The 1968 film Wild in the Streets has been described as an “American dystopian comedy-drama film.” In an era of rebellion against authority – the late 1960s – the premise of Wild in the Streets was simple. High school and college-age youth came to believe that they knew better how to run society and government than their elders. The main character, Max Frost, was a budding revolutionary who happened to be a very popular rock star.
Popular rock singer and aspiring revolutionary Max Frost (Christopher Jones) was born Max Jacob Flatow Jr. His first public act of violence was blowing up his family’s new car. Frost’s band, the Troopers, live together with him, their women, and others, in a sprawling Beverly Hills mansion. The band includes his 15-year-old genius attorney Billy Cage (Kevin Coughlin) on lead guitar, ex-child actor and girlfriend Sally LeRoy (Diane Varsi) on keyboards, hook-handed Abraham Salteen (Larry Bishop) on bass guitar and trumpet, and anthropologist Stanley X (Richard Pryor) on drums. Max’s band performs a song noting that 52% of the population is 25 or younger, making young people the majority in the country.
When Max is asked to sing at a televised political rally by Kennedyesque Senate candidate Johnny Fergus (Hal Holbrook), who is running on a platform to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, he and the Troopers appear – but Max stuns everyone by calling instead for the voting age to become 14, then finishes the show with an improvised song, “Fourteen or Fight!”, and a call for a demonstration. Max’s fans – and other young people, by the thousands – stir to action, and within 24 hours protests have begun in cities around the United States.1Wild in the Streets, Wikedia
As the story unfolds, not only is the voting age lowered, but the age to hold national public office is lowered to fourteen. The mandatory retirement age is lowered to thirty and everyone thirty-five and older were to be shipped to re-education camps where they are permanently kept “high” on LSD. While some thought the premise “ludicrous,” others, like Roger Ebert, thought it actually a cautionary tale. Ebert’s review opens with:
Once you’ve experienced a concert by a group like the Beatles or the Doors, the fascist potential of pop music becomes inescapable. There is a primitive force in these mass demonstrations that breaks down individualism and creates a joyous mob.2Roger Ebert, Reviews: Wild in the Streets, May 20, 1968
Further down, he notes:
“Wild in the Streets,” on the other hand, is aimed squarely at the younger teenage audience that buys records and listens to the Top 40 stations. This audience can believe, if only temporarily, in the greatness of a performer. They can sense what John Lennon was getting at (although he phrased it unfortunately) when he said the Beatles were more famous than Christ.3Roger Ebert, Reviews: Wild in the Streets, May 20, 1968
Ebert also comments:
It is odd but in light of where much of Western culture is today, Wild in the Streets seems almost prophetic. For example, at the age of fifteen, Swedish-born Greta Thunberg took her largely ignorant but passionate narrative concerning “climate change” into politics, attempting to sway the Swedish elections. A year later, she publicly scolded world leaders in her 2019 UN Climate Action Summit speech. Now twenty-one, she has an international following successfully demanding governments fall in line with climate change activists’ demands. Lately, she has also come out as an expert critic of Zionism, accusing Israel of “genocide” in Gaza, where of course, Israelis are trying to wipe out the terrorist organization which attacked, kidnapped, raped, and killed Israeli innocents – because Gazan innocents are being hurt or killed.
We can see her point. In WW2, we and our allies refused to attack both Japan and Germany directly, even though they were attacking us, since many German and Japanese civilian innocents would have been killed or injured in the process. Oh wait – that’s not how the war ended. For some oblique fuddy-duddy reason, the WW2 Allies thought it best to completely destroy those nations’ capability to wage war before they destroyed the entire world, even though, as in all wars, innocents would be hurt or killed. War is hell – and always has been. Don’t start one if you can avoid it. Robert E. Lee is credited with saying:
It is well that war is so terrible; otherwise, we should grow too fond of it.
