Stuart Reid writes:
Timothy Leary was 46 when he told the kids to "turn on, tune in and drop out", and Frank Colton was 37 when his invention, the contraceptive pill, was made commercially available in 1960. John Mortimer, doughty defender of the permissive society, was 47 when in 1971 he appeared for Schoolkids Oz; Anthony Crosland was in his mid-40s when, as Education Secretary in the first Wilson government, he reportedly said that he would "destroy every ******* grammar school in England"; Kenneth Tynan was 42 when Oh! Calcutta made its debut in New York in 1969.
And so on. The counter-culture was sold to the young by what the Americans call the "Greatest Generation", the men and women who defeated Hitler. "Is this what we fought the war for?" old people ask whenever something displeases them. The answer is: yes, this is precisely what we fought the war for. The Second World War made the world safe for the Swinging Sixties.
The children of the Sixties were victims - willing victims, certainly - of the sort of anti-social capitalism that Pope Benedict warns us against. The Decade of Decadence was a triumph of marketing and the false god Choice. It began with the Pill and ended with abortion. The Flower Children went on to vote for Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and in the fullness of time brought us the crash.