1968 and The Discourse of Compassion: The Long March to Social Inclusion

Lecture by Andrei S. Markovits

Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Karl W. Deutsch Collegiate Professor of Comparative, Politics and German Studies, Professor of Political Science, Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Professor of Sociology The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

held on the 5th of June 2018 in Stuttgart, Germany

[We are publishing this text with kind permission by the author]

Deutsche Version

– Dedicated to the memory of my friend and colleague MOISHE POSTONE             (1942 – 2018) –

Thank God for the dominance of the decimal system that has allowed me to come to speak to you today. It is merely due to this fascinating convention and transcultural habit as to how we humans categorize things in decanal segments — salaries, expenses, the stock market, political and sporting competitions, our ages (personal, political, historical) and, of course, the commemoration of events – that we accord certain “round anniversaries” such significance.

Who knows the exact reasons: Maybe because we have ten fingers which then makes sense to learn to categorize things by our very own God-given digital resources. The Sumerians developed the sexagesimal system (base 60) that they passed to the Babylonians: just think of 60 seconds, 60 minutes, and 360 degrees. Another system (base 12) predates the Sumerians and has its remnants today as well: 12 inches, 12 hours. It is well known that to mathematicians, 12 is a much more attractive number than 10. And there exists the “Dozenal Society of America” that wants to replace the currently dominant decimal system with a duodecimal one. I predict that they will not be too successful in their endeavors in the foreseeable future.

My point is clear: All these temporal categorizations are completely arbitrary and random. There is nothing inherently analytically important or compelling in our commemorating something following its 50th anniversary as compared to its 48th (which we would in the duodecimal system) or its 53rd. The temporal nature of these memorializations is completely arbitrary.

Much less arbitrary but analytically so much more telling is the actual context of their memorializations. And none speaks louder than the virtually total nationalized compartmentalization of these memorialized events. This pertains to “1968” as well even though this phenomenon allegedly was a transnational occurrence. But one would not know this from its current memorializations: Following the German media, it is almost exclusively about “1968” events in Germany. Even the framing text that accompanies this fine VERANSTALTUNGSREIHE speaks of “Ereignis 1968” by invoking only German tropes such as the murder of Benno Ohnesorg (who was killed on June 2, 1967 if my memory serves me well) and the occupation of the Frankfurt Institut fuer Sozialforschung. Not a word about France, let alone about the United States. Now maybe somebody somewhere in Germany mentioned Paris or Prague or events in the United States and Japan – I did not do a systematic search on this — but I did not see any. Same with my assessing the French memorialization of “1968”. Here, too, one encountered only “Les evenements” (of Paris) and “les soixsanthuitards” but little, if anything about the Free University in Berlin and/or Rudi Dutschke and their influences on ensuing developments in the politics of the Federal Republic. And, like in Germany, complete silence about the American events preceding Paris. This very same provincialism also pertains to the discussion of 1968 in the United States, where there has been hardly anything on events in Germany and France (though we at the University of Michigan’s Center for European Studies had a big event on the European manifestations of “1968”). I would actually argue that by the sheer magnitude of these events, this particular year was at least as weighty in the United States as it proved to be in France and Germany, if not more so: President Johnson’s announcement not to run for re-election, followed by the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. followed by the student riots at Columbia University – all in April of that year – followed by the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, followed by the battles between the Chicago Police and new-left inspired demonstrators at the convention of the Democratic Party in August. In my presentation I will only discuss one of these events (that of Columbia University) and only do so – quasi pars pro toto — to highlight this annus mirabilis’ lasting legacy by confining my remarks exclusively to the American situation. I will do so for two reasons: First, because I know it best; and second, because I presume that you perhaps might be interested in hearing about a “1968” and its consequences that you might find less familiar than your own German case.

