There have been any number of think pieces and trending topics about how the Internet age has shortened our collective memory. In many ways, it has—there’s no ignoring that the advent of technology and 24-hour news has made it possible for gaffes to be forgotten by the time the next controversy rolls around. But a short cultural memory is not a facet unique to this generation.
The beginning of the current bout of the culture wars in the mid-1970s, ignited by evangelical author Tim LaHaye’s book about sex, co-written with his wife, tended to treat the sexual freedom of the 1960s as a new phenomenon, just as politicians and pundits today are treating the fight over birth control as a new entity. In fact, we’ve been having the same fight over sexual promiscuity like clockwork about every 40 years, going back at least a couple centuries.