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June 11, 2007

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Well, of course, we've always had a "counter-culture" only we called it "the lord of misrule" or "popular culture" or "saturnalia" or "the mob" or "the french revolution" or een "liberation theology" or any of a number of things. The idea that the only counter-culture that matters is a brief upper class critique of high society and capitalism is a fairly narrow view of world history and social history generally. The bottom rail is on the top! The peasants are *always* revolting.

aimai

There's a moment in Berkeley in the Sixties where someone -- I think it's one of the members of Country Joe and the Fish -- says: I went home and tried to persuade my parents, who were pretty far left, actually, to sell all their furniture and move to India, and they said no, and I realized: they're just materialists!

I don't like generalizing about 'the counterculture' as a whole -- too big and too diverse -- but there was that strand in it: people who honestly didn't think they needed to wonder how they were going to make a living. It's something that bothers me there, and in other contexts: Sense and Sensibility, Howard's End; I always get exasperated at the character who finds it romantic and spontaneous not to consider the consequences of (in those cases) her actions, or what it takes to have the kind of freedom she enjoys, including the freedom to screw up completely without ever paying the price.

Come to think of it, it's one of the things that first made me wary of Bush, back during his first Presidential campaign.

I think the strongest argument of this kind that one could make against the counterculture would be: some parts of it could only have been adopted by people who didn't bother to ask how they were going to eat, but assumed that things would just somehow take care of themselves. But it wouldn't work unless that were, in fact, the only (plausible) way one could adopt the view in question. It seems right for the view: "if my parents are not willing to sell all their furniture and move to India, then they are materialists." Not so obviously so for most others.

Getting through Will's typically pretentious and opaque article is pretty difficult. If you did it, and got some idea of what he was saying, congratulations. (Does Will really think rock ’n’ roll is the first "music of libidinal release?” My goodness.)

I tried. One conclusion is that there is a serious lack of distinctions and definitions. "Counterculture" and "New Left" and the civil rights movement and feminism and opposition to the Vietnam War were not all the same thing by a long shot.

It's certainly true that lots of things people did depended on relative affluence. Much easier to go to San Francisco if you've got the gas money and don't need to live at home and hold a summer job. But that's not true of at least some types of political activism, or thinking about how society might be improved, or deciding about the career one wishes to follow.

So I don't see how the Will/Lindsey thesis is more than "hippies were a bunch of ungrateful spoiled rich kids." Some were, no doubt, but that isn't a particularly helpful observation.

I think there is a critique that the counterculture generally failed to appreciate just how much of what they liked to have depended on there being a society whose values they rejected. If we all went back to the land on communes, there wouldn't be air travel to go to India, or for that matter all the technology needed to produce LSD or rock-and-roll recordings and concerts.

I wouldn't claim this is a profound criticism, much less one that invalidates the values espoused, but it isn't simply wrong.

Actually I think we just went through one of our periodic reformist binges and obstructionists like Will have to discredit it to cover the fact that those of his poitical ilk have contributed exactly nothing to this country.

Accomplishhments from the period of time to which Will refers:

*environnmental legislation
*Civil Righhts legislation and, more importantly, significannt changes in cultural attitudes about race
*beginnning of a shift in cultural attitudes about homosexuality
*beginning of a shift in cultural attitudes about women

Those are the most obvious and most successful changes that date back to the "counterculture " era.

I am not saying that these things were accomplshhed exclusively by the counterculture, wnatever that entity may be. The times produced the changes, powered by all kinds of people who wanted to make a positive change in the way our culture functioned. I am not saying that these reforms burst upon us with no historical roots. Of course it all grew out of previous events. However, I do think that, in America, reform movememts come from educated people and educated people tend to have moderate amounts of money. The Utopian communites of pre-Civil War era and later in the 1890's were often led by people who left comfortable, conventional lives behind, for example.

