order and torture for serious thinkers,nbut it is not fatal.nWhat is fatal is not to know one’snreal job. It was, after all, anonymousnmonks who quietly took all the learningnof the ages into the caves outsidenVienna when the barbarians camento call. Certain of their destiny, theyndid not stop to explain themselves ornworry.nThat Sidney Hook should keep usninformed of events at Stanford is desirable.nAnd the humanists should standnguard at the gates of Stanford mute. Itnis good for their character. It gives thenrest of us time to disappear.n—M.W. KaulnMorris Township, N/nAn imaginary dialogue:nQ: Let me see if I’ve got it straight, Mr.nHook. You defend Western civilizationnas having intrinsic value?nA: No. What I wrote was that “thenstudy of the outstanding books, ideas,nmovements, and personalities that constitutentheir subject matter” has intrinsicnvalue.nQ: All right, the study has value; butnwhat of the books and ideas themselves?nA: “There is no definitive meaning ornmoral in any required text that isnnecessarily imposed on students by itsnstudy.”nQ: Hold on . . . “definitive,” “necessarily,”nand “imposed” make yournclaim seem like a fatuous truism. Certainlynyou don’t mean that, say. ThenRepublic lacks meaning or moral. Afternall, it stirs readers to the depths ofntheir souls, it helps them turn awaynfrom life in the Cave, it arouses innthem an eros toward the sophon — innshort, it teaches them truth. Isn’t thatnits greatness?nA: No. “The greatness of Plato’s Republicnas a perennial philosophical textnis that it lends itself to the excitingncounterposition of arguments and sentimentsnon both sides of themes thatnhave contemporary vibrancy, such asnfeminism, censorship, the defects ofndemocracy, the snares of totalitarianism,nand many others.”nQ: But Mr. Hook, that seems to reducenthe drama of the soul and itsndestiny to an endless bull session.nA: You may put it that way if it pleasesnyou. I’d prefer to say that “knowledge­nable and skillful teaching” with ann”occasional reference to supplementarynreading” — in other words, “annopen approach” — is preferable to “thenfeeble dialectic of Socrates’ interrogation.”nQ: But Mr. Hook, you’re supposed tonbe defending Western civilization.nSurely you wouldn’t prefer that ournculture had never known Plato, Aristotle,nAugustine, and Aquinas, that itnbe reduced to “the residue of thencultural achievements from the 15thncentury to the present”?nA: “Would that it were so!”n* * *nOne of the most extraordinary andnsignificant events in the recent historynof the American right has been thentransmogrification of Sidney Hooknfrom Marxian Deweyite to neoconservativencynosure without his alteringna single one of his first principles!nNo watcher at the gate, no defendernon the walls of our beleagueredncity is Mr. Hook; a sapper, rather.nCalling Russell Kirk. Calling JohnnLukacs. Calling Frederick Wilhelmsen.nCalling Josef Pieper. HELP!n—]ohn L. Connellynmrwalk, CTnOn ‘Sterile Prairie’nThe final version of my review ofnRichard Slotkin’s The Fatal Environmentnappearing in Chronicles’ Februaryn’88 issue has, I realize, left a fewnstatements liable to misinterpretation.nAs printed, the context of the statementnon General Custer’s “supposedncohabitation with a female Cheyennencaptive” implies — wrongly — thatnthere was not considerable evidence ofnsuch an affair. But Dr. Slotkin’s actualnfault lay in repeating a baseless chargenthat the woman was hired as an “interpreter”ndespite a total ignorance ofnEnglish, and in rashly assuming thatnshe was the same Cheyenne womannreferred to in Custer’s account of thenWashita fight. In noting the range ofnhistorical references used by Grant-eranjournalists in writing of Custer’s defeat,nI meant to say that our journalists’ basicnshallowness makes such historical referencesnunlikely in the wake of anynfuture military disaster.nIndeed, some time ago NBC’snnnvaunted Tom Brokaw did a story onnthe archaeological “dig” at Custer Battlefieldnin which both he and thenreporter on location in Montana managednto avoid any trace of accuratenhistory — while mocking the memorynof the U.S. cavalrymen whose uncoverednbones were then being reburiednwith solemn ceremony. It is not onlynhard to believe in a Brokaw familiarnwith Horatius, Roland, or Leonides,nbut difficult to picture him reading anserious book of any sort. Judging by thenHollywood film clip he elected to shownto “introduce” the story, the SouthnDakota-born Brokaw’s chief source ofninformation on the Battle of the LittlenBighorn was Arthur Penn’s 1970 film.nLittle Big Man.n— Wayne Michael SarfnRiverdale, NJnFrom ThenRockford InstitutenA first-of-its-kind directory ofnreligious organizations, people,nand publications, engaged innpublic affairs. More than 160nlistings with backgrounds andnbudgets. Formatted for quicknreference for those who neednthe facts fast. ONLY $6.95!nTo order, send name and addressnplus $6.95 per copy (includesnpostage and handling) to: ThenRockford Institute, 934 N. MainnSt., Rockford, IL 61103. Or call:n(815) 964-5811 for fast service.nPayment is required before ordernis processed.nAUGUST 1388 / 55n