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withdrawn from the debate where the Panthers are concerned and will see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.
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