The only reason why Will thinks his point about the counterculture is worth making is that he thinks all people withh money should be loyal to other peole withh money first, last annd formost. Since hhe thinnks the purpose of politics is to keep moneyy with those that have it, reformers are ann obvioouus threat. Givenn his values, it isnn't surprisinng thhat reformers are seen as hypocrits or betrayers. This is why the pundit class hints thhat Edward is a hypocrit: he's rich, so of course he can't be a sinncere populist!

The unintentioal messagge of Will's piece is the essenntial uselessnes of the strain of politics that Will represennts. His part of the political spectrum hhas never sought to identify the couuntry's real problems, let alone innitiate efforts to solve thhem. They are incapable of it because thheir paarticipation in politics is motivated by selfinterest. Just watch: efforts to address global warminng will be treated as attacks onn property annd thhe "righht" of materialistic people to keep their currennt lifestyle, all rationalized, of course, behinnd references to conservative philosphy and smokescreened by attacks onn the motives of reformers.

We will need to make fundamental changes in our culture in thhe nnext decade or so, so righht on cue, there comes George Will, preparing the ground for discrediting today's reformers by attackinng thhe reformers of thhe recent past!

Another aspect also to be considered would be the role of American Romanticism, and the great turn towards Nature, the Environment, and the Country. In this, the counterculture seems more an end to a movement in American thought--that great connection anchored in Emerson, and the fecundity of the American landscape. This great pastoralia, its love of the commune: did we know then that this world was already slipping away from us?

In an historical perspective, we were playing dress up with the clothes of an older generation, that world destroyed and never rebuilt after the Depression. Still, we all wanted to go to the country.

In this, the counterculture movement was profoundly Conservative. It is not surprising that the personal libertinism morphs into a political libertarianism; the Romantic became the consumer. Ironically, the political conservative movement picks up the vibe of counter culture and the counterculture's real President turned out to be Ronald Reagan. Yippie.

"This is why the pundit class hints thhat Edward is a hypocrit: he's rich, so of course he can't be a sinncere populist!"

FDR was perhaps the most famous "class traitor."

The complaints from some that Edwards, or other politicians, favor "class war" fill me with frustration. There's always been "class war" to various degrees, with the rich naturally seeking to be richer, and commonly being relatively indifferent to the plight of the poor, with charitable exceptions not changing this unsurprising set of conditions.

That someone recognizes this class war of rich upon poor, and dares speak about it, is highly praiseworthy, so long as it's done truthfully, and without serious distortion of the facts.

To say that this creates class war is so wrong as to be from another universe: one where the poor and lower middle-class have no legitimate grievances and no problems that are largely solveable.

This flows into the corallary held by the same folks: that largely eliminating poverty is a joke, some sort of insane fantasy, rather than a perfectly doable task, for the most part, within twenty years or so, if we just bother to do it.

Rejecting this of course goes along with ignoring the vast changes for the better for the poor and lower middle class that the New Deal, Fair Deal, and Great Society overall brought to much of America, and buying into bogus claims that they accomplished little good, which the facts and numbers belie.

But that's all part of having two different sets of facts and two different sets of history, which is a key problem at the base.

And underlying that is the lack of recognition by so many perfectly well-meaning, good, people, that they've been manipulated and sold a bill of goods by people who lie to them, and who regard their voters as a bunch of suckers, while they fulfill their goals of living rich and powerfully in return for providing tax cuts, earmarks, favors, and helpful laws for the truly rich and powerful.

Well, now I've depressed myself.

"...that great connection anchored in Emerson, and the fecundity of the American landscape. This great pastoralia, its love of the commune: did we know then that this world was already slipping away from us?"

You can put that back to, in America, Jefferson's agrarianism vs. Hamilton's belief in a strong federal state, a national bank, and promotion of manufactures (his rejected 1791 "Report on Manufactures"), aka proto-industrialism.

How much of Will's career is due to curmodgeonly criticizing those who had more fun than he did back in the sixties. Who's the hypocrite now, I ask you?

"How much of Will's career is due to curmodgeonly criticizing those who had more fun than he did back in the sixties"

More has to do with his skill at writing. I agree with him about few things, but if he were as inarticulate about his curmudgeonry and criticism as most similarly-feeling people, his career would have gone nowhere.

