Magazine article The Nation

70 and Out?

Magazine article The Nation

70 and Out?

Article excerpt

Writing in behalf of the twentysomething generation a while back, an employee of a college library complained in The New York Times that the "baby boomers have a long-term lock on the upper levels" of "a job market that is drying up." The baby boomers are by now the fortysomething generation, and we read elsewhere that they have a similar grievance against their elders--or so the agitators for a war between the generations would have us believe.

These thoughts come to mind in the matter of Arthur Kinoy, the revered teacher of civil liberties law. Two decades ago, he led a successful defense of the Chicago Seven and the Constitution against Richard Nixon, who claimed that he needed no warrant to wiretap opponents of the Vietnam War. For twenty-six years now, students have come to Rutgers Law School in Newark to learn from him. Dean Peter Simmons calls him "a living legend" but says that the legend, having reached the age of 70, must leave the payroll this June.

Congress banned mandatory retirement in 1986 but granted higher education a waiver until 1993, subject to renewal. The idea was to make room in academe for new blood. That is a plausible notion, enthusiastically adopted by propagandists against the elderly. In the words of Richard Lamm, lately head of a business-financed agency called Americans for Generational Equity, "You've got a duty to die and get out of the way. Let the other society, our kids, build a reasonable life. …

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