Like Other Left-leaning Dissenters of His Time

(Another one from Joe)

Barry Commoner, scientist/activist, died a few days ago. I never met him, although I heard him speak in Sproul Plaza during his 1980 presidential campaign as nominee of the Green Party, which could almost be taken seriously back then. I may even have voted for him. That election (Carter versus Reagan, for those who came in late) was almost as dispiriting as this year’s. I also read his books, which were lucid and, in a cautious way, encouraging. Commoner was a geek, but he also seemed to be a mensch.

This is how the New York Times noted his passing: “Like some other left-leaning dissenters of his time, he believed that environmental pollution, war, and racial and sexual inequality needed to be addressed as related issues of a central problem.” Quaint, huh? There’s Commoner, preserved like a bug in the amber of the Sixties, type specimen of an extinct political species.

Pollution, war, and inequality as related issues? But we all know better now, don’t we?

2 thoughts on “Like Other Left-leaning Dissenters of His Time

  1. Jill Psmith

    Barry! He was a biology prof at Wash U, where I myself festered for a number of years. We adulated him. I can't imagine them tolerating a guy like that these days.

  2. Dennis

    I did vote for him, passing up Carter for Commoner. Barry likely would have been less than successful as a president of our testosterone-based country, but I liked him. He made sense. Especially after Three-Mile Island.