(Mail Online) -- By Bel Mooney
When the novelist Martin Amis said recently that it was the sexual revolution of the Sixties and Seventies that destroyed his 'pathologically promiscuous' sister Sally, an alcoholic who died in 2000 aged 46, he provoked a wave of controversy. His views were ridiculed by his critics, who claimed that his sister 'was out of control. It was her doing, not the culture.'
Well, I was part of that culture too. As a university student between 1966 and 1969, I experienced first-hand the impact of the sexual revolution, and the sweeping changes it wrought between men and women.
To suggest any individual was immune from that tidal wave of change, or from the pressures that came with it, for women in particular, is frankly wrong.
Yet Amis has hit a nerve, with liberals in particular, who rightly read his comments as a criticism of everything they believed in and fought for through the massive social upheavals of those decades. It was not 'the free love culture' which caused her death, they insist, but her own self-indulgence. After all, we all have choices, don't we?
To me, this is one of the most fascinating issues of our time - raising so many questions about freewill, and cause and effect.
I'm always amazed at the way the liberal Left (a broad church, with which I'd have once identified) is eager to make excuses for any dubious results of their progressive ideas.
Yet the damaging consequences of that Sixties revolution are obvious in the society we now live in - ranging from the utter mess made of education in this country (directly attributable to the overturning of traditional ideas in the Seventies, an orthodoxy which still prevails), to the dangerous 'anything goes' attitude which challenges any idea of restraint in speech or behaviour.
I happen to believe Martin Amis makes an interesting case. Who is to say he isn't right and that in a less 'liberal' society his sister might have behaved differently, or might have been safer?...
Today, those of us who express doubts about the long-term effects of such cultural changes are dismissed as prudes suffering from a permanent moral panic-attack. The denial of the liberals is ongoing: a blinkered refusal to admit the causes and effects of history.
But this is what the distinguished historian Eric Hobsbawm writes about the shift in standards in his authoritative book, Age Of Extremes: 'The crisis of the family was linked with quite dramatic changes in public standards governing sexual behaviour, partnership and procreation... and the major change is datable and coincides with the Sixties and Seventies.'...Cont'd...LINK