So: not so much.

Incidentally, OT, but Bush administration cannot legally detain a U.S. resident without charge. Isn't it great that we have to go to court and wait years to semi-determine this?

I wholeheartedly agree with Publius here. As a recent college graduate from a rich kids' school -- excuse me, I meant "well-ranked in U.S. News & World Report" -- and a labor activist, I frequently moved between a social setting where the "counterculture" was precisely what Publius describes (we can do drugs because we won't get caught/can hire lawyers, etc etc etc) to a social setting where "counterculture" means working class people challenging the economic system that kept them from being able to go to the doctor. Doesn't mean that the countercultural rich kids are wrong about, say, our culture being too materialistic, or about smoking pot not being a dangerous pasttime, or whatever else, it just means that they're the only people who can get away with violating those social norms.

"...the "counterculture" was precisely what Publius describes (we can do drugs because we won't get caught/can hire lawyers, etc etc etc) [...] it just means that they're the only people who can get away with violating those social norms."

Not to disagree with the larger point, but lower-class people do not have a problem, as a rule, getting away with smoking pot. "The only people who can get away with" is kinda, um, wrong.

I think there is a critique that the counterculture generally failed to appreciate just how much of what they liked to have depended on there being a society whose values they rejected. If we all went back to the land on communes, there wouldn't be air travel to go to India, or for that matter all the technology needed to produce LSD or rock-and-roll recordings and concerts.

I wouldn't claim this is a profound criticism, much less one that invalidates the values espoused, but it isn't simply wrong.

Well, it's simply wrong that the people who were moving back to the land to live in communes were the people flying to India and going to rock concerts. Which goes back to Bernard Yomtov's point about the tendency to treat the currents of the '60s counterculture as if anyone who belonged to one of them must have belonged to all of them. The SDS and the hippies hated each other. The people the women's liberationists were rebelling against were the leadership of the antiwar movement. The fact that my behavior doesn't match the professed ideals of someone else who was born the same year I was doesn't make either of us, or any movement either of us participates in, hypocritical.


Haven't read Will's (let alone Lindsey's) piece, but they seem to have succeeded with this thread in framing "the counterculture" as some sort of awful thing, when it most definitely was not. The 60s "counterculture" -- to the extent it can be defined at all -- was about far more than sex and drugs and rock and roll, though admittedly those were the parts that got a lot of attention from walk-ons. (And so what.) It was also stuff ranging from the Whole Earth Catalog, to Save Our Cumberland Mountains, to feminism, Silent Spring, the Highlander Center, and just everyday conversations culminating in epiphanies that you didn't want to do things that way any more. Even the loosening of mores about sex, and drugs, and music weren't the disaster bluenoses like Will would have us believe they were.

I think the "counterculture" was no more and no less than just that: it was about not taking the current culture for granted, not accepting any part of it as written in stone. Given how much of the current culture of the time was indeed only worth throwing in the garbage, this was an unambiguously Good Thing and a profoundly progressive impulse, no matter how hypocritical or misleading individual counterculturalists were. To the extent some of that questioning resulted or was correlated with excess and narcissism and waste, well, same as it ever was, and the same folks tut-tutting about it years later once they felt safe enough to do so. I think we make a mistake by supporting them in any way.

True enough. There's a significant attitude difference (that's got a fair amount to do with race as well as wealth, naturally) that's a little tricky to sum up. Basically, a rich white kid I went to school with would often feel comfortable being high in public despite the occasional cop driving by (at a sidewalk restaurant, say), but the working class black guy who lived in the apartment across the way would hide his jay when I walked up the fire escape to our second floor apartment, even though we knew each other and -- I would think it would be obvious -- I wasn't going to get him thrown in jail and leave his four kids in poverty.

As for the non-drug part of "counterculture," there was also an assumption that you'll be able to get a job no matter where you move to, for instance, or that you could always pack up and travel Latin America for a couple weeks to "get away from American consumer culture" or you name it.

Sorry, left off what I was responding to, namely Gary's post about three up from this one.

