Ideas are powerful things, requiring not a studious contemplation but an action, even if it is only an inner action. Their acquisition obligates each man in some way to change his life, even if it is only his inner life. They demand to be stood for. They dictate where a man must concentrate his vision. They determine his moral and intellectual priorities. They provide him with allies and make him enemies. In short, ideas impose an interest in their ultimate fate which goes far beyond the realm of the merely reasonable.
The fundamental impulse of the movement is neither masturbatory nor concretely lesbian — although it of course offers warm house to both these possibilities; it is an impulse to maidenhood — to that condition in which a woman might pretend to a false fear or loathing of the penis in order to escape from any responsibility for the pleasure and well-being of the man who possesses it.
Topics: Feminism, Women
It might sound a paradoxical thing to say –for surely never has a generation of children occupied more sheer hours of parental time –but the truth is that we neglected you. We allowed you a charade of trivial freedoms in order to avoid making those impositions on you that are in the end both the training ground and proving ground for true independence. We pronounced you strong when you were still weak in order to avoid the struggles with you that would have fed your true strength. We proclaimed you sound when you were foolish in order to avoid taking part in the long, slow, slogging effort that is the only route to genuine maturity of mind and feeling. Thus, it was no small anomaly of your growing up that while you were the most indulged generation, you were also in many ways the most abandoned to your own meager devices by those into whose safe-keeping you had been given.
The hatred of the youth culture for adult society is not a disinterested judgment but a terror-ridden refusal to be hooked into the, if you will, ecological chain of breathing, growing, and dying. It is the demand, in other words, to remain children.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Norman Cousins American Journalist
- Robin Morgan American Activist
- Carl Bernstein American Journalist
- Mignon McLaughlin American Journalist
- Marianne Williamson American Activist
- Norman Podhoretz American Political Activist
- Sydney J. Harris American Essayist, Drama Critic
- Ralph Nader American Activist
- Elizabeth Taylor English Actor
- Letty Cottin Pogrebin American Writer