I am described by some as a political Magellan who went around the world to the left and is coming in from the right. If you threw in libertarian tendencies, maybe you could say I took the trip via a polar route. I was born in 1957 into the “ivy league” section of Providence, Rhode Island, which is culturally and intellectually dominated by Brown University. As a consequence, I was raised in an environment that was steeped in questioning authority. Ironically, this mantra of individualism was “group think” during the youth movement era. One could thus question authority without deciding whether the preference was for a less controlled laissez-faire lifestyle or a more “benign” authoritarianism (if there is such a thing).
While I credit the liberal environment in which I matured for fostering those concepts, it did so during a relatively conservative time. Thus, I see in hindsight, it was not the values of liberalism, but the out-group status to which I was attracted. Now that our country has a relatively liberal outlook, I find that there is far less scholarly interest in the Brown community to critically examine the “great society,” or the vast environmental programs, that came when political power passed to my mentors and co-conspirators in the “youth movement.” Admittedly, this is a critique of higher education by someone who rejected that path. I graduated from high school in 1975 and haven’t seen the inside of a classroom again, except for a few short stints teaching Math in various private schools.