Paul From Minneapolis

Friday, April 14, 2006

Competing versions of William Sloane Coffin (dec.)

From Katrina Vanden Heuvel at The Nation’s blog:

Bill Coffin, as his friends knew him, was one of our greatest and most eloquent prophetic voices. For more than forty years, his passionate calls for peace, social justice, civil rights, and an end to nuclear insanity challenged this nation's conscience.

From Roger Kimball at “Armavirumque,” blog of The New Criterion:

Like other gurus of the period such as Herbert Marcuse, he pretended that American society was an oppressive battleground which could only be combated by "civil disobedience" (the phrase supplied the title for one of Coffins book) or even "revolutionary" activity. But as the legal scholar Alexander Bickel noted in 1970 (he was writing about Coffin and his colleagues), "to be a revolutionary in a society like ours, is to be a totalitarian, or not to know what one is doing."