One more prefatory remark: It would be bordering on irresponsible folly to argue that anything that happened in “1968” had a causal effect on any of our lives today. First, there are never any compelling causations in history, only murky correlations rendered even more complex by random, incalculable detours that zig and zag. There are no blue prints, no master plans, no teleological processes and outcomes. No massive, irrepressible rivers; only periodic creeks that appear in some order though with massive interruptions and any clear patterns of course. Second, there are no heroes. Even the “good guys” of history commit egregious errors in moral judgement and daily comportment. There are no exceptions to this rule in my book! I have never extolled any “achtundsechziger” and I never will. Their missteps have often been too ugly for me and often not of their own doing. Life just happens that way. It is messy. Third, I have always been a great believer in my former Massachusetts congressman Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, Jr.’s famous dictum that “All politics is local”. Even though he meant it differently from how I see things, I really believe that, as my dear friend Volker Bahl so aptly wrote me in anticipation of my lecture today “Fehler wie auch Fortschritte entwickeln sich nicht aus der Sicht der Ferne der 50 Jahre, sondern immer wieder im Kleinen und Oertlichen, durch langwierige Kleinarbeit…ohne dabei das Grosse und Ganze aus dem Blick zu verlieren.” Spot on! Thus, it is fine to describe massive changes in historical, political and cultural contexts but it is unacceptable to me to demand that all such lead to greater morality, deeper virtue or nobler human behavior. They don’t! In the rest of my lecture, I will highlight a novel tenor that has clearly influenced the music of American life since the late 1960s. However, I will never judge whether this music has become prettier, more soothing, less cacophonous than what existed previously. It is merely different!

Also, my ensuing remarks might be construed as a panegyric for “1968” since I will mention mainly positive developments emanating from it. Please, chalk this up solely to the very limited time that I have here this evening. I will not regale you with the ruined lives that this year’s events and its consequences caused so many friends: from drug overdoses to shattered families; from never recovering from the damages incurred by having joined various sects that mostly turned out to be fraudulent operations of megalomaniacs to blowing up in houses in which people built bombs for the revolution (as did my acquaintance Ted Gold on March 6, 1970 in Greenwich Village who also lived in Furnald Hall like I during his student years at Columbia); from having the sudden normlessness and liberty and shift in values and behavior de-anchor people to the point that they never regained any semblance of stability and safety that we all need for a good life. I do not mean to glorify “1968” one bit even though I see it as a major watershed in the enhanced inclusion of formerly excluded humans, indeed species well beyond humans, and thus see it as a major agent of democratization.

Let me delineate for you MY “1968” which, I think, will feature some relevant points to my overall presentation: It was a beautiful spring day in the very early afternoon on Tuesday, April 23, barely three weeks after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and I had just walked out of my class on comparative politics held like most of my classes in Columbia’s famed Hamilton Hall, the center of the university’s undergraduate college. My steps led me just a few yards to the building’s west where at the well-known “Sun Dial”, the heart of Columbia’s campus, a group of students had gathered listening to Raymond A. Brown, the leader of The Students’ Afro-American Society (SAS). He berated Columbia for planning to build a gymnasium for its students in nearby Morningside Park which was one of the few green spots in neighboring Harlem. Not only was this rich, world-famous Ivy League university populated almost entirely by privileged white males on every level (students, administrators, faculty) about to build a second gymnasium (it already had a perfectly fine sport complex on campus) on land that it acquired cheaply from its almost entirely black and poor surrounding neighborhood, but in its paternalistic largesse it was going to build a separate entrance to the new facility that was to be used solely by members of the Harlem community. Enriching the devastating symbolism was the fact that this entrance was structurally underneath the one above it which was reserved for Columbia’s almost entirely white and rich student body. The gym project presented a perfect emblem – or caricature—of “the man”: a powerful white institution imposing its will on the black community while offering limited access to a separate-but-unequal facility. But Brown did not leave things at this topic. Instead, he also raised the issue of Columbia University’s membership in a consortium that did advanced research on military devises deployed in the increasingly hated War in Vietnam. Brown also spoke of other ills befalling victimized people and underrepresented causes in Columbia’s immediate neighborhood but also across the globe. This was my very first experience of an eloquent manifestation of what today has come to be known as “intersectionality”, one of THE key contemporary legacies of 1968. The group grew and soon somehow found its way marching towards – and into – Hamilton Hall where it proceeded to occupy the building and take the Dean of the College hostage in his office. I loved what I had heard but I felt a certain skepticism towards the spontaneous festiveness on the part of many white students who had joined the growing crowd. There was a certain casualness to their anger, a certain permissive luxury that I had always distrusted in my many long-night debates in the dormitories with many of my peers that belonged to Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) or were its sympathizers. I loved their intellectual erudition, but I distrusted their reasons for action and found them au fond not compellingly emanating from their own material conditions and historical legacies: Did they do this for fun, to meet girls, be cool, experience an adventure that one simply must as a college student? I also distrusted their unmitigated adoration of iconic figures such as Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro, and worst of all Mao Zedong. Even then, democracy to me always necessitated skepticism towards ANY leadership, if not even outright hostility to it. The posters in my dormitory rooms were of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and – of course – my beloved Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, never of political leaders of any kind.

