the hidden cost of Mike's question [6 views]
Mon, 3 Jun 1996 11:07:06 -0400

>While watching The History Channel's Memorial Day Special about the
>War in Vietnam I started thinking about the "hidden" cost of the
>sixties. The loss of life and health of the Vet's was terrible but I
>wonder how many have been killed or hurt by the drugs and "Free Love"
>culture back here at home. How many lost their lives or minds or were
>disabled from the use of drugs? How many women died or hurt by illegal
>and unsafe abortions? How many children died in those abortions?
>Mike Rappe'

I'd just like to build on Mike's intellectually and emotionally challenging
post. When I think of all the fetuses in the 60s who would have gone on to
lead pure, All-Amerikan existences, I begin to despair. They missed out on
the chance to live Safe, honest, and fulfilling lives, lives that are
safe, honest and fulfilling simply by virtue of being drug free, of course.
Because, as we all know, most people who took LSD in the 60s took way too
much of it and ended up in insane asylums, because everyone who smoked pot
became damaged and immutably incapacitated, in stark contrast to the
demure, totally functional martini drinking sexual harrassment crowd of
the 50s.

As it turned out, those fetuses, sacrificed in a orgy of drug-crazed
self-indulgence, never had a chance to actualize themselves in the 80s, the
decade of self-actualization(because people began to say no to drugs).

Had only those fetuses survived, maybe it would have been just a little
different, just a little better, for all of us.

Mike, stop watching the History Channel, man. Name me a decade that
didn't have hidden costs, and name me a decade that didn't have a drug
culture, be it sanctioned or unsanctioned. While the drive to excess in
our society, which incorporates all facets of living--from drug-taking to
eating to money-making--did take place in the 60s, there was actually an
ideology attached to much of the early drug culture. It was about
deprogramming, Mike, not just accepting parental and societal dictums about
who you should associate with, what you should believe, who you should
fuck. What a lot of the early pioneers of the drug culture learned--thru
drug use--is that *you don't know that you've been programmed until you've
been deprogrammed*.

What about you, Mike? Is your take on the 60s something that came out of
reading about the decade, talking to people who lived through it, thinking
about it independently? The fact that watching something on the History
Channel prompted your post leads me to think--no. You're heavily laden
with programming, Mike. Why not think about the hidden costs of that
programming to those whose paths you'll cross in your life, in your
attempts to answer really complex questions. Read up on the 60s, watch a
variety of documentaries if you must, and then start asking some real
questions that aren't simply echoes of things you've been programmed to

Peter Braunstein

>>The loss of life and health of the Vet's was terrible
>Yes, but 5 million Vietnamese were killed, the overwhelming majority
>non-combatants. US casualties pale beside this.
>Grover C. Furr


I've never seen figures that high. ARVN deaths were 220,000. MACV
estimated the Communists lost 750,000. Guenther Lewy estimates
total South Vietnamese war deaths (1965-74) to be 248,000 and
39,000 assassinated by VC/NVA.

Even if you mean Indochinese rather than Vietnamese, 5 million
seems way off. Would you elaborate?

Peter Brush


the unpublished figures for the death rate by suicide of viet nam veterans is
over 120,000........... that is more then twice the number of names on the

C Thom Michel
Chicago, IL


Dear Sixties People:

Julia Stein's impassioned response to "death of fetuses" caused by the
"immoral" 60s just about covered all the bases. What would Michael Rappe
say to the enforced sterilization of Indian women conducted by the BIA's
Indian Health Service during the 1970s, which was in direct violation of
the United Nations 1948 Convention on Genocide. According to Ward
Churchill,"42 % of all native women of childbearing age in the United
States had been sterilized by that point" (*Indians Are Us?* 39).



On Sun, 2 Jun 1996, somebody (Julia Stein or Grover Furr?) wrote:

> Better question: how did the "Free Love" culture of
> the 1960s help broaden women's freedoms.

I won't say that it's a "better question," but here's another one: how did
the "Free Love" culture of the 1960s affect relationships in the 1990s? Or
am I the only one who's noticed the residue?

Sandra in Maconga


Re: drugs/sex in the 60's- first of all the 60's committed
the same sin as most other generations- it thought it discovered
these pleasures and that their 'discovery' transformed them into
unique beings of some sort. The merest touch w/american history
reveals that there was a horrific drug problem from the civil
war onward. Many civil war soldiers got addicted to laudanum
which they could purchase mail order. During the infamous
'gilded age' drugs were rampant among the nouveau riche- many tales
exist of high class society women brought low by cocaine addiction.
Many women in fishing villages discovered the pleasures of mild
opiates and would take them when the menfolk were off fishing. Some
writers described them as 'the happiest women in america.' Regardless.
So, with that experience as a background the first half of 20th C.
saw an enormous repression of drugs, including alcohol. It was
the ignoramous types of the 60's who started the whole cycle again
and, just as assuredly, there will be several decades of repression.
I think it is very instructive that at the death of Leary his good
friend Smith who started the haight/ashbury free clinic decried
the wide spread/promiscuous use of powerful mind drugs among people
in teens/20's. The culture will push away from that experience
until there is a general forgetting of how dysfunctional this culture
was for several decades.
The repressions of sex always 'lift' when there is wide
spread affluence. It is when sex means more kids that there is
sanction against it. And since human beings have spent most of
their time in scarcity rather than surplus it stands to reason
they put a capper on the wild thing. The 'sexual revolution'
of the 60's was one great memory that I still retain from that
era. Always w/Kama Sutra/Lawerence/Reich/Ellis around to
rationalize the wild addiction to this wonderful activity. It
was only when I read about renaissance europe and the very
quick spread of vd did I put sex and disease together. And, gee,
if vd was spreading quickly the people, themselves, must have
been doing what Anne Hathaway did to Shakespeare in the barn.
That is seduce him, get children by him and force him to find
work in the city. That was another 60's I guess. Pepys journal
is very illustrative of how loose things have been even in eras
we associate w/repression. The Pill was the big difference in
our 60's. What the Pill did was to force culture to rationalize
sex as an activity 'good for its own sake' like knowledge or
art. The problem in the 60's was that all the sexual activity
that was free and easy simply became a passageway to addiction
and disease. In fact, the fascination for sexual matters at
that time simply revealed how unsophisticated we are as a culture
and how laughable we are as a people. It is very interesting
to note that in our frenzied attempt to bury the Victorian Age
once and for all we simply BECAME, as a culture, very similar
to the underground, pornographic culture that existed among the
Victorians. But, the question of what produces a more vital
culture, sex sublimation or sex liberation is an open and
interesting one. Sex repression is awful but sex sublimation
leads to some constructive areas. Sex liberation can only exist
in a cult of some sort. I don't think there is a final answer
on that one except to enjoy the wild thing, be good at it, but
don't do it w/everyone who passes by.
Good luck