in Black Cargoes—A History of thenAtlantic Slave Trade by Mannix andnCowley, just as Mr. Colter did. Andnsimilar well-written works provide factual,nbiographical details on the othernhistorical events Mr. Colter covers.nWhen the near-contemporary situationnis dealt with, things are quitenvague: the flashbacks are based on ansort of history, but Mr. Colter doesn’tnseem to know what direction to take innthe present, what point to make. So hensets up an assortment of mannequinsnthat talk primarily about “blackness.”nThere is an organization, so they talknabout holding a meeting at which blacknessnwill be discussed. Finally, morenthan 600 pages into the novel, the meetingnis held. And there they talk aboutnblackness. These “political” charactersnbarely do anything. The only positivenaction that I noted was that they get onenwoman a job. But usually they just talk.nTalk is so important that Ornette Hungerford,na college graduate and insurancensalesman, “loved to affect ungram-nBlind InsightnMilton Viorst: Fire in the Streets;nSimon & Schuster; New York.nby William E. CagenTh . here are two types of modern liberals.nOne type is truly a dictator, whonbelieves that his opinions, values andnperspective are those which everyonenshould have. He naturally turns to governmentnto impose his ideas uponnsociety if his fellow citizens should benso shortsighted as not to agree withnhim. Using government as society’sncoercive agent has always been the easynway to convince unbelievers. The otherntype of modern liberal is truly a liberal,none who believes that each man shouldnbe free to use or abuse his own God-nDr. Cage is a corporate economist fromnMissouri.nmatical street talk” when he set forth.nIt makes him sound more dedicated,nI suppose.nNothing is accomplished. There isnno point. Murders, sex, underhandedndealings and suicides keep the motionngoing forward in the novel. The readernhas to be given some incentive to keepngoing, and there’s nothing like a littlenblood or skin to keep the pages turning.nSo one of the main characters jumpsnoff the Golden Gate Bridge; anothernbreaks off her marriage arrangementsnand runs off to Paris where she marriesna Frenchman; and the third ends upnexiled in a motel in Georgia with hisnhead shaved. I hope that doesn’t spoilnthe novel for anyone, but I don’t thinknthat’s possible. The book stands on itsnown merits. And pity the student whonpicks up Night Studies and takes it asna prose model. He will no doubt findnthat his hours would have been as wellnspent in front of a TV screen—unlessnhis professor is busy watching one. Dngiven talents as he sees fit. But thisntype of liberal has a blind spot: he thinksnthat people can be given freedom byngovernment. He fails to see that, innevery instance, government is prone toncoerce. It is, by its nature, an institutionnuneasy with individual liberty. Thenliberal with this blind spot toward governmentndoes not question whetherngovernment can in fact do anything tonfurther the cause of liberty. This liberalnis primarily concerned with getting thenlevers of control into his hands so thatngovernment will perform as he desires.nMilton Viorst seems to be one ofnthose blind-spot liberals. His new work,nFire in the Streets, was purportedlynwritten as a re-creation of the decadenof the 1960’s. Viorst focuses on 14npeople and the events surrounding themnto describe those turbulent years. Then14 people are simply the starting pointnnnfor the author, and they are mostlyngiven only superficial attention. Thenevents of the 60’s are treated in somewhatnmore detail but even they are onlynof peripheral importance for the mainntheme of Fire in the Streets. The primarynthrust of this book is not concernednwith events or people but rathernwith the turn to government to solven”social” problems. The book is interestingnand important for several reasons,nnone of which was probably intendednby Viorst. Fire in the Streets, actually,nis an education in the way a (modern)nliberal views social movements. It isna step-by-step accounting of how a concernnwith a social issue becomesnpoliticized, of how government becomesninvolved. It is a confirmation of thenconservative belief that government isna self-serving institution and thatnelected officials and bureaucrats alikenreally have the public weal quite farndown on their list of motivationalnfactors.n1 he book will take the reader backnto the headlines of the civil-rights movementnand Vietnam protests, but younwill come away from those headlinesnwith at least some awareness of how thenliberal mind developed during thosenyears. This reviewer was impressed withnthe naivete, even the innocence, withnwhich the civil-rights leaders and warnprotesters “discovered” how thin—andnhow precious—our veneer of civilizationnis. As they mounted civil demonstrations,neven on the small scale ofnsit-ins, they found that people werenwilling to make concessions just tonavoid the threat of violence, to saynnothing of violence itself. And as theirn”education” continued, those whonbrought fire to the streets found thatnthere was an even easier way of accomplishingntheir ends—enlist government,nthe social institution of threatenednviolence. The problems encounterednby the civil-rights movement in gettingnUncle Sam on its side had little to donwith “states’ rights” or any other highblownnidea of intergovernmental rela-niS5nJuly/AttgU8tl98()n