In any case, good boy that I was, I had a seminar on political parties and interest groups that afternoon at 5PM for which I still had to do the reading and I proceeded to leave Hamilton Hall and go to neighboring Butler Library and perform my duties as a good student. My sense of fulfilling these duties hailed in part from knowing what an immense emotional sacrifice it was for my father to let me go to Columbia and depart from him in far-away Vienna which was so important for him on so many levels, not least that unlike he, who could never leave a continent that caused him nothing but pain and death, I would be given the opportunity to succeed in the United States, the GOLDENE MEDINE (goldenes Land), that so many European Jews of my father’s generation came to call and see America. The least I could do to compensate my father’s emotional sacrifice was to be the best student that I could be. I am not using this as an excuse for my not participating in the occupation of Hamilton Hall and any of the subsequent buildings during the Columbia University uprising in April and May of 1968. I am just adding this personal touch that contributed to my behavior.

By that evening, something crucial had happened: The African-American students asked all the whites to depart from Hamilton Hall. This action became so symbolic of arguably the most significant legacy of “1968” in the United States: The complete MUENDIGKEIT of African-American activism sui generis, without any white – thus at least structural if not intentional – patronizing. Black students became their own subjects. This moment also ended one key ingredient of the FDR-led New Deal coalition that was so essential to the being of the Democratic Party: the harmonious relationship between Jews and African-Americans. While still present in many contexts, since 1968 this relationship remains strained and needs to be constantly re-negotiated from case to case. There is no automaticity to it like there used to be as late as the Freedom Riders of 1963 when Northern Jews travelled to the segregated South to help register local blacks to vote and were lynched by the Ku Klux Klan in the process. Still, as Mark Rudd, the SDS leader on the Columbia campus at the time clearly stated in an opinion piece of The New York Times on April 23 of this year: Far and away the most important occurrence of that time in terms of its historical significance was the African-American students’ autonomy which, Rudd, like I, see as a major inclusive – hence democratizing – step in the ongoing democratizing struggle of American politics.
Evicted from Hamilton Hall, SDS-led white students proceeded to occupy four additional Columbia buildings, including Low Library, where they held the president of the university hostage. The campus ceased to function properly leading to a week-long heated discussion among three constituencies: the protesters who occupied the buildings plus their allies on the outside; opposing students who were genuinely hostile to the activists and their aims; and a group of students and faculty acting as buffers between the two sides who saw as their main function a prevention of the impending police attack that we all expected. With two of my now deceased professors, I was very active in this in-between group because I believed in the occupiers’ causes but did not approve of their methods and, in a deeper way, distrusted their real motivations. Then in the wee hours of April 30th, the University administration summoned the NYPD’s Tactical Patrol Force to clear the students from the occupied buildings. Excepting Hamilton Hall, which the African-American students left voluntarily and peacefully, the other places became brutal battle grounds with hundreds of students and policemen injured. I will never forget that night for many reasons of which I will state only one here because it, too, has remained such a legacy of “1968”: here were rich Jewish and WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) kids from the country’s fanciest neighborhoods and best schools having grown up in material abundance screaming their hatred and contempt for their Italian, Irish, Slovak, Polish and even black counterparts of the same age except that the latter wore blue uniforms and hailed from Staten Island and Queens, not Manhattan’s Upper West Side or Upper East Side. In a strange way, I saw this clash as a class war which it truly was though with inverted actors: economically, culturally, socially privileged leftists fighting representatives of the very people whose power the former purported to represent. This cleavage became the split in the Democratic Party, reproduced on an even more massive scale three months later at its presidential nominating convention in Chicago, from which it never recovered: on the one hand, a white intelligentsia and privileged group of liberals in an alliance with African-Americans; on the other hand working class males with no college education who constituted the traditional urban working class, THE key backbone of the Democratic Party since the New Deal of the early 1930s. In my political science classes at Columbia, I learned that voting for the Republican Party increased massively with one’s educational attainment and one’s economic, social and cultural capital – excepting Jews. And that the Democratic Party’s most reliable backers were working class folks with Irish, East and South European background inhabiting the big cities like New York, Chicago and Boston. The exact reverse commenced in 1968 (Columbia, Chicago) and completely realigned the American party system: From then onward, the white working class came to support the Republicans – Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Trump! The South, solidly Democratic since Reconstruction after the Civil War, became solidly Republican immediately after 1968. And gradually one of the most reliable predictors of voting for the Democratic Party has become wealth and education: the higher on both counts the person is the more likely it is that he or she supports the Democrats. Let us not forget that in no other advanced industrial liberal democracy is the “gender gap” in voting as pronounced as in the United States with women voting disproportionately Democratic and men voting Republican. But as Daniel Wirls’ work so nicely shows, this is not so much a consequence of the leftward movement or liberalization of women as it is due to the rightward shift and the increasingly conservative bent of men, particularly white men. Lest we forget: The last time a majority of white men voted for a Democratic presidential candidate was in 1964 — for Lyndon Johnson. Then “1968” happened and the white men took flight to the Republicans. “1968” rendered the Democratic Party into an alliance of so called “limousine liberals”, African Americans, other non-European ethnics like Latinos, Asians, Muslims and Jews, though the latter featured a growing and vocal minority that came to defect to the Republicans because of yet another major shift caused by “1968”: The global Left’s increased distancing from Israel which has also infected the Democratic Party. Class politics that so defined the Left-Right, Democratic-Republican cleavage pre-1968 mutated into featuring new major fault lines defining American politics mainly concentrated on race, gender and other items defining the larger concept of identity politics. Just think how for the great Woody Guthrie the prototypical agents of progressive politics, so evident in great songs like “Pastures of Plenty” and “Hard Travelin’”, were the white workers of Oklahoma and the Dust Bowl and how these people’s plight was at the heart of leftwing politics in the United States. In the post-1968 era, the very same people became Merle Haggard’s “Okie from Muskogee”, the conservative, patriotic, country-music-loving, left-elite-hating white man from middle America, the backbone of Trumpism. And make no mistake about this: From “1968” onward to this very day, the main fault line of this great American divide remains primarily cultural, not economic. The increasingly growing cleavage that has divided America since “1968” is thus rightfully called the great “culture war” which, if anything has intensified over the decades since “1968”.

