Fraternity and Politics: Choosing One's Brothers

By Fred E. Baumann | Go to book overview

5
Conclusion

This has been a gloomy and, I have to admit, not a new story. As the quest for fraternity became more serious, the price kept getting higher. What is champagne-laced sentimental phoniness for the Fledermaus party turns into hypocrisy and sanctimony for SDS activists. While there have clearly been some personal casualties, and the record is just beginning to be written on the ultimate integrity and capacity of the activist generation (with the present administration as the first really interesting example for study), the price was mostly paid by the institutions they demoralized and the next generations of students who attended them. For the sans-culottes the price becomes political failure, brought on in part by the immoderation and unreality of their program, but there is a psychological price of considerable proportions to be paid by murderers who keep shouting in the hope they themselves won't notice what they are. When we get to Sartre's theoretical purification of the fraternal quest, we find ourselves in hell, not only engaged in terror against the brother but against oneself as one dissolves into a vortex (but, still, alas, a located one) of fear and hatred.

But so what? When I began this book, many years ago and under the strong impression of the sixties, I thought that the incapacity of liberal democracy to give a sufficiently noble account of itself to its elite young was a serious and perhaps fundamental flaw that had to be understood and addressed. The potentiality for self-hatred and the resultant fanati-

-125-

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Fraternity and Politics: Choosing One's Brothers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1 - Fraternity in America 9
  • 2 - Fraternity and SDS 23
  • 3 - Fraternity and the Sans-Culottes 55
  • 4 - Fraternity-Terror": The Contribution of Jean-Paul Sartre" 89
  • 5 - Conclusion 125
  • Bibliography of Cited Sources 143
  • Index 147
  • About the Author *
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