Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Sixties

[posted by Callimachus]

A false dichotomy?

On the left gathered those who were most alive to the new possibilities created by the unprecedented mass affluence of the postwar years but at the same time were hostile to the social institutions—namely, the market and the middle-class work ethic—that created those possibilities. On the right rallied those who staunchly supported the institutions that created prosperity but who shrank from the social dynamism they were unleashing. One side denounced capitalism but gobbled its fruits; the other cursed the fruits while defending the system that bore them. Both causes were quixotic, and consequently neither fully realized its ambitions. But out of their messy dialectic, the logic of abundance would eventually fashion, if not a reworked consensus, then at least a new modus vivendi.

Well, the white, privileged Sixties, at any rate. Which leaves out a lot of reality, but then what else would the Sixties be about?

It's an interesting argument and it's fun to ride along in it for a while and see what you can see out the windows. But it's a narrow-gauge railway.