go to Marcel Duchamp’s toilet for being the earliest influence of post-modernism. Before that, there is nothing.

    Modernism is not post-modernism. That’s why in the 1950’s you still had a sense of sanity and things didn’t really decline to systematic degeneracy until the 1970’s.

    • @Gryphon Alinor…

      ““The Alt-Right blames the self-centered Boomers for destroying America.”

      Everyone blames each other. The Boomers blame Gen Z and Millennials. Millennials and Gen Z blame the Greatest Generation and Boomers. Intellectuals like yourself blame the silent and earlier generations. Some put the blame only on Jews”

      Brilliant observation.

      Yes, it is only too human to wish to blame someone else or some other group.

      I often remark to my wife (whom I cherish and who loves me so very much) that she married me just so that she would have someone to blame, when things, as they inevitably do, go awry!

  3. Speaking of ‘post-modernists’, Richard ‘the clown’ Spencer has come out in defense of atheism. On the surface, Spencer seems to be criticizing atheism, but in reality he’s only criticizing its loss of edginess on the internet. He also retweeted a tweet which implied Atheists are more oppressed than Christians.

    In reality, Spencer is a clown because the atheist movement never died. It has only become stronger. Instead of the atheist movement belonging to Richard Dawkins, it has evolved into the “fact-based” tyranny of the tech industry and the left. Marxists have hijacked the word “fact” to refer to anything they do not want debated.

    Christians have lost a lot of rights in the past few years so this idea that the atheist movement died is only something a fool would believe.

    Atheism is Marxism and Marxism is Atheism. You cannot separate the two.

    Even as a secular person myself, I realize the delusion of placing your world values on “Science!”.

    People who have an emotional connection to science are among the most pathetic creatures. To get a ‘hard on’ over data (which is what Science actually is, it’s just data) is quite sad. Science is a tool, you don’t build a connection with a tool, you use it when it needs to be used and don’t use it when it does not need to be used.

    • You finally get into something besides shilling for “conservative” pols above, in your well thought-out comment on the modernist/post-modernist divide. Thank you for that. Foucault, for me, is much more dangerous to Western civilization than Adorno and the rest of the Frankfurt School combined. His perverse influence has made it from academia into our daily lives over the years, and damn him for it.

      Re your comments on atheism, it has always amused me that people following materialism in all its guises never seem to catch onto the fact that they, in their insistence that everything is physical in nature (even comparing consciousness to a car, for Pete’s sake, as I’ve read and heard a few silly people do) follow their own faith-based belief system. They literally cannot imagine their beliefs are incorrect, and anyone not sharing their beliefs is an apostate who needs to be ridiculed and shamed.

      When materialists acknowledge that we (for example) have a propensity for seeking and worshipping a higher power “wired” into us, but can’t make the minor logical leap to then even considering there are some processes that can’t be explained by turning it into mere physical phenomena — extend that to less-exalted experiences, like how we might FEEL after seeing a light blue or smelling a flower — I can’t help feeling sorry for them. They’re locked into a prison of their own making, one where they can’t see beyond themselves as fleshy automatons. My universe is not so small or confined.

      • @12AX7..

        Yes, you are right, though, unfortunately, most Whites will not figure that out until we have given away every single element of our culture.

        A likely terrible fate awaits our grandchildren, which is why I try to do something now, and encourage others to be brave, as well.

        • Hello Ivan;

          A slight correction, no offense meant. “We” had no choice about giving away anything, the permanent government, the deep state if you will, made all of those decisions. The MSM of course is the permanent government’s mouthpiece similar to Pravda in the USSR. Politics is just show business for ugly people.

          The political system with its elections, voting, democracy, judges, laws etc. is basically a beauty contest (or ugly contest) with no serious change allowed. The purpose behind the dog and pony show of things like elections is to give the appearance of public participation and suppress real reform by frightening the public. The ruling class can claim legitimacy through voting, the seal of approval when the political system is really based upon bribery and extortion.

          Public opposition to the Government’s wars means nothing, for example. U.S. troops are still in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq etc. despite promises to pull troops out. NATO was founded to keep the Soviets out, the Germans down and the U.S. in Europe according to Lord Ismay but the USSR is gone and the U.S. is still in Europe.

          The public has been widely in favor of a wall or concertina fence along the southern border, ending immigration and kicking out illegals but the cheap labor and ethnic lobbies keep the wogs coming in, the public be damned. There have been a thousand issues where public opinion has been decisively on one side but the public will has been thwarted. Courts have been used to legislate for about a century against the public’s will. Legislators have happily said there is nothing they can do and the occasional “conservative” politician (looking at you here, DJT) has always failed.

          The supposed “conservative” opposition to the Left Wing Establishment running the country into the ground is nothing but a scam, a grift. Eventually disastrous events will cause change in the country, not elections but the change will be chaotic at that point. We are close to economic failure because of debt and when the money goes bad, the current ruling class will fall and things will change chaotically, not before. Elections don’t bring about change, at best they reflect change that has already taken place.

          • “We are close to economic failure because of debt and when the money goes bad, the current ruling class will fall”:

            WE (commons) are close to economic failiure, but the RULING CLASS only grows STRONGER. Even the poor have put their trust in the Almighty (Dollar), and are “entrepreneurial” (greedy) in spirit, so the system, being based firmly on the uniiversal love of money is very durable and the ruling class will not “fall.”

          • @12AX7…

            Thank you for your deep, probitive, and revealing remark. Lamentably, it’s true, and, equally lamentably, most of the country is yet to figure it out.

            Good on you, however, that you have!

            Have a great day!

    • Yeah, I think so too but not with the help of my vote. IMO, the left so completely dominates the other party that most sane Whites feel abandoned by them.

    • @Captain John…

      President Trump will win, and handily. That said, after all the endless ‘vote counting goes on, the election will forever remain in doubt.

      On the Republican Queries they regularly send out, Sir, I asked the president to not leave office, unless he were completely satisfied about the accuracy of the results.

      Too, I reminded him that if someone was threatening him, to put the call out, because there are several millions pissed-off Crackers within a few hours drive of The Oval Office, and no contingency plan by The Department of Homeland Security has ever assembled will ever come close to being able to deal with that.

      Watching the situation unfold, as we all are, I have to wonder if President Obama, and his henchmen, are sufficiently observant to fully realize the situation.

  4. One note on ‘The Fall of Jim Crow’ – it did not happen all at once, but slowly over the 60s and 70s until, by the 1980s, it just kind of hit you that not only was it gone, but, a lot of what was Southern was, too.

    For us boomers, submitting to all the changes that were forced on us from outside, was the decision of our daddy’s granddaddy’s and great granddaddy’s generations, for they were the ones who held the reins of our society in the 1960s.

    The rest of us were really too young to be expected to lead the resistance, in those days, though, if there had been some serious political leadership, we most certainly would have followed along.

    Looking back on it, the problem with the dissolution of Jim Crow was not whether Southern Negroes could sit in the same theatre rows with us or eat in the same restaurants, it was much more massive than that, and included many more things – the most severe of which was the fact that we were giving up our sovereignty, and, with that, our civilization.

    Today, our youngun’ do not take being Southern seriously, because the previous four generations of Southerners did not, or, at least, not when push came to shove.

    I think of our situation to be not unakin to what the Welsh went through, under British subjugation for centuries, the Welsh, only in the 1980s, once again allowed to take up their native Gaelick language.

    And, like The Welsh, we seem mostly content to let the tragedy of subjugation be that long…

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