"Basically, a rich white kid I went to school with...."

Yeah, that's a valid distinction; as I said, I wasn't disagreeing with the larger point; just with the way that particular sentence came out.

I lived for a number of years, briefly during the late Seventies, and then for years during the late Eighties and early Nineties, in Washington Heights, the northern part of Manhattan that by that period had become, to varying degrees depending on the block, largely inhabited by dark-skinned folks, both Hispanic and those identifying as "black."

It was well-known as a drug neighborhood. Police routinely did a lot of stop-and-pat-downs for no particularly visible reason -- it was just a day/night they were doing sweeps, is all.

On the one hand, they'd do that to black folks, because, hey, they're likely involved in the trade, right? On the other hand, any pale face, particularly that of a young/middle-age male, is likely a customer with no other business in the 'hood, right?

Carrying ID at all times was crucial; I was well aware of the police policy that if you were a pale male found in the neighborhood after dark, and were questioned and without ID, you were going to spend the night in lockup; I never was without two pieces of valid photo ID that gave my address in the neighborhood, so I never underwent more than questioning for the crime of walking home at night from the subway station at Fairview Avenue, or 181st St, but plenty of other folks did. And the pale folks like me were definitely treated differently -- more politely and cautiously -- as a rule, than the darker-skinned folks.

Incidentally, in all my years of living there, no one ever touched me, or seriously threatened or bothered me in any way worse than an occasional unfriendly look (most people were as friendly as people typically are).

But in my eight years of living in Seattle, I never got use to how relatively monotoned the region was, despite the smattering of Native Americans and the fair percentage of Asian folks. It always seemed unnatural to me, having lived more or less only in NYC before that. It always a little unnerving, actually.

Assuming I represent the educated ignorant liberal reader of "counterculture", feminism doesn't fall under that rubric. My first thought on seeing those two terms is that the former didn't actively promote the latter internally. Maybe that's just ignorance, or the effect of having read _The Saskiad_ a few times, but if I'm wrong then (the group of people with an interest in defending) the movement needs better outreach to me via poetry or novels or film.

"My first thought on seeing those two terms is that the former didn't actively promote the latter internally."

As previously alluded upthread, a very significant portion of the core of the leadership and some of the mainstream of the Sixties/Seventies wave of feminism came as a reaction to sexism and misogyny in leftist political groups. (Portion, I specify; second wave feminism wouldn't have gone anywhere if it hadn't spread into the middle class, of course.)

I don't know whether that falls under "actively promot[ing]," but the hypocritical nature of sexism amongst people waxing passionate about freedom and justice and equality, whether in the civil rights movement -- where this took place -- and the anti-war movement -- where this took place -- and among people talking about spiritual freedom and enlightenment and personal growth -- where this also took place -- certainly did wind up creating -- by means of provoking it as a reaction to that sexism and hypocrisy -- much of Second Wave feminism, although obviously a considerably disparate set of factors contributed heavily to it, including all the other political and personal movements springing into rapid growth, the advent of reliable and relatively easy birth control, the role of women in the workforce in WWII, and so on.

"sexism and misogyny in leftist political groups"

That was what I meant - that the four-word take-away on "counterculture" and "feminism" I have is "the counterculture was unfeminist".

"the counterculture was unfeminist".

Counterproposal: some (admittedly perhaps most) of the counterculture was unfeminist, some was feminist. But I think more of the counterculture was more susceptible to being prodded, pushed, and talked to about feminism than most of the non-counterculture was.

Clearly there's a bit of a Rorschach test going on here with the word itself; the word has come to have the unspoken connotation "worst, most embarassing features of" rather than what I think would be a fairer one.

I don’t think this qualifies as a ‘swipe’ at the counterculture by Will. It is just a book review, and a fairly good one.

That was what I meant - that the four-word take-away on "counterculture" and "feminism" I have is "the counterculture was unfeminist".

Hrmmm...I think that's a bit simple...

From my observation there were factions that were out and sexist. There were other factions that were enthusiastic supporters. And there were other factions that THOUGHT they were enthusiastic supporters, but were actually part of the problem in the first place.

