Adam Smith, the 18th century Scottish economist wrote: "In every civilized society… there have been always two different schemes or systems of morality… the one may be called the strict or austere; the other the liberal, or… the loose system" (Himmelfarb, p. 3). The Bible reveals one of the fundamental challenges of life involves choosing between two different ways of living (Deuteronomy 30:15–20). In America and Britain the strict or religious scheme dominated our culture until the mid 20th century. The loose schemes of morality existed on the fringes of our society, primarily among the so-called "decadent elite" who had nothing but disdain for Bible-based morality (Ibid. p. 7). This fringe element found fertile ground in the growing secularization and urbanization of society, the decline of religious influence, the increased power of the media and the "dissolvent effect" of two world wars on traditional behavior and belief (Ibid. p. 10). The explosive growth of higher education in the 1950s gave increasing numbers of young people "access to the worldview-changing experiences of university life" that undermined traditional values (Ibid. p. 13; Hunter, p. 63).When I read this article in the early days of my journey into Armstrongism I found this article very persuasive.
Today I find it has many problems. It is a very simplistic ways to view modern day events. There were lots of problems in the1950s. At the time lead paint and asbestos were often used while people were left ignorant of how deadly they were because big corporations that profited from them intimidated people who knew to stay silent on such matters. (See How You became a Guinea Pig for the Chemical Corporations.) It was only in the 1950s that scientists began to discover how toxic and viciously deadly tobacco is, thus letting people know for the first time the true nature of that terrible poison and the urgency to quit.
Another problem was the lack of sex education. Many Americans, while growing up, were not educated about sex but instead were left to discover such things for themselves. One can only imagine the world of trouble and hurt letting the young being ignorant of such an important facet of life. Now that people can freely talk about and teach about these things people are more able to avoid the pitfalls that predecessors were forced endure. Young people receiving sex education is a good thing. Of course no one will be entirely satisfied with what is taught but it is better for people to know and talk about such things rather than being told not to talk about it. If one is not happy with what is taught I cannot see why contrary viewpoints cannot be taught by the parents at home.
Also another problem is how Winnail ignores the issue of racial discrimination in this article. Until the 1950s several states in the United States, mainly in the South, imposed the Jim Crow laws and all kinds of legal restrictions upon African Americans that made it impossible for them to participate in society on an equal basis with white people. Also every now and then some white people, sometimes organized like the Ku Klux Klan, sometimes by themselves, enforced this terrible system of racial oppression by lynching African Americans to terrorize them into submission.
These terrible problems within American history are casually ignored by Winnail. Try and find a reference to these problems here or anywhere else within Armstrongism. No wonder so few African Americans joined Armstrongism. All my time within Armstrongism I can hardly recall anytime they deeply thought about those terrible and painful issues. It is largely ignored. Because most members are white, as far as I can tell, they do not see these issues as worth discussing.
But no, to confront historic and ongoing racial injustice runs counter to the narrative of America's decline and fall that the COGs so desperately push at to anyone willing to listen and get sucked into the cults. Because of this Winnail ignores these issues.
Furthermore it needs to be stated that Herbert Armstrong taught that racial intermarriage was sinful. He even wrote such an obscene idea into his masterpiece of deception, Mystery of the Ages. With such a teacher it is no surprise that most COGs are far from satisfactory regarding racial matters and that they do not take these issues as seriously as they should.
Also, it strikes me as deceptive to claim that before the 1960s America was mainly Christian when in fact Armstrongism teaches that all Sunday observing Christians are heretics and not true Christians at all but instead must convert to connect with God.
After seeing these things I now find it absurd to be so nostalgic for the 1950s. One always wishes that life was more simple, happy and well ordered than it is now but it is not possible to go back to the 1950s, and we should not even want it to be so.