The aim of this series is to describe a number of predisposing factors which enabled climate science to become corrupted and fall short of the ideals that made science, at its best, respected and admired. The first post noted the travails of education as described by Jacques Barzun who published his book The American University in 1968 as radicals were literally setting fire to their campuses, including his own, Columbia College NY.
Those fires were extinguished but now the flames of politicization on campus are burning stronger than ever. That can be explained as a lagged or “downstream” effect of the Vietnam war and especially the impact of the draft. The Vietnam debate activated a generation of radicals who made careers on campus, in the school system, in politics including the burgeoning NGOs and in the media. All of this shifted the political orientation of the middle class towards the left, and, as the environmental movement rose at the same time, to a hair-trigger sensitivity to environmental issues.
A case could be made for the war but to send conscripts to “fight for freedom” was a very different matter. As I have argued, this cost conservatives a deal of intellectual and moral credibility, with major impacts in the long term, which is now the present! The conscription issue had a tsunami effect. With a ripple on the voting figures in 1972, the conservative ships of state rode on to more election victories until the waves of activism and organisational acumen broke on the electoral shores during the 1980s and beyond. The full impact is being realised in the climate of public debate and commentary in the ABC and mainstream media at present after people in the cohort who were radicalized a generation spent their careers exerting ever-increasing influence as they rose in their professions.
On a point of detail to correct my piece from 2008 (linked above) conscription was not introduced for the Vietnam war, it was introduced earlier but not used during the Confrontation between Indonesia and Malaya 1961-65. It was then used for the Vietnam War.