land, appearing on campuses and television programs innopposition to such ideologues as Tom Hayden, LeonardnWeinglass, Dick Gregory, Staughton Lynd, Ayn Rand,nMalcolm X, William Kunstier, and Michael Harrington.nSuch debates foster a distaste for ideological enthusiasms,neven among young Americans. Sometimes the element innthose audiences most tolerant of my opinions was the localnchapter of Students for a Democratic Society. The frontnrows of seats commonly were occupied by whatever ideologicalngang of students was strongest on that particularncampus—Fidelistas, Maoists, Republic of New Africanmilitia, the craziest sects from the Academy of Lagado.nOnce I saw a bazooka being carried toward my lecture hall,nTHE LURE OF YOUTHnIn the early 1920’s, Wyndham Lewis began to discern thenmakings of a trend. Virtually everywhere he looked—nand particularly in novels, newspapers, and magazines—nLewis found writing that retailed the wonders of childishness,nprecocity, and primitive energy; that implied, too,nthat life was quite finished at, say, 35.nLewis devotes The Doom ofYouth (1932) to exposing thisn”nursery-philosophy in operation.” He discusses, amongnother things, the writing of one Godfrey Winn, a wellknownnFleet Street columnist who regularly treated thenpublic to gooey meditations on why, for example, hen”should like just to stay nineteen.” Lewis also devotesnseveral sections of the book to gatherings of recent newspapernand magazine articles that deal largely with the assortednphysical drawbacks of aging, and that he suggests speak “innloud tones, for themselves.” One announces “THE WRIN­nKLE MENACE”; another demands “DO YOU FEARnFORTY?” Others claim that “YOUTH IS AT THEnWHEEL,” that “YOUTH IS RESTLESS”—tired of “ThenMess of the World For Which Generations of Elders ArenResponsible.” “The Boys and Girls,” asserts another head,nwill “Put Things Right.”nIn The Doom ofYouth, Lewis contends that this rampantn”youngergenerationconsciousness” began because, in thenwake of the First World War, “everyone wished” to “blotnout the past” and “to be, as it were, new born.” But he alsoninsists more expansively—and perhaps less convincingly—nthat firmly behind the spread of “youth-propaganda” was anjunto of monopolists and magnates who schemed to create anfad-obsessed consumer culture, and so shrewdly enlisted thenpopular press—“the propaganda department, as it were, ofnBig Business”—to trumpet repeatedly the latest theories,nthe newest products, the hottest cinema stars. As importantly,nsuch stories helped “Big Business” remind its “herds innoffice, workshop, and factory” that, since their ultimatenworth was wholly related to their nimble youthfulness, theynought to shut up and be happy with whatever work theyncould secure once they found themselves on the far side ofnBrian Murray is professor of English at Youngstown StatenUniversity.nand two elderly professors were among the band of thenideologically faithful who bore it.nSo I am not of the opinion that it would be well to pournthe heady wine of a new ideology down the throats of thenAmerican young. If one summons spirits from the vastyndeep, can they be conjured back again? What we need tonimpart is political prudence, not political belligerence.nIdeology is the disease, not the cure. All ideologies,nincluding the ideology of vox populi vox dei, are hostile tonenduring order and justice and freedom. The Constitutionnof the United States was not framed by ideologues, twoncenturies ago; and an intelligent repudiation of all ideologynmight well be woven into our bicentennial celebrations, ccnby Brian Murrayn30. Lewis argued that these sinister business interests aimednultimately to put the wages of all workers who hit 29 or sonon a diminishing scale, and to recruit ever-increasingnnumbers of stupid and eager adolescents, who could be runncheaply and quietiy, like machines. Thus “youth,” thoughnapotheosized, was in the long run “doomed.”nWhatever its more immediate causes, the modern cult ofnyouth that Lewis described grew even more pervasive as thennations of Europe and North America began to rebuild atnthe conclusion of the Second World War. By the mid-n1950’s, scores of novelists and script and jingle writers werenadvertising the message that no fate is worse than passingninto adulthood; that only among the ranks of the young andnthe young-at-heart are found the wise and truly alive; that.n.* //’ #” J’ ^ ^n*r *,- 0 if ^- ^’n»«««9tn• ••PWPfWWW’Xn»fl»»BP»»«»^n99ep«««E»»«snt#»p#»!f*n• Hlgil:n•PWS;nmnPnnn4t .«• n- *f? * -“n.^ ^mmmwrn^n•”-^mMnZ.FirZ.nAPRIL 1986/21n