Draw up a Venn diagram, and there'd be all sorts of overlapping circles, spheres in all sorts of dimensions...

the four-word take-away on "counterculture" and "feminism" I have is "the counterculture was unfeminist".

I think that's fair. There was some resentment of feminism in the civil rights movement, along the line of "what are those white ladies complaining about?" No doubt there was some sexism elsewhere, but I think that "unfeminist," is probably fairly accurate. I doubt attitudes were worse, in geneal, than in society at large.

To Gary, at 2:16pm:

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist."
– Dom Helder Camara, Brazilian archbishop

Which goes back to Bernard Yomtov's point about the tendency to treat the currents of the '60s counterculture as if anyone who belonged to one of them must have belonged to all of them. The SDS and the hippies hated each other. The people the women's liberationists were rebelling against were the leadership of the antiwar movement.

I've just met a fellow who was in the Black Panthers in LA, and went to the BPP 40th Anniversary, and it caused me to do some reading: Even people within a particular movement disliked, if not hated, each other. Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver had thoroughly different ideas on what the Panthers should be and how they should act. Both SDS and The Weathermen were ostensibly anti-war goups, but they had nothing in common other than that.

So, yeah, calling all the turmoil of the 60s The Counterculture and making grandiose statements that will include it all is no tgoing to work.

============================

The 2nd Amendment starts "In order to form a well-ordered militia...". I think the prime exemplar of a well-ordered militia was the Black Panthers. Yes or no?

"Both SDS and The Weathermen were ostensibly anti-war goups, but they had nothing in common other than that."

The Weathermen were an outgrowth/offshoot of the collapse of SDS, actually. Their foundation was in the Revolutionary Youth Movement (Maoist) wing of SDS's latter days. For quite a while, circa late '69, the Weathermen controlled what was left of the SDS National Office. This was after the SDS convention of '69, and the political battle between RYM and the PL (Popular Labor) wing. RYM demanded "armed struggle." They won the shell of SDS; the sane folks either left then, or largely had already left some time before. This is pretty much the common story for many leftist organizations, then, prior, and later.

Bernadine Dohrn, Bill Ayers, Mark Rudd: all came out of SDS.

So actually they had quite a bit to do with each other.

Otherwise, your general point is entirely correct, and, of course, pretty much any analysis of the times tends to require being specific as to year, as situations, be they political, cultural, interpersonal, or whathaveyou, changed so rapidly. God knows SDS did.

Altogether I'd have to opine that gwangung's comment about the Venn diagram, re feminism and the "counterculture" is far more accurate than more unilateral characterizations.

I've said stuff like the following before, but I have to note again that getting into, however briefly, a topic of leftist history, and contemplating the long, rich, and deep history of the New Left, the Old Left, leftist organizations like SDS, the League for Industrial Democracy, the Socialist Party, and on backwards through the 1930s, and the 1910s, and all the feuds and mergers and splits, and considering it on forwards, from the Sixties through the Seventies -- the Seventies being the period in which I spent a ton of time reading up on this history in depth -- again makes me consider the absurdity of Republicans calling Democratic Representatives and Senators -- Ted Kennedy, say, or Russ Feingold -- "leftists."

Because we have this rich, complicated -- if sometimes wildly wrongheaded, sometimes sensible, sometimes very screwed up, sometimes accomplishing good things, sometimes led by fools and knaves and worse, and sometimes led by noble, brave, forward-thinking people, all variously for better and worse at different times -- history of the left. And, y'know, the Democratic Party pretty much isn't part of it. When you're calling Senators "leftists," there's no term left for actual leftists, like those involved in SDS, the LID, and so on.

"I think the prime exemplar of a well-ordered militia was the Black Panthers. Yes or no?"

Armed, yes. "Well-ordered": at best, only in small bits on occasion. Otherwise, I'd probably like whatever you're smoking.

I see that Wikipedia unsurprisingly has a decent potted history of SDS, if anyone's interested.