Let me just give you some key examples of how 1968 changed Columbia which are indicative of the far-reaching nature of this important year’s consequences:
–Columbia College, the vaunted undergraduate institution of this university, became co-educational in the early 1970s, as did many of its Ivy League cousins like Yale, though also telling of the changes of this era, Barnard College, Columbia College’s traditional female cousin across Broadway, chose to remain only female and has become the more radically feminist of the two institutions. This institutional split very much reflects the two main strains of the second wave of feminism that crystalized in the United States in the wake of the 1960s: equality feminism (Columbia); identity feminism (Barnard).

–The much greater presence of women on Columbia’s faculty. It would simply be impossible for any Columbia undergraduate to major in political science without ever experiencing a female professor in the circa 40 courses of her or his four-year presence on campus. I certainly had no female instructors at Columbia, but neither did I have such in my Gymnasium in Vienna. I was never taught by a female in any educational setting other than by Frau Kleefass in the Nikolaus Lenau Schule in Timisoara between 1955 and 1958. I can assure you that no Columbia undergraduate can currently complete his four years on that campus without encountering a female faculty member. This goes well beyond the humanities and the social sciences and includes the much-discussed STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering. Mathematics).
–The curricular reworking of Columbia’s two famed year-long courses called “Contemporary Civilization” and “Literature Humanities” that have remained compulsory since 1919 and 1937 for every single Columbia undergraduate regardless of her or his major. When I took these two fabulous courses, the canon was solely that of the famed DWEMS – Dead White European Males. No longer! The offerings now include the works of many non-European authors, as well as females though the “dead” still seems to persist showing perhaps that true greatness, an obvious requirement to make it as an author studied in these two courses, needs to surpass one’s physical life.
“1968” challenged fundamentally the desirability of Western progress and all discrete dichotomies such as male-female: It completely altered how we view sexuality – recently I watched by sheer accident an episode of WHEEL OF FORTUNE, that most conventional and tame and mainstream of American game shows, where the contestants featured gay couples, lesbian couples and transgender couples. Unbelievable!!! The ideal American couple representing the Victorian age and so popularized by TV shows such as, among many others, “Leave it to Beaver” – male working father; female housewife mother; two kids; house in the suburbs – has completely disappeared and given way to shows like “Shameless” and myriad others in which there exist a multiplicity of family relations that change in their sexual and gender roles from episode to episode. (I find it totally remarkable how quickly this massive social change became accepted by the American public. In a matter of five years, these sexual matters ceased to be a divisive issue. And I think I know the reason for this rapid acceptance as opposed to race, which shows none of these mellowing traits: Everybody knows somebody in their family, their friends’ circle, their work life who has adhered to a different form of sexuality.)

“1968” changed the Victorian convention of age. If in the pre-1968 era – actually reaching much further back than the 19th century (just look at those marvelous Brueghel paintings in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum) – children and youngsters were dressed like adults and appeared as small old people; the exact opposite happened since “1968”: Now aging professors dress like their students. Just look at the pictures of the Frankfurt Institut’s denizens like Horkheimer and Adorno. They look like GEDIEGEN adults with their proper dark suits and ties and not like greying teenagers the way my generation of professors dresses and projects itself to the world. “1968” created a lasting adherence to youth and its culture which is unparalleled. “Forever Young” as my idol Bob Dylan so aptly sings.

