50 Years Later, Peter Yarrow Still Asks, “When Will They Ever Learn?”

by Michael Levin New York Times best selling author Michael Levin is a nationally acclaimed thought leader on the subject of the future of book publishing.Michael Levin believes that the traditional publishing model is dead, thanks to the long-term foolishness of the major houses and their willful ignorance of new technologies for the marketing and distribution of books.Levin appeared on ABC's Shark Tank for his ghostwriting company, BusinessGhost, Inc., which has authored more than 120 books. E-Myth creator Michael Gerber says Levin has created more successful books than any human being in history.He has written with Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, football broadcasting legend Pat Summerall, football stars Chad Hennings and Maurice Jones-Drew, NBA star Doug Christie, and Fox News broadcaster Chris Myers, among many others. He also edited Zig Ziglar’s most recent book, Born To Win. Michael Levin has contributed to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CBS News, Forbes.com, The Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, and many other top media sources.He blogs at The Future of Publishing. You can ‘like’ his company's page on Facebookhere.Michael Levin has also launched a free resource for writers on YouTube. Over 200 videos, with Michael Levin, discussing every aspect of fiction and nonfiction writing and publishing. Visit http://www.BooksAreMyBabies.com for more. 17.11.2014

Peter Yarrow has every right to be disappointed with our war-torn world. 

At 76, however, he remains hopeful that things can improve and that he—and music—can still be the catalyst for change.

“I see us bouncing from one policy to the next,” Yarrow says, “based on our refusal to look at the mess that we've gotten ourselves into.  Specifically the killing, the misery, and the devastation that we caused years ago in Vietnam and repeated in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

“A great person doesn't run away from taking responsibility for mistakes or reprehensible acts.  The question we need to face in America today is this:How can we acknowledge our responsibility? 

“You look at these military interventions and you ask yourself, what if we'd put all that money not into wars but instead gave people in those countries something to live for?

“There are unintended consequences from our military interventions that turn out to be more powerful than the issues we were addressing in the first place.”

Yarrow credits his half-century of performing with Peter, Paul & Mary for giving him a platform that allows him to address global issues—the Middle East and climate change, among others—at the highest levels. 

At least as important, his musical legacy affords him credibility with kids.

His two latest initiatives, Operation Respect, which counters school bullying, and DLAM (“Don’t Laugh At Me”), addressing teasing and cruel behavior among young children, have two purposes, Yarrow says.

First, the groups promote harmony (a perfect goal for a musician like Yarrow). 

Second, the groups are preparing youths to become peace-seeking and peace-loving adults.

“Are we going to raise another generation of kids who buy into the cycle of mean-spiritedness and cruelty and bullying?”  Yarrow asks.  “Or are we going to teach children to become adults who will be peace-builders?

“Our role models today for our kids and ourselves are the Kardashians.  It’s just vulgar.”

Music still has the power to transform society, Yarrow contends:  “Music doesn't come from just a rational, intellectual place.  It's a chemistry of the soul and the heart that can bypass intellectual obstacles.

“For so many years, Peter, Paul & Mary sang to people who didn't agree with us, on Vietnam for example.  But people responded to our sincerity, and they responded by thinking about the humanity surrounding the issues we addressed.”

Yarrow points to race relations and gender equity as areas that have seen drastic improvement since Peter, Paul & Mary first came together back in 1960.  He believes that music can still affect the way people view their role in society.

“The ethos of the ‘60s wasn't about beating the opponent,” he says.  “It was about inspiration and love. That's the only way the civil rights movement could have succeeded. 

“We need to create enough of an energy to build a strong enough consensus to halt the further breakdown of a caring society.  And that’s not an easy process because we’re swimming upstream in many ways today.

“We have to look at our priorities, and not just on an intellectual basis. We have to find ways to move forward that are parallel to what was done in the 60s, but to bring things forward and do it in today's terms.

“Where we started in the early 1960s is unimaginable now. As the lyrics of Light One Candle say, don’t let the light go out.”

Michael Levin's new novel, The Compass, is now available on Amazon Kindle and can be purchased below.

Michael Levin blogs at The Future of Publishing. You can ‘like’ his company's page on Facebook here.

Michael Levin has also launched a free resource for writers on YouTube. Over 200 videos, with Michael Levin, discussing every aspect of fiction and nonfiction writing and publishing. Visit http://www.BooksAreMyBabies.com for more.

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