Well, it's simply wrong that the people who were moving back to the land to live in communes were the people flying to India and going to rock concerts.

Thank you, Hogan.

I know a generous number of folks who lit out for the hills, in one way or another, back in the day. Among them are many of the most creative, resourceful, hard-working, and productive folks I knew or know, then or now.

I'm still waiting to read the definitive analysis of how the hippies of the 60s and 70s preserved traditional American culture in the face of the corporate and industrial sponsored suburban expansion of the mid to late 20th century.

But in my eight years of living in Seattle, I never got use to how relatively monotoned the region was

My experience living in Boston for the last 25 years, after growing up in greater NY and then living in Philly, is the same.

Thanks -

Reminds me of when I visited a leftist protest in Nagasaki, and my guide was mentioning all of the attacks and fights and various violence committed by the assorted groups on each other. If the left were really united, George Will might be somewhere other than the op-ed pages of your local newspaper.

The 2nd Amendment starts "In order to form a well-ordered militia..."

It actually doesn't: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

the counterculture's real President turned out to be Ronald Reagan. Yippie.

Harris nails it. That is exactly right. The affluence from which it was able to grow doesn't de-legitimize the counterculture. The problem with it was the romanticism, the solipscism, etc. Read Peggy Noonan or the Gipper himself: pure hippie drivel, on a sociological level.

I think it was Roy Edroso who said reviving the Panthers would be the best way to promote gun control. Because large numbers of conservatives would find gun ownership less appealing if militant black people were doing it.

Couple of elephants in the living room here.

1. The Cold War. The Evil Commies are going to blow us into radioactive glass, any minute now.

2. Vietnam. Get grabbed out of college and march through minefields for no particular reason.

Also, as hilzoy pointed out at the beginning of the thread, the "counterculture" was vast and diverse. About the only thing everybody in it had in common was that they'd stuck their heads up and said "Hey wait a minute! Is this *really* where we want to be going?".

Also, as hilzoy pointed out at the beginning of the thread, the "counterculture" was vast and diverse. About the only thing everybody in it had in common was that they'd stuck their heads up and said "Hey wait a minute! Is this *really* where we want to be going?".

That's more that can be said about this last couple generation, I think...

Because large numbers of conservatives would find gun ownership less appealing if militant black people were doing it.

I think this is an unwarranted assumption. And it's not as if militant blacks have had any trouble getting their hands on guns in the past.

@gwangung: That's unnecessarily harsh.

The anti-sweatshop, eco-activist, anti-corporate-globalization activists of the last fifteen years may not be a majority of their generation(s) (but nor were antiwar activists or hippies in mine). They're a significant enough part, though, to make your dismissal wrong.

"I think this is an unwarranted assumption."

As regards the current generations of conservative, it's certainly unproven, and therefore perhaps unwarranted.

As regards the generation of conservatives in the '60s, we have the record, which tends to be lacking in National Review editorials defending the Black Panthers', or other black militants', 2nd Amendment rights.

The anti-sweatshop, eco-activist, anti-corporate-globalization activists of the last fifteen years may not be a majority of their generation(s) (but nor were antiwar activists or hippies in mine). They're a significant enough part, though, to make your dismissal wrong.

Hm. Perhaps. But I see less of a cultural impression by the counter-cultural types of the last few years, with fewer innovations making their way into cultural forms and cultural content.

"But I see less of a cultural impression by the counter-cultural types of the last few years, with fewer innovations making their way into cultural forms and cultural content."

Our mass culture is vastly more fragmented and networked than we were forty years ago (though likely not more fragmented in toto); this naturally makes for much greater fragmentation of cultural innovations and adaptions.

Oh, and people who are thirty years older than a young generation aren't, as a rule -- and you certainly may be an exception -- the most highly tuned-in souls to what's innovative and cutting edge with the young counter-culture.

Also, the music kids today play: it's just noise, I tell you!

;-)

"As regards the generation of conservatives in the '60s, we have the record, which tends to be lacking in National Review editorials defending the Black Panthers', or other black militants', 2nd Amendment rights."

