“Gates of Eden: American Culture in the Sixties” — In Praise of Skepticism
September 28, 2009
“One of the healthier things we learned in the sixties, and are unlikely to forget, was to be more skeptical of the pose of objectivity. When we hear words of wisdom, we want to know who is talking. When the voice of reason speaks, we’re inclined to ask what unconscious needs are at work. When we look at the social or economic structure, we want to know whose interests are being served. . . .Even in a state of economic retrenchment*, when many of the innovations and reforms of the sixties get shoved to the back burner, our skeptical, critical habits of mind have proved to be among the sixties’ most durable legacies.”
— Morris Dickstein, Gates of Eden: American Culture in the Sixties, 1977
* When Dickstein was writing this the country was reeling from the effects of the 1974-75 recession, then the most severe economic downturn since WW II.