burning, and total disregard for humannlife. Racism, delinquency, perversion,nand cruelty have been aggravated tonsuch a degree among North Americansnthat a fearful mankind contemplates anretrogression to the primal laws of thenjungle, to brutality and force.” Thesenpassages, typical of Neruda’s passionatenimpressions, adequately convey an ideanof his meager mental abilities. Oncenagain, one doesn’t know if his biases arenmore comical than criminal. If anything,nhis cerebral gyrations bring to mind thentime-honored principle of “Hottentotnmorality” so beautifully articulated bynEdgar Rice Burroughs: “I kill you, good.nYou kill me, bad.” Confronted with truth,nfacts, objective assessments, Nerudanopts for primitive lusts and passions tonevaluate and analyze events. The wordsnMexican poet and essayist Octavio Paznused to describe another, more recentnLatin American Nobel Prize wirmer cannbe perfectiy applied to Neruda as well;n”Very few Latin American intellectualsnof the left or the right have done muchnthinking They spout commonplaces.n1 don’t reproach Garcia Marquez fornusing his skill as a writer to defend hisnideas. 1 reproach him because his ideasnare poor… he repeats slogans.”nIt is thus necessary to wonder: Whynwere two Latin American Marxists, PablonNeruda and Gabriel Garcia Marquez,nboth political slogan-spouters, awardednthe Nobel Prize? Can anyone imaginenthe committee awarding the Prize tonthese writers had their political affiliationnbeen at the other end of the spectrum?nCan anyone imagine the Prizengoing to Ezra Pound, a 6r more profoundnand fascinating poet than Neruda? MentionnPound’s name in this context andnthe universal reaction is disbelief andnhorror. And this is the way it should be.nAlthough certifiably insane, thus—byntoday’s standards of sympathy for thenderanged—given license to rant. Poundnespoused ideas that were horrendous,ndamaging, and at variance with the ideasnof a free society. We admit his literarynvalue, but we certainly don’t bestownhonors on him. Yet the ideologies andnaffiliations of a Neruda or a Garcia Marqueznare, to my mind, no less iniquitousnthan those of an Ezra Pound. One mustnask: How important is an artist’s ideologicalncommitment in judging his art? It isnprofoundly important, which is somethingnthat our society ignores. The impactnof ideas has always been subordinatednto the impact of deeds in the publicnconsciousness. This must change ifnsociety is to continue to flourish as ancommunity of free, rational, and responsiblenmen and women. The artist mustnbe held accountable for his ideas sincen”ideas have consequences” and the armnof art is long. To honor artists such asnthese while they live and participate innthe social arena is to make them powerfulnrole models. It is fronic that our societyncan perfectly comptehend politicalnactivism that is inimical to its well-being,nbut does not give enough weight to destructivenideas, and to those who propoundnthem. These are ultimately thenmost deadly. Certainly, the artist has thenright to express his views, somethingnthat Neruda was able to do as a citizen ofnthe free world. (To imagine the Sovietndissident intellectual allowed to publishnin the U.S.S.R is a contradiction in terms.)nWe, society, maintain the right to refusento reward those artists who publicizenideas the society believes destructive tonit. Is the artist above and beyond thenlaws governing any other citizen? Accordingnto the Gospel of Mailer he is: thenInlfaeMailnsuperannuated laddie from Brooklynnbelieves that “art is worth a little risk,”nand so Jack Abbott was unleashed on thenpopulation with lethal consequences.nYet, it must be stressed that we are notntalking about unpopular or nonconformistnideas, but about those fenaticnideologies that hayfi caused so muchnhavoc and have defined our century: fascism,ncommunism, nihilism, and terrorism—thenmodern horsemen of thenapocalypse.no ne of the most outstanding comical/ntragic episodes in this volume underlinesnthis very helplessness of our societynto defend itself, an inability which developsninto an active undermining of ournown survival. In an article published innCaracas in 1947, Neruda refers to GeorgenKennan as an agent of profescist imperialistnreactionaries. In 1968, the same Mr.nKennan, at the time president of bothnthe American Academy of Arts and Lettersnand the National Institute of Artsnand Letters, wrote respectfully to PablonNeruda informing him of his election tonhonorary membership in both organizations.nAs Kennan pointed out, “membershipnin the Academy and in the Institutenis reserved … to artists, writers, andncomposers, not citizens of the UnitednStates, whose services in the arts arengratefully acknowledged by thefr colleaguesnin this Republic.” Neruda wrotenback refusing to receive the insignia andnthe citation of honorary membershipnPolitical Economy and Freedom: A Collection of Essays by G. Wairen Nutter; LibertynPress; Indianapolis, IN. Interesting observations by an economist who pointed out to hisnbrethren that the economy worlced better without them and who noted that means are morenimportant than ends.nMark Twain: Selected Writings of an American Skeptic edited by Victor Doyno;nPrometheus Books; Buf^o, NY. Given the quality of the productions of contemporarynAmerican skeptics, any writings by Twain are welcome.nScreeningFederal Employees: ANeglectedSecurityPrioritybyDavldMartin;HetitagenFoundation; Washington, DC. Indicates that it might be tougher to fill out a job application at an7-11 Store than for the Federal govenunent when it comes to matters of honesty and integrity.nnn^^^13nAugust 198Sn