“1968” challenged the previous century-long tenets of what it meant to be on the political left. You all know the various vectors that differentiate so fundamentally the essence of what constituted the OLD as opposed to the NEW Left. I will not expand on this. Instead, I will conclude with the main point of my lecture: the presence of compassion!

I argue that starting in the late 1960s – maybe not quite 1968 on the nose but close enough – there developed in the advanced industrial world of liberal democracies a broad discourse of compassion that is in my view massively democratic because it does one thing which to me is THE absolute most crucial ingredient of any democracy: a constant – and never-ending — process of inclusion of the formerly excluded way beyond the voting booth. Rather, what I mean by this democratization process is a massive movement to grant hitherto excluded groups the full dignity and authenticity and respect that they so richly deserve. Crucial to this is a genuine politics of contrition and admittance of past wrongs committed by a collective against another.

Let me start here with Willy Brandt’s kneeling in front of the Warsaw Ghetto memorial on December 7, 1970.
Let me continue in praise of my friend, the Israeli historian and Columbia University professor, Elazar Barkan’s brilliant book The Guilt of Nations in which he discusses this new discourse of contrition from Germany to Switzerland; from the United States to Japan; from Britain to France.
Let me give some random examples from my own research:
In Britain, the compensation of 5,228 Kenyans who were brutally tortured and abused by the British authorities during the Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s. The pressure on the British Museum to return artefacts hailing from all over the world. The debates at Oxford University over the statue of Cecil Rhodes.
In the United States, the long-overdue apology by President Bill Clinton in 1993 for the detention of Japanese-Americans in concentration camps on the West Coast after the attack on Pearl Harbor. President Barack Obama’s signing into law the Native American Apology Resolution in 2009. The constantly declining legitimacy of one of THE most essential “founders” of America: Christopher Columbus whose arrival is increasingly viewed as the beginning of a tragedy rather than as the commencement of a glorious new polity and society. The virtual disappearance of all names hailing from Native Americans for sports teams with the shameful exception of the National Football League’s “Washington Redskins” (Rothaeute), the most humiliating expression imaginable of Native Americans. And this team is in our nation’s capital, shameful and inexcusable! The huge movement to destroy or remove monuments to politicians and military leaders of the Confederacy but also to others – like Columbus – whose presence and actions caused the formerly excluded immense harm. And, of course, the whole massive “appropriations” debate that is raging all over the United States, meaning a debate about a cultural ENTMUENDIGUNG of hitherto marginalized groups and how that must be rectified, restituted, re-arranged, properly expressed.
All these debates are alive and well in Australia and New Zealand though I have no time to discuss the massive difference between the two former British colonies and their treatment of their respective indigenous populations. And, of course, they are on center stage in Canada where currently there is a major political uproar over the fact that Pope Francis, who is so willing to give apologies, simply refuses to apologize to Indigenous Canada for its abuse at the hand of the Catholic Church in whose schools thousands of young Indigenous children were brutally abused, often to the point of death, over many decades. (One school in Ontario even had a homemade electric chair to torture the kids.) Seven years before the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005, the Italian journalist Luigi Accattoli counted that the pope had made 94 apologies. And that was before some of his big ones, like his “Day of Pardon” apology for the church’s sins against Jews, heretics, Sinti and Roma, native peoples and women. Pope Benedict XVI continued the trend though his apologies were for the actions of individual Catholics rather than the Church as a whole. There was one major exception to this: This Pope’s milestone apology to the clerical sexual abuse victims in Ireland.

