[sixties-l] now and then

From: Jeffrey Apfel (japfel@risd.edu)
Date: Wed Jun 14 2000 - 13:34:20 CUT

  • Next message: Jeffrey Apfel: "Re: [sixties-l] a plea"

    This is directed to David as well as the listserv. I hope you have only
    withdrawn from the debate where the Panthers are concerned and will see
    fit to join on later topics. The issue of the Panthers seems to be to be
    about as charged a topic as one can hope to find relative to the
    Sixties--it's as densely packed with race, violence, "socialism" and
    other assorted period pieces as Sophie's Choice was with alcoholism,
    slavery and Nazis. So, no surprise, ka-boom.

    But I'm an admirer of your courage and much of what you've written and I
    think you can add a tremedous amount to the debate. I don't know how
    many others like me are on this list--people deeply affected by the
    Sixties, but more part of the Aquarian Silent Majority than committed
    freaks or radicals. But we too wonder, thirty years later, what that
    big explosion was all about. Your voice seems to me to be an important
    one in making some sense of it all.

    For the record, I find much of what you've written entirely persuasive
    as a first person account, a la Whittaker Chambers. On the other hand,
    it does seem at times (and I'm thinking as a recent exaple of the piece
    you did in the newest American Enterprise on Hillary) that you've boiled
    down every effort to acheive public goals through a collective, public
    process as leftism and as doomed to failure as the Berlin Wall. As I
    mentioned in my post, I am reluctant to feel that the choice is only
    between Marx (or Stalin) and Hayek.

    In the Sixties, I had this nagging feeling that radicals needed to
    willfully misread very obvious factors in the current situation in order
    to come to their predetermined conclusions. It was hard telling my
    radical girlfriend that, gee, the American people don't really seem up
    for a revolution. How again were you figuring that one might come

    But aren't you doing a little willful misreading now in the opposite
    direction? It seems to me inarguable that some level of collective
    decision making, operating through legitimate government authority, has
    been and remains inextricably bound up with economic and political
    freedom in the west. It just doens't seem to wash to paint every such
    impulse as a dictatorship in embryonic form.

    But, hey, I was more or less a centrist in the Sixties, and I remain one
    today. The world needs my kind as much as it needs radicals, and in
    much greater numbers, I might add.

    Jeff Apfel

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed Jun 14 2000 - 17:33:49 CUT