Revolution, American Style: The Nineteen-Sixties and Beyond

Revolution, American Style: The Nineteen-Sixties and Beyond

Revolution, American Style: The Nineteen-Sixties and Beyond

Revolution, American Style: The Nineteen-Sixties and Beyond

Excerpt

America, we are incessantly informed, is in the midst of or, perhaps, emerging from the Reagan "revolution" which, allegedly, is merely one expression of a more expansive "conservative revolution." Yet the mantle of "revolution" is frequently claimed by those who perceive the ex-President and his ideological compatriots as "counterrevolutionary." In a possibly more profound sense, José Ortega y Gasset contends that Western civilization has been in "revolution" for the past three centuries: a civilization presently subsumed by the technological, scientific, and computer "revolutions," which are either participants in this greater "revolution "--or are not-- and which manifest a postindustrial extension of the industrial "revolution"--or do not.

Albert Camus extols the rebel and abhors the "revolutionary"; Erich Fromm proposes the exact opposite; but what they favor and what they oppose are virtually the same. Recent years have witnessed the "revolution" of higher expectations and the "revolution" of lowered expectations. To the minds of some, Nazism and fascism are the most crucial "revolutionary" developments of the century. Many prefer "communism," even as commercial products proudly announce themselves to be "revolutionary." There is, of course, the sexual "revolution," not to be confused with the gender "revolution." Those who determine the foreign policy of the United States advocate an array of "revolutions" and resist others, concurrently lauding "revolution" and despising it amidst a tortured cacophony of pronouncement and behavior. The word abounds and coherence fails while a myopic preoccupation with "revolution "saturates the political reflexes of the nation.

To be sure, we could get rid of the word. But another would . . .

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