It is in this context that I place my work on compassion towards non-human animals, dogs among them. The way we have come to treat animals differently since the late 1960s is spectacular. I will not bore you with statistics concerning the growth of vegetarianism and veganism in the West; with the massive decrease of euthanizing dogs and cats; with the protection of animals that are not only wild and dangerous to humans – like wolves and bears and tigers whom we all adore – but who also do not conform to our common aesthetic approval like alligators or sharks. I will not regale you with the proliferation of “animals rights” in the law but also the growth of “animal law” in virtually all of America’s law schools. As one leading expert said to me: “Animal law is where environmental law was 20 years ago. It’s in its infancy but growing.” Stephen Wise’s Nonhuman Rights Project has filed a classic writ of HABEAS CORPUS – that revered staple of English and American law — not for a person held unlawfully but for a chimpanzee.

There is, of course, a fascinating correlation – if not necessarily a causation – to this development: the massive feminization of the medical and veterinary profession. Until the early 1970s, veterinary medicine in the United States was well over 80 percent male. By the latter years of that decade the scale tipped towards women who, in the meantime, comprise about 80 percent of veterinarians in contemporary America.
There is nothing new about women being the protectors of the weak. The founding of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, established in 1824 in Britain and rendered “Royal” in 1840 when the young Queen Victoria took the organization under the sponsorship of the Crown, was a creation by women, just as its cousins in New York and Massachusetts were in the United States. I am not totally certain whether women’s strong emergence in the public sphere of liberal democracies starting in the early 1970s and our greater ecological awareness hail directly from that amorphous and mysterious but yet very discernable phenomenon “1968”; but surely the correlation between the two is so strong that it might even claim a causational validity, however reluctant I am to attribute such to any social development. Women are the world’s civilizing agents and we men often do not like this. Just look at that terrorist’s targets and victims in downtown Toronto in late April who clearly aimed his car to become a deadly weapon against women. Sadly, he succeeded. Furthermore, a cursory trip to relevant Internet sites will confirm my point. So will the terraces of many a football stadium in Europe and Latin America as a recent international conference at the Technische Universitaet in Berlin on the racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and uncivil behavior of football fans across Europe convincingly demonstrated. Whether the future will be female, as that famous slogan now claims, I do not know. (Incidentally, the now-famous slogan “THE FUTURE IS FEMALE” hails from a T-Shirt design made for Labyris Books, the first women’s bookstore in New York City, opened in 1972 by the 68-ers Jane Lurie and Marizel Rios.) But there is plenty of evidence that the politics of compassion will remain irreversible. It will experience setbacks, like ALL changes do. But it will not disappear or diminish. What makes this so different from all other politics is that its agents and beneficiaries either never had the power to make their voices heard or – as in the case of animals – never possessed such voices in the conventional sense of that term. Thus, they had to rely on external benefactors with power but also with compassion who made helping them a cause from which they did not receive any tangible benefits other than that of having their kindness and compassion help those in need. There was never a monetary reward, no status benefits; there was nothing tangible to be gained from being involved on behalf of needy beings that have no vote and zero power in any meaningful sense. If “1968” contributed even a tiny bit to this phenomenon of selfless generosity and the deepening of compassion, we should, I think, see it as a success!

Thank you very much for your kind and patient listening!


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