Jonathan Lange: In Today’s World, Do You Suppose That Pandora’s Box Unleashes War?

Columnist Jonathan Lange writes: That, I think, is why the song is so famous. It captured a feeling in the air. While revolutionary events are in process, few contemporaries notice. Stills did, and his words beckon us to do the same.

Jonathan Lange

January 13, 20225 min read

Jonathan lange
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Before there was “Crosby, Stills, and Nash,” Stephen Stills and Neil Young spent two years in a band called “Buffalo Springfield,” which released three albums and one smash hit. Exactly 55 years ago, “For What It’s Worth” was on its way to a No. 7 peak on Billboard’s hot 100 list.

“There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear.” This iconic song became the anthem of Vietnam war-protests. But when it was first performed on Thanksgiving Day, 1966, Kent State was four years in the future. Stills was talking about the Sunset Strip Riots.

Pandora’s Box, a nightclub that catered to teenage partiers, was about to be bulldozed. On November 12, 1966, teens staged a sit-in that turned violent. Stills witnessed it on his way to a gig, and the song was born. Later, he mused, “Riot is a ridiculous name, it was a funeral for Pandora’s Box. But it looked like a revolution.”

That, I think, is why the song is so famous. It captured a feeling in the air. While revolutionary events are in process, few contemporaries notice. Stills did, and his words beckon us to do the same.

There is, indeed, something happening today. Pandora’s Box has been opened and has unleashed war upon us. In the fog of that war, it is difficult to know exactly “what it is.” But our moment screams for everybody to “look what’s going down.” If we don’t, we will fall under the same harsh judgment that we pronounce on others. 

Consider past cultures that failed to understand their own times and to stand against massive evils that we now see with 20/20 hindsight. How could the denizens of France not predict that a Reign of Terror would result from murdering priests and kings? Why didn’t more Russians stand against the murderous Bolsheviks who were gaining power? That mistake cost 100 million lives over the next 70 years. What devilry gripped the cultured, Bach-loving Germans? They allowed a madman to turn their industry and efficiency into a murder machine.

While Stills thought the Sunset Strip Riots were hardly riots at all, he couldn’t shake the sense that “something’s happening here.” They were more than another salvo in the Sexual Revolution. They crossed a new and significant line. On that night, the Sexual Revolution enveloped minor children.

The sit-in remained a peaceful protest until the stroke of 10 o’clock. At that time, the LAPD was tasked with enforcing the city’s curfew on minors. The people of Los Angeles had passed an ordinance to protect the innocence of children younger than 18. Push came to shove, and the Sunset Strip Riots were born.

The opening salvos of the Sexual Revolution were attacks on marriage. Its philosophical leaders, going back to Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) and Percy Shelley (1792-1822), were intent on destroying the sacred bond between husband and wife. Divorce, fornication, and adultery were means toward that end. 

But as the Revolution advanced, the crosshairs shifted to the children. “Free Love” was never the ultimate goal. It has always been a means toward an end. The goal is the breakdown of the family. Once the marriage vow is obliterated, the battle must shift to the natural bond between parent and child. While that remains, family bonds still have precedence.

Maybe Stills knew this consciously—maybe, only subconsciously. But children were the focus of his haunting refrain, “I think it’s time we stop, children. What’s that sound? Everybody, look what’s going down.” Whether Stills intended this, or not, Carl S. Trueman painstakingly documents the sexualization of children in his new book, “The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self.”

This book is a must-read for parents and policy makers who are interested in the health and well-being of children. It helps to explain how the innocence of children came under attack through the militantly atheist philosophy of people like Shelly. It, further, documents how Sigmund Freud deliberately sexualized every aspect of childhood development—from breast-feeding to potty-training.

It is precisely at this point that school boards and library associations come into the picture. Statutes protecting minor children obligate state actors to respect parental rights. But these statutes hinder the agenda to dissolve the natural family and replace it with the state. 

Those who tell you that the arguments over objectionable books and curricula are about “free speech,” or about “access to information,” are either deceived, or deceiving. The fact remains that statutory age restrictions on sexual consent (statutory rape) and access to sexual content (e.g. Restricted films) are legal recognition of parental rights. Violation of these laws violate parental rights. Nobody has the right to interfere in the sacred relationship between parents and their own children.

Will we, as a lawful society, respect parents who guard the innocence of minors? Will we help them maintain their sole authority to educate their own children in family formation and emotional health?

Or, will we undermine parental rights and give ever more power to teachers’ unions and library associations to indoctrinate our children in the philosophical thought-stream that brought us the French Revolution, the Bolsheviks, and the Hitler Youth? 

According to legend, Pandora’s Box contains war. The nightclub that circumvented parental rights and brought the sexual revolution to minor children could not have been more appropriately named.

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Jonathan Lange