Thursday, July 05, 2012

"Rilly, I had no idea"
 [partial repeat]
"What has happened politically, economically, culturally and socially since the sea change of the late ’60s isn’t contradictory or incongruous. It’s all of a piece. For hippies and bohemians as for businesspeople and investors, extreme individualism has been triumphant. Selfishness won."

"Perhaps more than an ambiguity, it was an irony of history. The real legacy of May ’68, as we see in France today, is individualism, the rejection of civic sense and ideology, the rehabilitation of the idea that personal and financial success is a worthy pursuit — in short, a revival of capitalism. To borrow an expression of Lenin’s, we were useful idiots. Indeed, the uprising was more a counterrevolution than a revolution."
Read one against the other. Anderson refers almost entirely to the hippies, the middle class rebels; Guillebaud obviously has no option but to talk about both students and workers. Anderson puts "black president" and "multiculturalism" as two of the changes, but says nothing about class divisions within what he would call liberalism and the "left".

Guillebaud
It was the strike, not the student revolt, that truly paralyzed the country for three long weeks. The paradox is that these two movements never encountered each other. The students marching toward the factories to “meet the workers” found the doors closed. The unions didn’t want them: the workers found the students disorganized and irresponsible.
And the civil rights movement was the organized rebellion of lower middle class blacks.

Anderson
But what the left and right respectively love and hate are mostly flip sides of the same libertarian coin minted around 1967.

...In that letter from 1814, Jefferson wrote that our tendencies toward selfishness where liberty and our pursuit of happiness lead us require “correctives which are supplied by education” and by “the moralist, the preacher, and legislator.”

On this Independence Day, I’m doing my small preacherly bit.
And I'm going to reread D.H. Lawrence on Benjamin Franklin.

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