Those Damn 60s Radicals!!!!

"In the spring of 1970, I was one of several BSU (Black Student Union) members who went to Boston to take part in an antiwar rally. Holy Cross had previously loaned the BSU a station wagon, since few black students owned cars and thus were unable to travel to other schools to participate in academic or social events, but they never imagined that we would use it to attend an out-of-town demonstration. Nor did any of us suppose that there would be more to this one than the usual inflammatory speeches -- but we were wrong. Once the organizers of the rally had gotten the crowd sufficiently worked up, they urged us to march to Harvard Square to protest the treatment of America's domestic political prisoners. Off we went, chanting "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh" and demanding freedom for Angela Davis, Erica Huggins, and anyone else we could think of. When we came to a liquor store, the owner, fearing we would smash it up, gave some of us wine we wanted for free. From there we drank our way to Harvard Square, where our disorderly parade deteriorated into a full-scale riot. The police fired rounds of tear gas into the crowd, but that didn't deter us, and we kept on rioting well into the night."

Clarence Thomas
My Grandfather's Son (p. 59)


Anonymous said...

Those were exciting times, for sure, but his story sounds more like adolescent carousing, I'd say.

Besides, Justice Thomas's thinking evolved as he matured.

It's like Winston Churchill once said: "A conservative at age 20 has no heart; a liberal at age 40 has no brain."

JPN said...

I agree with you. Thomas' memoir talks about has maturation. I would also say the same for John Kerry, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy.

Thomas's story sounds more like what many college students were up to in the 1960s. One of the few politicians of today that don't seem to have been involved in the anti-war or civil rights movement is President George W. Bush. He was busy being a cheer leaders at Yale and appears to have carried the carousing bit to extremes that supposedly came stop when he found Jesus and saw the light.

Concerning the Churchill quote, I say how do you feel? Churchill had his good points and bad points and was right and wrong. Politics is about humans working together in order to live together inspite of their differing opions and ideas. I don't know the context of Churchill's remarks and I doubt if you do. But I'd be interested in finding out the context.

JPN said...


From the above link:

If a man is not a socialist by the time he is 20, he has no heart.
If he is not a conservative by the time he is 40, he has no brain.
- Winston Churchill

I failed to find the quote under "socialist", "conservative",
"heart", "man", or "Churchill", in books of quotations like
Bartlett's, Encarta's, Oxford Dictionary of, Home Book of, or
NY Public Library's.

http://retro.co.za/quotes/eli.html says:
Any man who is not... a socialist before he is 40 has no heart.
Any man who is still a socialist after he is 40 has no head.
- Wendell L. Willkie (quoted by Richard Norton Smith)

http://www.sirius.com/~maya/poetry/republico.html says:
As George Bernard Shaw said,
one who is not a socialist at 20 has no heart,
and one who remains a socialist at 40 has no head.

http://home.planetinternet.be/~smitsr/quotes/b.html says:
The man who is not a socialist at 20 has no heart,
but if he is still a socialist at 40 he has no head.
- Aristide Briand (1862 - 1932)
[French premier and former socialist]

http://bserver.com/bunker/party.html says:
I think it was William Casey [director of the CIA] who said,
A man who isn't a socialist at 20 has no heart,
and a man who is a socialist at 40 has no head.

http://abedul.pntic.mec.es/colaborativos/quotes/list.html says:
Anyone who is not a socialist at 16 has no heart,
but anyone who still is at 32 has no mind.
- Woodrow Wilson

http://jerryk.com/dialogue/dialogue960915.htm says:
He who is not a Socialist at 19, has no heart.
He who is still a Socialist at 30, has no brain.
- Otto Von Bismarck (1815-1896)

http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/Content/1998/12/68/edits/seaton.html says:
Georges Clemenceau [another French Premier and former socialist]
once said something like:
A 20-year-old who is not a Socialist has no heart,
but a 30-year-old who is still a Socialist has no brains.

http://www.bkkpost.samart.co.th/news/BParchive/BP970911/1109_busi22.html says:
Not to be a Republican at 20 is proof of want of heart;
to be one at 30 is proof of want of head.
- Fran├žois Guisot (1787-1874)
A man who is not a liberal at 16 has no heart;
a man who is not a conservative at 60 has no head.
- Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)
Not to be a socialist at 20 is proof of want of heart;
to be one at 30 is proof of want of head.
- Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929)
Any man who is under 30 and is not a Liberal has no heart; and
any man who is over 30 and not a Conservative has no brains.
- Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

