a younger colleague asked me what
perceived to be the biggest changes that had
taken place in American culture since I was in
college. I entered college in 1969-need more
be said? Still, I'd long since gotten over any
Sixties nostalgia I may ever have felt, and,
fifteen years younger than me, he'd grown
to the full range of sophisticated cri-
tiques of Sixties-style leftism that had gained
currency over the past two decades-the ab-
sence of any meaningful class analysis by the
New Left easily being the most obvious and
After agreeing on the most pervasive
change that had taken place-that what was
considered the political right in the late Six-
ties and early Seventies had become the cen-
ter-we began to talk about the Sixties as
a kind of symbolic era, less important for
the successes or mistakes of the movements
of the time than for the belief instilled in
many young people that all social structures
were malleable and could be transformed for
the better. How many people, young or old,
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