I recently watched one of the the fun 1980s "debates" between G. Gordon Liddy and Timothy Leary, then between Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. They got my thinking of a pet fascination of mine: 1/
...How often ideas that sweep across the chattering classes and achieve status as Obviously True turn out in the fullness of time emerge as so obviously, stupidly incorrect. 2/
In the case of the 1960s, it was a notion cherished, indeed preserved in amber, by debaters Leary and Rubin, precisely as it had been articulated in Time's 1967 essay which enshrined "the man—and woman—of 25 and under" as "Man of the Year," to wit: " 3/
"He is the man who will land on the moon, cure cancer and the common cold, lay out blight-proof, smog-free cities, enrich the underdeveloped world and, no doubt, write finis to poverty and war. ...This is not just a new generation, but a new kind of generation," with...
"no time or target - not even the mellowing Communists - for hate."

Dubious even at its moment of articulation ("the man—and woman—25 and under" also threw knives and rocks at Martin Luther King in Chicago in 1966, and flocked to the presidential candidacy of George Wallace) 5/
it became increasingly threadbare by 1972 (when Baby Boomers gave a majority of their votes for Richard Nixon) and downright absurd by the time Jerry Rubin was upholding it, despite the fact they went for Ronald Reagan in 1980, then overwhelmingly in 1984.
This was an idea which once seemed so self-evident as to shape all punditry for years, but seems as sound as believing in Big Foot. 7/
So what idea bears resemblance to this follow in the present day? It's one of those things we can't know yet: the owl of Minerva flies at midnight, which is to say, true wisdom about the present we're living through is only available when that present becomes past. 8/
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