To the Editor:
I was both amused and disturbed by the reflections of H. Stuart Hughes [“Triste Paris,” March]. I find them an excellent illustration, in the light of subsequent events, of why radical if not violent solutions to social discontent are being sought in many quarters. This is not to question Mr. Hughes’s sympathies, nor his good will, nor least of all his analysis, which is incisive and, as far as it goes, to the point. But he fails completely to realize the implications of his own observations.
Certainly no one could have predicted what was to happen at Nanterre, nor that it would develop into a national movement; what is possible, on the other hand, is at the very least to avoid equating intellectual integrity with intellectual and social gentillesse. Mr. Hughes’s nostalgic and prissy solutions to problems penetrating French, particularly Parisian, society are as disastrous for students committed to social change as their insurrection undoubtedly has proven to be for Mr. Hughes’s affection for Paris.
In short, those intellectuals who try to resolve problems by ignoring them are committed simply to intensifying their own unhappiness.
Ernest H. Schell
Yellow Springs, Ohio