Antiwar Movement & Civil Rights Movement
Thu, 11 Apr 1996 14:56:49 -0400

Several things D.Hostetter says should be responded to: it
is hard for me to see the anti-war movement as a 'fundemntal
divide' that has any reality for today. This culture has rolled
over that period and tucked it deep in its bulging underbelly.
Many people, such as myself, who were anti-war at age 20 now see
that the world is more complex than the real divide of 20-25
years ago. Vietnam did exactly what the 'containment policy'
intended; ie. bog the Soviets down in an arms race until the
internal contradictions of communism collapsed on itself. Whether
that is something to be proud of is another question.
Vietnam looks more like the Brits trying to hold the
American colonies. We know there was a lot of opposition to
that attempt but that the whole adventure had something of the
unreal about it to the Englishman/woman of the day. But, 20
years later England united to fight Napolean and it produced
the age of British Empire.
The civil rights movement was a moral imperative that most
people of good will saw as necessary. However it decayed into
an ideological zero-sum game that gains little respect. The civil
rights movement lost its credibility by seeking to change a
society it did not fundementally understand. And, signficantly,
it applied a neo-Marxist model to a culture that eats such models
for lunch. Nonetheless, students should understand and appreciate
how central civil rights was in that era. It was the central
question for several very intense years. It enlivened not only
the question of justice but that of human dignity.