Prescient Remarks on the Swinging Pendulum

From a 1975 interview with William Tenn (aka Philip Klass): “I think we live in the freeest goddamn time in the history of Man. Insanely free time. There are freedoms now that I never thought would have been available. Just the kind of language I can use, and I wish — the things I could write about. And this — of all the criticisms of our society, so far as I’m concerned — is the ultimate freedom to date. We are the only society that is examining itself in an open way, that is constantly trying to improve itself. I feel very strongly about America, but the point I’m making does not relate directly to science fiction…but in a way it does. I think back to when Man developed such freedoms, and it seems he just can’t stand them, and they’ve got to be ditched. And they’ll probably be ditched in your lifetimes. I think the pendulum swings, and in very few and very short periods of history has Man been free….

“You find you get used to it, but what the hell do you think it was like when the Germans said ‘No more war?!’ Man has been through the first World War, and has built a social democratic republic. Those older people especially, to whom their children said in the 1930’s, ‘You’re so old fashioned, you don’t believe in war. War is the natural state of Man…’, to them their parents said, ‘You’ll get adjusted to it.’ And I don’t know how or exactly when, but you kids won’t spend the last part of your lives in as much freedom as you had, or have, right now.”

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