We'd like to point out that we're aware of the fact that some of the cartoons listed below did not originate in the '80s. However, they were on during the '80s, that's when we watched them, so they're '80s cartoons to us. It's like when we refer to bedwetting as "late '90s behavior." Without further ado...
CARTOON: The Smurfs
LESSON: Communism works!
For naysayers who point to the Former Soviet Union as proof that communism is inherently flawed, may we merely direct your attention to Smurf Village, where everyone shares everything, wears similar utilitarian clothing, battles Gargamel and his turn-Smurfs-to-gold get rich quick schemes and obeys the dictates of a bearded, red hat-wearing, benevolent authority figure. Quoth Comrade Papa: "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." Really, he actually said that.
How it affected us as adults: Secret communist agendas ceased being dangerous, or really any adjective of consequence, years ago. The worst thing communism does these days is make Ivy League students waste a couple of years wearing ugly clothes and attending boring meetings. However, the sexual politics of Smurf Village, with its one female for every 30 guys, did go a long way towards preparing us for freshman year of college.
LESSON: Spinach is good for you.
Sure, it doesn't taste as good as candy, ice cream or opium, but it' full of essential vitamins and minerals that'll make your muscles explode like battleship cannons. If you want to triumph over the bullying Blutos of the world and win the affections of your own lovely, leggy Olive Oyl, pound a can of spinach at least once a day. Or put it in your corncob pipe and smoke it, like everybody' favorite ornery, mumbling sailorman. Toot toot!
How it affected us as adults: You only need to look at the steroid scandal rocking Major League Baseball to see that Popeye raised a generation that is willing to use performance enhancers. Also, it should be pointed out that Olive Oyl was the first anorexic sex symbol.