That is an interesting locution. Do you have a record of attacking 2nd Amendment rights of black people? Which attacks ought they have been defending?

I don't think Gary has attacked the 2nd Amendment rights of any, but I may be wrong. ;^)

Quite right, I should ask for access to a record of.....

"Do you have a record of attacking 2nd Amendment rights of black people?"

Not that I recall.

Because large numbers of conservatives would find gun ownership less appealing if militant black people were doing it.

I think this is an unwarranted assumption. And it's not as if militant blacks have had any trouble getting their hands on guns in the past.

As regards the generation of conservatives in the '60s, we have the record, which tends to be lacking in National Review editorials defending the Black Panthers', or other black militants', 2nd Amendment rights.

We also have the specific example of California's Mulford Act, proposed by Republican Don Mulford and signed by Republican Ronald Reagan in 1967 as a direct answer to the Black Panther Police Patrols. The Panthers -- after the shooting of Bobby Hutton by police -- had started exercising their rights under California law to carry loaded , registered guns openly in public. The Republicans got rid of that law posthaste.

There were also a lot of Southern gun laws in the early part of the century specifically aimed at disarming blacks.

So, as regards the historical record, I think it's only an "unwarranted assumption" if one hasn't really paid attention.

Oh, and people who are thirty years older than a young generation aren't, as a rule -- and you certainly may be an exception --

Um, no....

...though it just seems to me that what folks tell me are edgy or popular don't seem to be coming from the same place or using the same forms as the counter-cultural...they seem more marginalized now than then...

Also, the music kids today play: it's just noise, I tell you!

it's been literally just noise since at least 1980. well, some of it, anyway.

As regards the generation of conservatives in the '60s, we have the record, which tends to be lacking in National Review editorials defending the Black Panthers', or other black militants', 2nd Amendment rights.

We also have the record of NR generally being in favor of denying blacks all sorts of rights. It's hardly "unwarranted" to think that gun ownership rights were the unique exception.

@gwangung: What Gary said, plus sheer demographics. My g-g-generation was (and is) a huge cohort. None of the generations since has come close, including the 'echo boom' (our children).

So, as regards the historical record, I think it's only an "unwarranted assumption" if one hasn't really paid attention.

I was aware of that law, so we evidently have a contradiction. Or not, given that happened a generation back. And the Southern laws referred to, even further back. Why, only 150 years ago, we had slavery!

In any event, the result (probably) isn't going to be gun control laws in the sense that a gun control law advocate might approve of.

"Or not, given that happened a generation back. And the Southern laws referred to, even further back. Why, only 150 years ago, we had slavery!"

True, but it's unclear how that's relevant to the 1960s, the period in question.

"In any event, the result (probably) isn't going to be gun control laws in the sense that a gun control law advocate might approve of."

The result of what? (I'm not sure we're in the same conversation.)

True, but it's unclear how that's relevant to the 1960s, the period in question.

Or how the 1960s is relevant to the present time, the other period in question. But I repeat myself.

The result of what?

This justifiably modest proposal.

"Or how the 1960s is relevant to the present time, the other period in question."

Because Fraser at 10:51 said:

I think it was Roy Edroso who said reviving the Panthers would be the best way to promote gun control. Because large numbers of conservatives would find gun ownership less appealing if militant black people were doing it.
Thus introducing the 1960s, the Black Panthers, guns, and how conservatives at the time responded to the intersection thereof. Conversation went on from there. Conversation (the better sort, anyway) typically proceeds with one comment being relevant to the comment it's in response to; thus the relevancy here of each comment to the next, thus resulting in the comment whose relevance you query.
The result of what?

This justifiably modest proposal.

Ah. It might be helpful if you're going to respond to a quote some 19 comments back, to quote from a bit of it, so we have a clue what you're responding to, and thus not have to ask. But perhaps it was obvious to everyone else.

"(I feel like Ross Douthat may have raised this argument years ago, but I've long since lost the link).

After all, drugs and free love are a lot more fun for people with family resources (and social capital) to fall back upon. For instance, it’s a lot easier to be a college hippy and goof around in your 20s being “authentic” if you know that, eventually, you’ll be doing ok."

