In 1968 I wrote an essay entitled “Le Désordre nouveau”*— it was written hurriedly, in the heat of the events. There is a passion in it that may seem surprising today. But at least I gave no credence to expectations that the May events heralded a revolution. I emphasized that the students’ audacity had been accompanied by a new kind of realism. This was in sharp contrast to most other commentaries, which tended to note only the movement’s messianism
and utopianism or else chided it for its inability to crystallize clear principles. I concluded by suggesting that “the revolution has matured,” because the people who set its style had not sought confrontation with the
existing regime in order to replace it with another and because their desire to changer la vie, however radical, was not based on the myth of a “good society,” a community devoid of differences and conflict.
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