Gornick’snMachinationsnVivian Gornick: The Romance ofnAmerican Communism;nBasic Books; New York, 1978.nA new and calamitous trend is observable—sonunsavory and brash that itncannot be downplayed as the usual liberalnreveling in deficient thinking. It appearsnas if some of the New York publishers—nbastions of the libcultural establishment—havenembarked on a geared-upncrusade to glorify the not-too-distant pastnof American communism.* Why? Fornwhat reasons.’nThe answers can only be speculatednon. Quite likely, the Carter human rightsncampaign, though a half-hearted enterprise,ndoes focus upon what’s going onnbehind the Iron Curtain (what an oldfashionednbut precise term!)—despite thenmedia’s bustling efforts to concentratenthe public’s attention on South Africa,nRhodesia and Chile. The communistnstereotype, colored with tawdry ideologicalnbauble, so attractive in the past tonjuvenile hotheads, seems to have lost itsnattraction and requires refurbishing bynold experienced ideological operators.nThey know how to do it. Last year, thendisgusting Jessica Mitford memoir—allncoyness and cuteness in portraying liesnand misdeeds as idealistic meanderings—nmade good in bookshops and amongnreviewers, was nominated for literarynawards, got prodigious publicity. Ms.nMitford was supported by a Rockefellerngrant to write her cynical and mendaciousntale of an allegedly abused ideologicalnvirginity. One has to assume, therefore,nthat, after all those years, enough formerncomrades, and fellow-travelers andn*Since the beginning of 1978, Basic Booksnhas published Gornick, Simon & Schusternhas come up with David Caute’s The GreatnFear: the anti-Communist purge undernTruman and Eisenhower, and University ofnMassachusetts Press brought out MarynSperling McAuliffe’s Crisis on the Left: ColdnWar Politics and American Liberals, 1947-n1954.nsympathizers, are sitting in the vital nooksnand crannies of the liberal establishmentnto lubricate the cultural machine withnold loyalties. Thanks to them, the effortsnof other Mitfords run smoothly—innocentnminds get contaminated, truthsndeformed, and socio-political fibs spreadnunder the guise of literary sincerity.nEnter Ms. Gornick who proves thatnthere is, indeed, a new method at work,nthat the old pros have discovered thenuselessness of agitation and of non-stopnhammering into people’s heads the utternidiocies about the moral and economicnsuperiority of communism over capitalismnand democracy. Her gimmick is anpseudo-sophisticated sentimentality.nAccording to her findings, communists,nor former communists beset with nostalgia,nwere and are the helpless victims ofnpowerful emotions. They fell in love withnan ideal of irresistible beauty, so theyncannot be held responsible for the folliesnof desire. The New York Times BooknReview accorded Ms. Gornick for thisnearth-shaking, as well as subtle, insightnthe exceptional honor of printing annexcerpt from her oeuvre before its publication,nthus giving it invaluable advertising.nIn it we read: “… responsible fornthe whole of things was the longing, thenlonging aroused by the vision of lovelinessnthat was Marxism.” (emphasis added)nResponsible for what? For 20 millionnmurdered Russians, God knows hownmany Chinese, for enslaving nations,nruining their societies, bringing miserynand degradation to countless people.’nEven before its first implementation,nMarxism was effectively criticized andnexposed; after its Russian embodiment,nendless testimonies have been providednto prove that Marxism creates slaverynand hell. But the American communistsnchose freely and deliberately not to listennto that evidence and to do everythingnthey could to inflict communism onnAmerica. They declared Lenin, Stalin,nand Mao to be leaders, teachers andnprophets and Senator McCarthy a bloodthirstynmonster. Granted, McCarthynpracticed crude zealotry, but he did notnkill anyone. The “prophets” ordered thenexecutions of millions, wallowed innnnhuman blood, and later failed on theirnpromises. History has already demonstratedntheir heinousness and the catastrophesnthey brought upon mankind. NownMs. Gornick comes and declares thatnblindly loving them was ennobling andnshould be regarded as proof of tendernemotionality. In her mind, Stalin willnloom forever only as a deceiver, butnMcCarthy as a lethal thug. “Recommendednfor most libraries”—the i/^ftfrynfournal, the liberal adviser of Americannpublic libraries, passes its mature judgmentnon her book.nWhich leaves us with the same oldnquestions: does the fact that their passionnwas sincere exonerate their service tonthe cause of evil? And what about thosenwho did not serve evil? Will theirnaccounts of how they knew evil as evilnbe displayed in the front pages of thenNew York Times? Where’s their placenin history? Is it applause for their wisdomnwhen the liberal establishment, whichngoverns the biggest chunk of thenAmerican opinion, acclaims the Mitfordsnand Gornicks not for their penitence andnreadiness to fight for truth, but for weepynself-pity over lost innocence? People whoncombatted the communism- of Ms.nGornick and her heroes in the ’30s, ’40s,n’50s, if they are still alive, are saying thensame things now that they were sayingnthen. And, strangely enough, they arennow, as then, considered war-mongers,nhard-liners, crazies and cold-warriorsnby those who today are promoting thenMitfords, Gornicks, etc. These writers,nin turn, will never admit that numberlessnpeople, from Chambers to Trilling, fromnNixon to Kristol, were right and correctnwhen they spoke of communism. Thenlatter will remain their enemies forevernbecause they never worshiped false gods.nOr because they recognized communism’snhideousness early enough to marchnforthrightly against it. DnWaste of Moneyncontinued on the following page.n^ ^n23nChronicles of Culturen