The Public Interest

The socialist myth

Peter L. Berger

Summer 1976

IT is widely believed that the radicalism of the late 1960’s is over. Those who identified with it regret its passing (not least, one supposes, because with it seems to have passed so much of their youth); others are consoled and reassured. But both are mistaken. The more tumultuous manifestations of that period have indeed become rarer-but primarily because so many of the radical impulses of 10 years ago have now become firmly institutionalized. To be sure, the rhetorical goals of the “revolution” have not been achieved; the goals of revolutionary rhetoric are never achieved. Yet the “revolution” has succeeded beyond its wildest expectations in the social milieu that, from the beginning, provided both its place of origin and its principal audience-the milieu of the intellectuals, of the cultural elite. 

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