I'm sympathetic to this line of criticism.

So far as its authorship goes, I remember Dan Quayle trotting it out about the TV character "Murphy Brown" and her decision to have a child out of wedlock.

And if Dan Quayle was saying it, then it must have been fairly standard right wing fodder, circa late 80's. Don't know who the originator will have been, but someone at least a generation older than Douthat.

It might be helpful if you're going to respond to a quote some 19 comments back, to quote from a bit of it, so we have a clue what you're responding to, and thus not have to ask.

I did, Gary.

It seems to me that most gun control legislation that is passed is aimed at inexpensive weapons that poor people can afford, or alternately restrict in ways that have more impact in urban areas, like gun free school zones (because there are more of them in a concentrated area).

I think there is at least an argument that the regulations have a disparate impact on African Americans.

"It seems to me that most gun control legislation that is passed is aimed at inexpensive weapons that poor people can afford, or alternately restrict in ways that have more impact in urban areas, like gun free school zones (because there are more of them in a concentrated area).

I think there is at least an argument that the regulations have a disparate impact on African Americans."

Is this another "Why do Democrats hate black people" moment? Because the advocates for the kind of gun control legislation you seem to be talking about aren't typically Republicans.

Or perhaps the regulation that Republicans are willing to compromise on and allow only impact the poor.

"I did, Gary."

I was referring to this. You've now explained that that was in reference to a comment you made 19 previous comments earlier. How anyone was supposed to know what you were responding to is unclear.

Thus resulting in this extremely tedious and repetitive set of exchanges, which is now swallowing its own tail, as even you have apparently lost track of what you're responding to. Which was my point. Crypticism: not helpful.

It seems to me that most gun control legislation that is passed is aimed at inexpensive weapons that poor people can afford, or alternately restrict in ways that have more impact in urban areas

am i the only person here who thinks trying to paint gun control advocates as anti-poor [and anti-black] is shockingly disingenuous ?

I didn't paint the advocates, I painted the legislation that is passed, which does tend to restrict inexpensive weapons and leave more expensive weapons available.

I didn't paint the advocates, I painted the legislation that is passed

legislation doesn't create, aim, and advocate itself.

it's been literally just noise since at least 1980. well, some of it, anyway.

Long before that. My mother in law tells me that when she was a teenager, she and some friends were in her room listening to a recording of the Benny Goodman orchestra doing Sing Sing Sing. Her father came in, took the record off the turntable, and smashed it to pieces. Jungle music!


Benny Goodman orchestra doing Sing Sing Sing. Her father came in, took the record off the turntable, and smashed it to pieces. Jungle music!

I think that's "Swing, Swing, Swing." Don't tell George Will.

How anyone was supposed to know what you were responding to is unclear.

The fact that it followed immediately after a comment I made that did in fact quote what it was responding to might have been a clue. On the other hand, it might not. Things that I think are intuitively obvious to the casual observer frequently aren't.

So, did I confuse anyone else? When I'm following up a comment that I had just made, do I need to link back to the just-made comment, or quote it, in order to avoid being scolded?

"...in order to avoid being scolded?"

I didn't scold you.

I wrote: "Ah. It might be helpful if you're going to respond to a quote some 19 comments back, to quote from a bit of it, so we have a clue what you're responding to, and thus not have to ask. But perhaps it was obvious to everyone else."

That's a suggestion, and an admission of possible error; nothing more, nothing worse. It undermines efforts to prevent unnecessary scolding if non-scolding is characterized as scolding.

do you guys ever get the feeling you're having the same conversation over and over ?

What could you possibly mean by that, cleek?

It undermines efforts to prevent unnecessary scolding if non-scolding is characterized as scolding.

Evidently I mistook that reference to "crypticism" as scolding. I'll try to be less sensitive in the future.

legislation doesn't create, aim, and advocate itself.

No, but it does go through a process in Congress where it is often significantly changed, reduced, and compromised from the goals of those advocating it.

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