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'Wild in the Streets': When Inexperienced Youth Gain Power

wild in the streets
1968 film "Wild in the Streets" |

In 1968, the film Wild in the Streets was released. The premise was simple and a somewhat satirical jab at the burgeoning "anti-establishment," counter-cultural revolution that was rampant at the time. A senator, played by Hal Holbrook, and Max Frost, a 22 year old rock star (played by Christopher Jones), make common cause with a view to securing the youth vote. Max, already a budding revolutionary, points out that 52% of the US population is under 25, and decides it is time for real change. At one of his concerts, Max demands the voting age be lowered to 14 and launches into a song – Fourteen or Fight - to rally the youth to the cause. Overnight, the youth around the nation launch protests to force their immature will upon the rest of the nation. The mix was toxic. A popular, youthful, media savvy firebrand leading teenagers who are convinced they have the wisdom of the ages. They are not only successful at getting the voting age changed, but they elect Max Frost as President. They then punish those who held a different view by herding anyone over thirty into concentration camps and force feeding them LSD.

This film was released fifty years ago, and it turns out the filmmaker understood something about the power of popular culture — on the young in particular. The movie was released in the middle of the "British invasion," when Rock Bands such as The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Dave Clark Five, Moody Blues and many others were taking the world by storm. John Lennon, as early as 1966, commented on the near worship the Beatles enjoyed when he remarked they were more popular than Jesus Christ.

This fanciful satirical film seems to have echoes in our current time. Although he is not a popular rock star, 17-year-old David Hogg was propelled to superstar media status after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. Like the film character, Max Frost, David Hogg savagely attacks anyone who dares to publicly differ with him on his enlightened opinion, and because the PC media is behind him, people are rather fearful of challenging him. The fact that the media is all in for him differentiates the demanding children of our day like Hogg from past anti-establishment firebrands, such as the 60s radicals. Hogg is not anti-establishment, but is indeed carrying the water for today's establishment, which is mostly a creature of the progressive left. He is engaged in bringing about a cultural revolution for Progressivism. Laura Ingraham of Fox News voiced a disparaging opinion of Hogg, which led to his calling on nearly 700,000 followers on his Twitter account to force Ingraham's advertisers to cancel their contracts with her show. And many of the sponsors did just that! She subsequently tweeted an apology to Hogg, but he refused to accept it. We believe David Hogg has every right to his opinions. Unfortunately, Hogg and his Progressive followers do not share our belief in free speech, believing in it only as applied to themselves.

The question really is, why are the supposed adults catering to his demands? They haven't even been force-fed LSD yet, and here they go caving in to the children's demands. Youth are energetic and idealistic, but lack experience and the wisdom which often comes with the years. You won't find too many older folk eating laundry pods and inhaling condoms!

Solomon made an interesting observation in Ecclesiastes 10:16:

Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes feast in the morning!

An inexperienced youth who suddenly gains power can be a dangerous commodity. Everything is seen as a way to satisfy their whims and fancies regardless of who gets hurt, or whose rights may be trampled along the way. That sort of unchecked power can end up destroying a nation. Any nation that hopes to thrive needs leaders who exercise power wisely, with the good of all in view. But sadly, God and His word are largely ignored in the halls of power in Washington. Morals and right and wrong are no longer fixed but, like the new view of gender, are fluid and determined by popular opinion, expressed LOUDLY. Are we still a Republic or becoming a mobocracy? While our current lawmakers may leave much to be desired, do we want them leading the nation according to the whims of propagandized youth? And let's not kid ourselves that our kids are not being heavily propagandized in school with leftist thinking. Education is not about the "Three Rs" anymore.

It's not just Hogg's anti-gun warriors that are pushing for "change" today. Not much time goes by these days between leftist marches, protests, tantrums, resistances, childish Hollywood rants, traffic stoppages, and the like. Conservative speakers are routinely shouted down on college campuses. Oftentimes in the past few years, such "activism" involves violence or destructive rioting.

Our nation survived the upheaval of the 1960s, though we certainly didn't come through unscathed. Our elders did cave in to the baby boomer generation in many ways that they should not have. One thing we had going for us was the fact that the "older generation" was far more grounded in common sense and godly moral principles at that time. Even people who were not Christians were considerably influenced by Christian teaching and were therefore a serious impediment to the "revolution" sought by the 60s radicals. Far too many of today's "older generation" do not seem to have quite made it to maturity themselves, to put it mildly. Not much of a bulwark, it seems. There certainly is not much reverence for things we used to hold dear. We truly cannot know how long the center will hold.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of Passionate intensity.

—from The Second Coming, by William Butler Yeats

L.L. (Don) Veinot Jr. and Joy A. Veinot are co-founders of Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc, a mission to cults and non-Christian religions and are both members of the Evangelical Press Association. Don is the President of MCOI. He and Joy are co-authors of A Matter of Basic Principles: Bill Gothard and the Christian Life and he co-host of The Unknown Webcast. He is also the current president of Evangelical Ministries to New Religions and a charter member of the International Society of Christian Apologetics.

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