In a book otherwise filled with the liesnof the left, why then is Conlin so ruthlesslynhonest in debunking the myth of then”beautiful 60’s”? It seems suspicious.nAnd it is. Conlin’s real intent is not to exposenthe lies of the left, but to sanitizenthem. Quite simply, Conlin is repellednby the people who made up the 60’snmovement. This is easy enough to understand.nAfter all, these were peoplenwho urinated in public fountains, friedntheir brains with LSD, shouted obscenitiesnon PA systems, and exploded bombsnon college campuses. What bothers Conlinnmore than any of these failings,nthough, is that these nasty people hadnthe gall to call themselves radical leftistsnand thus to make the American publicndistrustfiil of the real radical left. O foulnbetrayal! Conlin is sure that the beautifijlnideas of the radical left are far morenbeautiftil than the “beautiful people” ofnthe 60’s movement, so he peremptorilyncuts them off. The radicals of the 60’snnew left, he argues implausibly, were notnreally “very left,” not really radical, notnreally even political. The first contortionnthis face-saving excommunication requiresnis a sweeping repudiation of thennumerous leftist intellectuals whonrepeatedly and persistently encouragednand identified themselves with the 60’snsubculture. These people, the same onesnwho had for years attacked bourgeoisncapitalism and championed Marxistnsocialism, were simply wrong to see anynreflection of their ideas in the “counterculture.”n(Then how, Mr. Conlin, cannwe be sure that they were not dead wrongnabout capitalism and socialism also?)nThe second contortion the excommunicationnof the 60’s movement requires is andrastic redefinition of the terms radical,nleftist, -ixApolitical. In Conlin’s lexicon,nall three are redefined simply in terms ofntheir relationship to socialist dogma, narrowlynconceived. Since few of the 60’s activistsnwere disciplined socialists of thensame sort which Conlin has now becomen(he dropped out of the movement inn’68), they were not therefore bona fidenradicals or leftists. These repulsive peo­nple, he explains, were simply culturalnrebels whose rebellion had no real politicalnor even much historical significance.nNo, on second thought, to get even furthernfrom the realm of political “relevance,”nhe identifies them as a “religious”nmovement. (For a socialist, whatncould be more irrelevant?) Conlin evennperforms the invaluable service of findingna historical analogue for us: the 60’snmovement was like that of the Manicheesnof the decade 490-500 A.D.n(Never mind, Conlin tells the reader,nthat the Manichees sought to purgenthemselves of the evil which resides innfleshly passions and the 60’s activistsnsought to purge their minds of the restraintsnupon such passions; if you standnon your head and squint just right, thentwo movements look remarkably similar.)nThis is a transparently disingenuousnstrategy, permitting Conlin simultaneouslynto indict the 60’s movement fornleaving behind the bourgeois ethic ofndecency, responsibility, and commitmentnand to indict it for failing to leavenbehind what Conlin identifies as thendistinctively bourgeois failings, includingnthat most reprehensible of all failings,nthe inability to reject capitalism innfavor of socialism. (Expediently, Conlinnfails to note that the failings he identifiesnas bourgeois are shared by every othernclass and that in their excoriation ofnbourgeois culture radical leftists likenhimself almost never mention that thenbourgeois have any virtues.) Predictably,nConlin condemns the new left muchnmore vigorously for not leaving behindnbourgeois capitalism, because this is an”political” decision, than he does fornleaving behind bourgeois ethics, becausenthis is merely a “cultural” decision.nIndeed, Conlin believes the modishnpreference for sexual adventurism rathernthan marital fidelity, for coke partiesnrather than family barbeques, is “notnvery important” because it fails to transcendn”the root assumptions on whichnAmerican order is based.” (This from anman who solemnly declares that thenpreference for coal rather than nuclearnpower is a political “issue of substance”!)nnnSensible thinkers have always realizednthat culture—religious, ethical, andneven recreational—is inextricably interwovennwith politics. The decline ofnculture always has irrimediate politicalnconsequences. Widespread cries for taxsupportednday-care centers, for example,nare only heard in a polity which is losingnits grip on the bourgeois sense of familialnobligation. Similarly, demands fornpublicly funded birth control are heardnonly in countries where the bourgeoisnstandard of morality is on its way out.nUnlike Conlin, the framers of the Declarationnof Independence understood this.nThat’s why they leaned this documentnnot only against their own lives and fortunes,nbut also against bourgeois honornand “reliance in divine Providence.”nConlin can understand the political significancenof human lives and fortunes; henevidently has no conception of thenpolitical significance of faith or honor.nPerhaps that’s why he does not includenthe revolution announced in the Declarationnin his list of “great revolutions”—nthe French, the Chinese, and the Russian.nThe reader, at least, may derivensome hope that America will be sparednthe “greatness” achieved by France,nChina, and Russia through their revolutionsnfrom the fact that Conlin ends hisnbook in near despair. America in generalnand the former leaders of the new left innparticular, he moans, are not movingntowards the socialist Utopia. Unfortunately,nhis despair is mollified by hisnfaith in Tom Hayden, whom he styles asn”the sole surviving son” of the 60’snmovement. In Hayden, Conlin sees annew prophet for American politics. Letnus hope that Americans are perceptivenenough to see the similarity betweennHayden’s prophetic mantle and a certainnemperor’s new clothes.nfascist, as any schoolboy can tell you,nis a word reserved for the use of the leftnwhen speaking about the right. It is indeedna word very much in vogue in contemporarynliberal circles when speakingnabout the capitalist right. About thirtynyears ago. New Deal liberals commonlynDecember 198Sn