A PRUDENT PROGRESSIVE by Leopold TymandnWhen I first came to these shores,nalmost 20 years ago, an escapee fromncommunism’s lethal embrace, a sort ofnantiwar was raging here. I felt betrayed.nAs anyone who lived under thenmost intricate tyranny of mind andnbody, I believed it every free man’snsacrosanct duty to combat communism’snreptile stranglehold on truthnand humanness with every means possible.nAnyone I knew in Eastern Europenwho did not serve communismnfelt the same way: to us the VietnamnWar was a just and noble war, a valiantnattempt to slay the foulest dragon innhistory. Yet, the magnitude and depthnof the American antiwar protest hadnimpressed me. “Perhaps they knownsomething I don’t?” I asked myselfn”Perhaps I’m emotionally disturbednand they’re sane?”nEighteen years of recriminations,nthe heinous treatment of the VietnamnWar veterans, Afghanistan’s and Poland’snmartyrdoms, and the public’snreaction to the Vietnam War Memorialnin Washington later, I must confessnthat my past surmise of the protesters’ncorrectness makes me now feelnashamed of that instant of debilitatednjudgment. Clearer than ever, it seemsnto me, the war looms in our commonnawareness as right, noble, morally justified,nand geopolitically necessary.nFor all the exertions of countless Cronkitesnarguing to the contrary, that warnwas not lost on the battiefield but atnhome, where a powerfully vocal minoritynhad decided to terminate it innthe name of allegedly moral reasons.nAllegedly, for this minority was for anlong time involved in a ruthless fightnfor self-advancement by claiming answay over the nation’s soul and conscience.nThis minority had establishednan ideological control of the opinionmakingnmechanism that then vergednon a monopoly, and looked forward tona political hegemony in the future. Atnthe peak of the war, this minoritynforged a coalition of radical activists,nfellow travelers, liberal intellectuals,nhyperactive clergymen, and overtlynprocommunist agitators, and producednsome of the most manic public eventsnin the history of Western statehood.nThereafter, corporate chieftains,nmedia moguls, and millionaire movienstars found themselves in cahoots withnpeople who demanded a mandate fornrevolutionary power. Their rationalen—amplified through every channel ofncommunications—was that they justnvoiced their conscience—but somehowntheir conscience managed to benin perfect accord with the Soviet Union’snraison d’etat, with its global interests,nwith its dearest intentions ofnwhat to do with the rest of the world.nSomehow it did not bother their consciencenthat their endeavors contributednto the killing of sons of their ownnpeople—the spokesmen of which theynprobably considered themselves in allnsincerity—and that thereby they werencommitting a high treason with completenimpunity, a fact that should haventold them something about their ownncountry whose institutions they keptncondemning so bombastically andnmendaciously.nDuring all that time. PresidentnJohnson maintained that there was nonevidence of Soviet meddling in thenAmerican antiwar movement. He wasnperfectly correct. The Soviets wouldnhave been foolish to interfere and tampernwith a satisfactorily performingnmechanism of sedition and subversionnthat flawlessly worked to their advantage.nWhat could do a better job fornthem than an overwhelming chunk ofnthe American intellectual elite, clergy,nand plutocracy that was willing to actnon behalf of their most immediatengeopolitical goals, eagerly representingnthe Soviet Union’s label in America?nSurely enough, the moral consequencenof sabotaging and aborting ournefforts for the sake of internationalndecency, was the Southeast Asiannslaughterhouse after the communistntakeover. Soon thereafter, we deliveredna good part of Africa to the samenfate, then came Afghanistan. Now wenhave the Soviet encroachment in Cen­ntral America on our hands. But thenheaviest defeat we have suffered was atnhome: the whole notion of service tonthe country, the heritage of 200 yearsnof crafting the sense of relationshipnbetween Americans, their historic mission,nand their freely elected government,nhas been blown to shreds. Thisnwas perhaps the greatest victory of thenalliance between Politbureau, Hanoi,nand these American visitors whonturned into their comrades-in-arms.nAnd now, it seems to me, my firstnimpulse of loathing the protest marchersnin the streets, and the sophisticatednessayists in the fine literary journals,nback in 1966, was right after all. ccnAs someone who ardently wishes anbetter world for my family, my neighbors,nmy compatriots, all people ofngoodwill, and myself—I suspect thatnmy desire for betterment is a playthingnfor philosophies and ideologies thatnpropose how human affairs should benarranged. In the end, making up mynmind about these matters brings mensomewhere between the liberal faith innman and the conservative faith innsomething more than man’s wellbeingnas the ultimate measure of progress.nUnfortunately, the position in thenmiddle can be a source of considerablendistress. ccnMOVING?nLET US KNOW BEFORE YOU GO.nTo assure uninterrupted delivery of Chroniclesnof Culture, please notify us in advance. Sendnthis form with the mailing label from yournlatest issue of Chronicles of Culture to: SubscriptionnDepartment, Chronicles of Culture, P.O.nBox 800, Rockford, Illinois 61105.nNAME.nADDRESSnCITYnnnSTATE. .ZIPnMARCH 1985/39n