My last column contained a disparaging reference to criticisms of course syllabi. In making it, I was referring to those student activists who disregard various Western thinkers on the grounds of their white male status; who hold the attitudes that helped overturn the core curriculum at Stanford and are currently threatening humanities courses at Columbia, Reed, and Harvey Mudd. I was not referring to those who are advocating for Harvard to create an Ethnic Studies department, nor to those who continue to press it to instate a great books-based core curriculum.
But some of Leary’s friends dropped back in. For young people on the left, psychedelic pandemonium came with resentful rebellion: railing against Cold War brinkmanship, sexual repression, and racial segregation. In North Carolina, teenage sit-ins sparked a countrywide sit-in movement. In Berkeley, thousands of students defied a ban on on-campus political activities. In Chicago, over 200,000 students boycotted classes in protest of ongoing segregation. And at Harvard, scandal erupted when the media found out that undergraduates were taking the separation of procreation and sex into new territory.