Monday, May 12, 2008

Reading Recommendation

I am up early this morning and catching up on the emails in my Inbox, many of which are the Wall Street Journal's "Best of the Web", edited by the brilliant James Taranto.

One such email contains a link to a video which purports to expose Senator Barack Obama's links to The Weather Underground's William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who the video claims helped launch his political career.

This got me to musing about why so many young people of that era developed such hatred and revulsion for a country that had given them nothing but affluence and opportunity. I think that Robert Bork's Slouching Towards Gomorrah offers the best explanation.

My reading of Bork's thesis is that these young people, who had not earned their affluence by dint of facing the twin hardships of the Great Depression and World War II, felt guilty for their (in their minds) ill-gotten gains. They couldn't make sense of a world with so much cruelty and suffering for some but not others (themselves included mainly among the latter group). Having forsaken religion (a potential source of comfort and guidance), and rather than work constructively within the system created by their forefathers that had served them and their country so well for so long, they lashed out at it for saddling them with their guilt.

I can't think of a better, more cogent explanation. The book is a good read, even if Bork does let his contempt for these 60s radicals shine through unabashedly.

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