A definitive answer arose in the wonderful book
"Nice Guys Finish Seventh: False Phrases, Spurious Sayings,
and Familiar Misquotations" by Ralph Keyes, 1992. He writes:

"An orphan quote [unattributed quote in search of a home] sometimes
attributed to Georges Clemenceau is:
Any man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart.
Any man who is still a socialist at age 40 has no head.
The most likely reason is that Bennet Cerf once reported Clemenceau's
response to a visitor's alarm about his son being a communist:
If he had not become a Communist at 22, I would have disowned him.
If he is still a Communist at 30, I will do it then.
George Seldes later quoted Lloyd George as having said:
A young man who isn't a socialist hasn't got a heart;
an old man who is a socialist hasn't got a head.
The earliest known version of this observation is attributed to
mid-nineteenth century historian and statesman Fran├žois Guizot:
Not to be a republican at 20 is proof of want of heart;
to be one at 30 is proof of want of head.
Variations on this theme were later attributed to Disraeli, Shaw,
Churchill, and Bertrand Russell. (I misquoted Churchill to this
effect for years.)"

Anonymous said...

Your research is impressive, enlightening, and preponderant; I stand corrected and will no longer attribute that qoute to Churchill, who may have repeated some variation of it but most probably was not the originator.

Brings to mind another quote: "The trouble with people is not that they don’t know but that they know so much that ain’t so."

Funny, I always thought that Will Rogers said that, but decided to research it myself and found out that it is attributed to JOSH BILLINGS (Henry Wheeler Shaw) by The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 3d ed., p. 491 (1979).

Now I really feel silly.

Then again, I am in distinguished company, since my source also pointed our that Walter Mondale misattributed the Billings quote in his first debate with Reagan, October 7, 1984, saying: “I’m reminded a little bit of what Will Rogers once said of Hoover. He said it’s not what he doesn’t know that bothers me, it’s what he knows for sure just ain’t so.” —(Transcript, The New York Times, October 8, 1984, pB4.

Getting back to your question of what I think of the "Churchill" quote, well, I think there is some truth to it. Socialist/Liberal/ Collectivist ideas sound pretty good in theory, and are more attractive to the young whose views of life and human nature have not yet been clarified and rectified by reality and hard experience. Rebels and revolutionaries are generally young, whereas the defenders of established order (or slower change, anyway) are generally older. Morover, a correlation between age and wisdom can be found in our oldest western writings, both secular and religious. This age/wisdom correlation crosses cultural lines and is found from the orient to the middle east to the Native Americans plains.

So, yes, I do generally agree with
Shaw, Clemenceau, Briand, et al.

One more point; Kerry, Kennedy, and Clinton could be considered conservative in the respect that they are defenders of the old New Deal/liberal order established by FDR. Perhaps that is why they are bristling at the prospect of change being brought by the young Barak Obama

Enjoyed the exchange.

JPN said...

It's interesting to note the one definetion of the word "liberal" is "a person who favors an economic theory of laissez-faire and self-regulating markets." From discussion and readings on the small-government libertarians who are often labelled "conservatives," I would say the definetion I mentioned above for liberal would apply to conservatives today. Definetions evolve and change overtime and I wonder which "liberal" Churchill was talking about.

I would agree that Clinton, Kerry and Kennedy would be classified as your "flaming liberal," regardless of which end of the political spectrum you are taking your definetion from. I would put them as left leaning centrist who are very aware that tipping too far to the left of the corporate cash cow would cut them off of the money teat the suckle so dearly.

That would also explain why Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich get their support from the grassroots and get shunned by their respective parties and the various media outlets carrying the debates. It think they both represent honesty and integrity in politics. What they said a year ago they will say today. They same can't be said about the other front runners of both parties.

That said, Clarence Thomas's book My Grandfather's Son was very interesing and worth reading. It's a great American story, like Bill Clinton's story. I'm reading Thomas Sowell's autobiography "A Personal Odessy" currently. He gets trashed in the liberal press for his economic opinions and I'm interesting to find out what makes a guy like that coming from his background tick.

CANRAC said...

I'll just agree that they were exciting times. I didn't endorse the ideas of all the mentioned people (still don't), but it was a time when fresh ideas and new faces were surfacing. Thanks for not putting Lil Bill or Mark Blatheronic in the collage.