the nobility embrace revolution? Werenthey perhaps assured of both adventurenand minimal risk? Did they perhapsnassume that the new order that wouldnsucceed the destruction of the oldnwould defer to their leadership? Werenthey masochistically attempting to compensatenfor the sins of their fathers? Whyndid Dennis Sweeney, a youth with anbright future, pander to the regimented,npuritanical, statist society of the Vietcong?nPlato envisaged the decline of thenideal society as related to flaws in breedingnand in education. While many wouldndispute the former concern, the latter isnmost suggestive. Is it possible that thenyoung rebels of the 60’s and 70’s werenconditioned by their upbringing for thenrole they would play? Perhaps the childrennof the World War II generation—nsheltered from the Depression and warnexperience of their parents—^were shelterednfrom life itself Perhaps there wasnan overcompensation—!L resolve thatnone’s children should experience a betternexistence. Nothing was too good fornthis generation; “no” was not in itsnvocabulary. But perhaps it failed to learnndiscipline, restraint, self-control, andnlimit. Perhaps it failed to grasp thentragedy of human existence.nThe rebellious generation’s formalneducation stressed the pragmatic andnthe vocational but seldom disciplined ornchallenged. Especially ominous was itsnneglect of comparative history. There isnlitde that is more detrimental to utopianismnthan the sophisticated study of history.nThe student of history sees his agenand his society in a comparative perspectivenand realizes how little is new.nThe romance of revolution fades afterngulag, merely substituting a more oppressivenregime Ibr a less oppressive one.nJbixposure to comparative historynusually fosters an appreciation of thenimperfections and limits of human nature.nIt encourages placing one’s own worldnin a more realistic perspective. Existingnreality is contrasted with mundane alternatives,nnot with abstract perfection; itsnlimitations and weaknesses thus becomenmore intelligible and tolerable. Claimsnof ideological perfectionism are viewednwith contempt. Charges that a currentnmovement or measure represents man’snlast hope receive the ridicule they deserve.nContentions that conditions aren”iliisanthology mostly succeeds… it isnthis.”nso bad—the system so oppressive—thatnany change will be an improvement arendismissed. The student of comparativenhistory stands apart from the ideologuenwho is intoxicated with change andnwho rejects his society in the name of annonexistent ideal. Few of the outragednparticipants in the turbulent events ofnthe 60’s and 70’s were exposed to or interestednin comparative history. Seldomnwas it viewed as “relevant.”nHow might one explain the mediancoverage of these enthusiasts? Initially,nnone spoke for any significant clientele,nand yet each was successfril in securingnample cover^e from the respectablenmedia. Their inane manifestos werenoften treated with the deferencenrendered a Pauline epistle. Lowenstein’snmany-purpose letters merited the Newn” ‘Dreams Die Hard’… this ver>- fine piece of reportagc-as-book… is sered up with allnof the earnest zeal that young people used to di.spiay…”n—Chicago Tribunenone examines the record of the “glorious”nrevolts-, the prerevolutionary promisesnand postrevolutionary realities, the dogmatism,nthe intolerance, the violence,nand the bloodshed that accomplish sonlittle. Revolution often leads to thenYork Times’s attention. Sweeney troupednto Mississippi with all the subtlety of anpapal inissionary visit. Harris’s electionnas Stanford student-body president meritednnational media attention. Why werenthe American media so willing to servennnthese pygmies? What explains the mumalingratiationnexercise? What was the linknbetween the media and the activists?nWhy should an American media, subsidizednby business and dependentnupon opermess and freedom, cater tonpeople who were promoting a statist,nregimented, puritanical society? Whynhave the media been so vulnerable tonthe left? Harris and Stokes provide nonanswers.nMoreover, the described activistsnseem to have experienced a state ofnboredom not unlike that characterizingnthe privileged rebels in prerevolutionarynFrance and Russia. Harris’s luminariesnseem to lack family ties, a sense of place,ngcxxl enough to ju.stifv’ more anthologies liken—New York Times Book Reviewnand pride in possession. They lacked disciplinenand were persistendy trying ton”find themselves.” They seldom remainednstill; contemplation seemed foreign tontheir natures. Lowenstein, for example,nmoved from an unsuccessftil academicncareer to an unsuccessful administrativencareer to an unsuccessful literary careernto an unsuccessful political career. Yetnhe purported to possess expertise on anlong list of domestic issues as well as onnCentral American and Afiican politics.nSweeney moved from activism to musicnto carpentry to assassinatioa His conspiracy-obsessednworld view culminated innthe belief that his person had beennwfred by the CIA and that his old mentornAUard Lowenstein was somehowninvolved in the plot. Harris, likewise,nshifted from one concern to another,nincluding a temporary marriage tonfolksinger Joan Baez. Collectively, thenthree flipped from avocation to avocation,nfrom crisis to crisis, from locale tonlocale—^all eagerly willing to pontificatenon the latest cause.nBut what transformed these dissidentsninto leaders—^and each purported withnsome truth to be a youth leader? Theynwere not characterized by any profunditynof thought, tradition of service, or rec-niiiiilSnMay 1983n