being served by Red hands. The ideologists of thisnmovement were adherents of such conservativenthinkers as Konstantin Leontiev and Joseph denMaistre. They accepted bolshevism because thenidea of liberty, so crucial to the left-wingnintelligentsia, was a secondary matter to them.n”There is no need to be finicky about this,” Enoch Powellnmuses. “People who find it surprising and inconsistent thatnthe Baptists, for instance, have received no obvious benefitnfrom the new climate have failed to understand what isngoing on.” I return the Spectator to the moldering pile. Mynsubject is neither the plight of Soviet Baptists, nor “EnochnPowell in Russia,” nor expatriate movements of old. It is,nquite simply, the will to knowledge.nMr. Shaw, a carpenter who came to repair a staircase anfew years ago, asked me if it would be all right to watchntelevision in our absence. I asked him what it was that he wasnafraid of missing. It was the Chancellor’s budget speech.nThe pages of the newspapers that I am conserving in dustnand tobacco smoke bulge with the sort of news Mr. Shaw isneager to know as well as understand. Mortgage rates,npensions, union power, 1992, balance of payments, inflation,nNHS and a myriad other indices, concepts, or realitiesncomprise his field of interest when he is sober or notnworking. Even so, he does not take a morning, “quality”npaper.nIn August 1988, a Gallup survey commissioned by thenInstitute for European Defence and Strategic Studiesnrevealed that only 22 percent of the 171 regular readers ofn”quality” newspapers polled were aware that the SovietnUnion has ballistic missile defenses. It is less important,nperhaps, that the subjects of the survey were members ofnParliament.nAlthough the Conservative Party has traditionallynbeen seen as the “party of defence,” Tory MPsngenerally come out worse in the survey than theirnLabour counterparts. This is alarming, given thatnnearly a third of the Tories polled claim thatndefence is their main area of interest.nI throw the front-page Sunday Telegraph article back intonthe pile, noting only that “ninety-eight percent of ConservativenMPs indicated their support for the START proposals ofn50 percent cuts in strategic systems.” My subject is the willnto knowledge, I whisper, and I must see these people asnnewspaper readers like myself, not as political leaders uponnwhose decisions our sovereignty depends.nThe universe of quotidian concerns, which our carpenternand, evidently, even readers of “quality newspapers” inhabit,nis complex and perceived as such. The best reflection ofnthis is the level of public debate that frames every one ofnthese concerns, no matter how ostensibly remote, or evennspectral, its practical significance. I cannot reach into mynAurelian pile for an example from the business section ofnthe Times because this is the part of the paper that I discardnon arrival, yet the very existence of such a section —nsometimes as extensive as all the other news of the dayncombined — is indicative of the seriousness with whichn”quality newspaper readers” regard such concerns.nFor a neat contrast, I unfold a recent Sunday Telegraphn(“START treaty should be ready for signing by the end ofnthe year,” promises the front page) and turn to the currentnop-ed debate: “Hugh Trevor-Roper argues that we shouldnsupport Lithuanian independence, but not promise morenthan we can secure,” while Geoff^rey Wheatcroft writes “onnwhy it’s time for appeasement over the Baltic states.” Again,nit is not the mere fact that the debate, in a Tory “qualitynnewspaper,” could just as well be taking place on Sovietntelevision that is so mortifying. It is rather, from thenviewpoint of my subject here, that no debate so restrictedncan be imagined taking place in a Western democracy on annissue of perceived concern, be it the need for a statutorynincomes policy or the prospect of legislation against ownersnof dangerous pets.nWhen, at the end of March 1988, the 19-membernForeign Relations Committee of the United StatesnSenate recommended full approval of the INF treaty, then17-to-2 margin of the vote ensured that legislative review ofnthe “deal” would be little more than a rubber stamp. Duringnthe 21 days of committee hearings, the battle againstnratification had been waged single-handedly by Jesse Helms,nthe senator from North Carolina whose political isolationnwithin his own Republican Party has only increased sincenthen. In the end, it was his vote, seconded by NorthnDakota’s Larry Pressler, that kept the committee from beingnunanimous on the issue. When the full Senate finally votednapproval, only two other Republicans and one Democratndissented.nIt is the perception of the INF treaty as politicallynunstoppable, a “done deal” the moment it had been sighed,nthat caused the dissenters to condemn it, far more than itsnactual significance as a kind of Maginot Line on paper. In andry phrase that might have been used by De Gaullenfifty-odd years earlier, General Bernard W. Rogers, formernSupreme Allied Commander in Europe, described hisncountry as willing “to sacrifice deterrence on an altar ofnpolitical expediency.” Indeed, the initial announcement ofnthe INF “agreement in principle” was made by PresidentnReagan on the bicentenary of the American Constitution.nWhat had grown “inexpedient,” evidenfly, was the Consdtutionalnmandate “to secure the blessings of liberty tonourselves and our posterity.”nIf today’s Western electorates, including Mr. Shaw, arenrarely at the mercy of their elected representatives in mattersnof domestic policy, foreign policy is as much the preserve ofnthe polihcians today as it was in the days of Queen Victoria.nIn areas like defense, in particular, the gap of accountabilitynis wider than it has ever been, if only because totalitariannsociehes — whose existence justifies the expenditure in thenfirst place — are a principally new historical phenomenon,none whose modus operandi has not had the benefit ofncenturies of study and discussion.nIn his 180-page “Memorandum to Republican Senatorsnon the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” which has yetnto receive a mention in any British newspaper, SenatornHelms attempted to bridge the accountability gap dividingnthe politicians from their constituencies as follows:n1. We don’t know what we are looking for. 2. Wendon’t know where to look for it. 3. If we find it, wennnJUNE 1991/17n