It seems only fair to note that in the 1960s, many young people were not caught up in any of this pop-cultural nonsense. We were 16 years old when we saw Wild in the Streets, and we knew for sure it was not presenting any future that we would endorse. We and our friends had zero desire to put our parents and grandparents out to pasture and run the country. (It’s probably a good idea to at least handle a paying job before running foreign and/or domestic policy.) The same, we believe, is just as true today, with many young people being far from caught up in all this nonsense, and we do not wish to paint the young with too broad a brush. We think it is, unfortunately, likely that many counterculture teens of the 60s, 70s, and 80s are now grown-ups (who should by now know better) teaching this tripe to the young that are in their orbit and under their authority. A rather large advantage to the counterculture today is that they are able, through public education, to reach youngsters in lower grades at younger and younger ages. Parents need to be vigilant and should make sure they are capable of defending sanity and teaching right and wrong to the young.
Beginning in May of 2020, #BLM and Antifa led youth across the nation in a rampage of riots, looting and burning down businesses and even attacking government buildings. In December of 2020 the rioters took over five city blocks of the City of Portland and renamed it the “Autonomous Zone,” where they barricaded and booby-trapped the borders. (It seems the rebelling youth believed in building walls and “border fences”) The city government ridiculously surrendered.
More recently, as with the very wise Greta Thunberg, students at colleges and Ivy League universities have demanded – and continue to demand – the universities as well as city, state, and the Federal government – to accede to their antisemitic demands to back Hamas, remove the Jews from Israel and turn the land over to the innocent “Palestinians,” without any knowledge of the history of the conflict, or the murderous intent of such a demand. Like the followers of the fictional Max Frost, they have simply embraced a deeply emotional mantra, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” How are these students so easily misled? As Roger Ebert suggested in his 1968 review, “the fascist potential” of pop music is also true of a powerful narrative, foisted especially on a young mind. This particular narrative is largely being fostered by elite universities and has bled over into popular culture. Just as with the know-it-all youth of the 1960s, this popular narrative has become, as Ebert suggested back in 1968, “a primitive force in these mass demonstrations that breaks down individualism and creates a joyous mob.”
It is quite a dangerous thing for a nation to become heavily influenced by the naïve young, especially young people with very little real knowledge of God and His word.
Might God use youthful naiveté and know-it-all inclinations to judge a nation that has largely abandoned Him? We note that in Isaiah, God issues just such a judgment on Jerusalem and Judah:
For behold, the Lord God of hosts is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah support and supply, all support of bread, and all support of water; the mighty man and the soldier, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder, the captain of fifty and the man of rank, the counselor and the skillful magician and the expert in charms. And I will make boys their princes and infants shall rule over them. And the people will oppress one another, every one his fellow and every one his neighbor; the youth will be insolent to the elder, and the despised to the honorable. (Isaiah, 3:1-5)
The prophetic judgment in Isaiah does not directly point to Western Civilization today. We are not Jerusalem and Judah, but might God pronounce a similar judgment on a nation or nations that have so thoroughly turned its back on Him? Might good and evil be turned upside down in a nation that has once known but “forgotten” God?
Most of us have been taught from infancy that theft is wrong, yet wholesale looting of stores by child and young adult mobs, while city governments look the other way, has become commonplace today. It seems we have also forgotten what “mobs” are. Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson attempted to silence naysayers who asked about “mobs of teenage looters.” He was incensed those reporters referred to these large groups of mostly young thieves as “mobs.” But why? This action clearly fits the definition of a mob:
a large and disorderly crowd of people especially: one bent on riotous or destructive action
It does seem that young “mobs” are ruling today in many ways. It very much seems as though God has stepped back and allowed many societies today to devolve into nonsense and ungodly chaos, with:
boys their princes and infants shall rule over them. And the people will oppress one another, every one his fellow and every one his neighbor; the youth will be insolent to the elder, and the despised to the honorable.
Rebellion of many types is in the air. Lots of children – naïve and mistaught but cocksure – seem eager to make foreign and domestic policy today. The only remedy for this I ours and other nations is a return to the God of the Bible, and a turning away from the delusional and rebellious gods of this age.Ω
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