watchmen, about the character of thernmen whom we rely on for instruction. Itrnis this very question that comes to mindrnwhen considering the recent controversiesrninvolving Bill Bennett, undoubtedlyrnthe most popular peddler of virtue today.rnThe first controversy involves Bennett’srnprepared remarks this January beforernthe House Appropriations Subcommitteernon Interior and Related Matters.rnBennett appeared on Capitol Hill to callrnfor the abolishment of the National Endowmentrnfor the Arts and the NationalrnEndowment for the Humanities, the latterrnof which he directed in the 1980’s.rnAs Al Kamen of the Washington Postrnreported, Bennett recounted the difficultiesrnhe experienced at NEH in tryingrnto establish a program that would promoterntraditional works of philosophy.rn”By the third year,” Bennett said:rnit was obvious that this programrnwas going the way of all the others.rnThe books were being Marxized,rnfeminized, deconstructed andrnpoliticized. High-school teachers,rnfar from being exposed to ‘the bestrnwhich has been taught and said inrnthe world,’ were being indoctrinatedrnin the prevailing dogmasrnof academia.rnAccording to Kamen, this passagern”tracks” the remarks that historianrnGertrude Himmelfarb made in an Octoberrnarticle in Commentary. “Track,” ofrncourse, is one of the many kind and gentlerneuphemisms for plagiarism, and thisrnportion of Bennett’s statement was arnverbatim excerpt from Professor Himmelfarb’srnessay.rnBennett apparently had never seenrnthe article in Commentary. As he laterrnexplained. Professor Himmelfarb had ineludedrnthis passage in a statement thatrnshe had intended to read before thernsame House committee. When she,rnMrs. Kristol, decided not to appear, shernreportedly “gave me [Bennett] her testimonyrnand told me to use it as I saw fitrn. . . and she asked me not to cite it.” Usernit, Bennett did; cite it, he did not. “Isrnoriginality one of the virtues in thern’Book of Virtues’?” asked Kamen.rnThe second controversy involves Bennett’srnbest-seller. The Book of Virtues. Asrnthe New Yorker reported in February,rnBennett is really not the author of thisrnbook of moral tales: this honor goes tornJohn Cribb, who was a speechwriter forrnBennett when the latter was Secretary ofrnEducation. According to the New Yorker,rnBennett had Cribb working tirelesslyrnon the book, but without remuneration:rnNot to put too fine a point on it,rn[Bennett] was suffering from arnsmall cash-flow embarrassment: hernhad long ago spent the advance onrnhis two-book deal with Simon &rnSchuster. Being a great man,rnthough, William had an idea: ifrnJohn would stick with the projectrnfor a year, William would give Johnrnabout a third of any profits that thernresulting Book of Virtues earned.rn. . . [T|he noble (indeed, therndownright virtuous) William keptrnhis promise. At thirty dollars perrnbook, and if Bennett is receiving inrnroyalties the fifteen percent that isrnstandard in publishing, John’srnpiece of the action would appearrnto have netted the once unassumingrnghost-scribe well over two millionrndollars.rnWith the book already in its 34thrnprinting, and with the foreign languagernroyalties and subsidiary rights assuring arnconstant flow of profits for many years torncome, it is safe to assume that neverrnagain will Cribb and Bennett suffer arn”cash-flow embarrassment.” As Bennettrnputs it, “Let’s just say we’re both happyrnabout this. I’m happy and John’s happy.rnJohn’s really happy.”rnBoth controversies involving Bennettrnshare a certain moral obtuseness. LikernGreg Louganis’s situation, not only didrnMr. Bennett have information he preferredrnto keep out of the public domain,rnalbeit information of less social significancernthan Louganis’s, but no law requiredrnBennett to disclose his information,rneither about the true source of hisrnpublic testimony or the true author ofrnhis book. In fact, regarding his testimonyrnon Capitol Hill, Bennett was notrnlegally guilty of plagiarism, as ProfessorrnHimmelfarb had reportedly given himrnpermission to use her work. But permissionrndoth not a virtuous act make. Anrnadulteress may encourage a paramourrnand thereby grant “permission” to assistrnin the adultery, but a man of virtuernwould resist the temptress nonetheless.rnNor would a man of integrity willinglyrndeceive others by putting off the work ofrnothers as one’s own and then later declare,rnwhen tripped up in the deception,rn”I was told I could do it.”rnNeither would a man of virtue, particularlyrnone widely regarded as a scholarrnand man of letters, mislead the publicrnas to the true author of a book that hasrnbrought him such astounding fame andrnfortune. Now, ghostwriting is an age-oldrnmethod of publishing for the rich andrnuntalented, and without it Americarnwould never have had a Pulitzer Prizewinningrn”author” become President.rnBut few political and cultural leadersrnhave ever had a ghostwritten book asrnwildly popular and profitable as Bill Bennett’s,rnand when the topic of the bestsellerrnis honesty and forthrightness,rnmorality and virtue, one naturally beginsrnto wonder about the credibility of itsrn”author.”rnAgain, no law required Bennett to revealrnthe actual extent of Cribb’s “assistance,”rnbut the honorable act would notrnhave been to bury mention of Cribb in arnforeword to the book, but to have listedrnCribb, at the very least, as coauthor orrncoeditor. Even Hollywood tarts andrnmonosyllabic sport stars have perfectedrna more honest method of “writing” thanrnthat exhibited by Bennett. Their autobiographiesrndo often fall short on thernauto end of things, but at least theyrncome clean with the public on therncovers of their books: My Life by MikernTyson, “Written in crayon with thernassistance of…”rnPerhaps these controversies involvingrnMr. Bennett are not so much evidencernof deceit and deception as proof of arnpenchant for doing the bare minimum.rnAfter all, Bennett’s dissertation entitledrn”Societal Obligation,” for which he receivedrna Ph.D. from the University ofrnTexas at Austin in 1970, was hardlyrnlonger than many master’s theses. Itsrntext, including introduction, summary,rnand conclusion, is only 129 pages. Hisrnbibliography, in which he cites numerousrnsecondary sources as well as his usernof the New York Times Encyclopedia Almanac,rnextends only two lines beyond arnsingle page. In fact, his biography ofrnhimself in his “Vita” encompasses 20rnlines, which is more than the 13 totalrnworks listed in his bibliography.rnThe text of his dissertation is no morernimpressive. The chapters are largely recapitulationsrnof the ideas of prominentrnmoral philosophers. He begins with arnsummary of H. A. Priehard’s Moral Obligation,rnand the first 12 footnotes arerncitations from different chapters ofrnPriehard’s book. He later summarizesrnW. D. Ross’s The Right and the Goodrn44/CHRONICLESrnrnrn