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Sex and Armaggedon

- Abstract

WE ARE clearly caught up, and rather violently, in one of our periodic attempts to force the rhetoric of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” into the remotest corners of our national life. Almost daily some group or other-blacks, women, students, homosexuals, the silent majority, nuns, seminarians, professional athletes, Indians, topless dancers, or marijuana mystics-announces its angry discovery that it is a “nigger” with respect to an established tyranny and that it intends to liberate itself with the least possible delay in order to pursue that happiness which is its birthright. As Tom Hayden declared at the University of Washington this spring, “Everybody is beginning to rise up at once.” There is even a male liberation movement headed by a retired steamfitter. Only the foetus (nature’s last silent nigger) is having trouble mounting, or persuading others to mount for it, a substantial liberation movement, its niggerhood being apparently too essential to the liberation of others. It is a time to recall lines from that great liberation poem, Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”: “Unscrew the locks from the doors! / Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!”

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