poet’s sense of the real life around himnrather than in a firmly airy metaphysics.nThis habit of thought made him,nduring the 1930s, the ideal critic ofnthe killing contradictions of Marxistntheory, just as it made him, duringnthe 1950s and ’60s, a classic victimnof capitalism’s more vulgar claims tonTightness. And O’Neill’s book finallynis revealing not only about the fascinatingnEastman, but about the complexnfate of so many other Americannradicals who ended their careersnunder the wings of HUAC, GeneralnMotors, or Esquire. “nWhy “victim”? Why this jarring vocablenin an otherwise reasonable text?nWhy does changing from a communistnand radical into an anticommunist andnconservative, which was Eastman’s case,nequate, in the intellect of an Americannliberal, with victimization, or dwarfing,nof mind and conscience? Had he gonenthe other way, would Eastman also ben”a classic victim” of marxism’s vulgarnclaims to morality? What makes thentropism of the quintessential liberal relynso dolefully on the left side of the universenas the only source of light andnwarmth? Is not the indomitable selfrighteousnessnin passing judgments,nuntainted by doubt or irony, growingninto a sort of mental goiter on the leftnside of the American liberal psyche?nhack of EducationnVillage Voice, in a vicious diatribenagainst neoconservatives, resorts to thenultimate insult:n”The other problem for the neoconservativesnis: do they have fun.’ Thennotion has generally prevailed downnthe years that sex is better on thenleft…”nIs that so?nParis of Troy was a devout religionist.nSolomon was a king, Cleopatra anqueen. Petronius was a right-winger,nif not a Birchist, his sexual orientationnnotwithstanding. Abelard a monk. Boccaccionwas a courtier and an Establishmentnsnob; so was Petrarch. LucrezianBorgia was a princess, and the daughternof a pope. Othello was a career militarynman, who most likely would be with thenPentagon were he around today. BothnDon Juan and Casanova were ravingnreactionaries. Moll Flanders was anythingnbut politically committed. CountnPolemics & ExchangesnVronsky was a staunch supporter ofnthe Czar, Annunzio was a fascist (sonwas Duse), Rudolf Valentino a royalist.nClark Gable and Gary Cooper leanedntoward Senator J. McCarthy, rather thannthe Hollywood Ten. To mention justna few better-known cases. DnMore on Altruism,nHappiness & Redistribution of Wealthnby John A. HowardnIt is hazardous for an observer ofnthe human scene to take issue with anprofessional philosopher. Even so, Inam moved to offer some comments innresponse to Tibor Machan’s attempt tonidentify a via media between what henperceives as the two moral antipodesnof our era—nihilism and altruism. Henperceives both as the enemies of humannhappiness.nGranted that Mr. Machan’s statementnwas a mere outline of a concept rathernthan a well-developed thesis, I find itndifficult to accept his all-inclusive altruismnas an entity which can be juxtaposednwith nihilism or anything else.nThere are, I suggest, two main currentsnof belief which he seems to have lumpednunder the heading of altruism, butnwhich are mutually incompatible. Onenis the position of certain critics of capitalismnwho are determined to redistributenwealth, power and privilege. Thisnschool of thought cannot be labeled altruismnbecause its partisans do notninsist that everyone be charitable andnkindly toward everyone else. Thenrequirement is to be imposed only onnthe well-to-do. Those at the other endnof the spectrum are encouraged, instead,nto demand a larger share of thenpie, an encouragement often couplednDr. Howard is Director of the RockfordnCollege Institute.nnnwith advice to use distinctly uncharitablentechniques.nThe other element of Mr. Machan’snaltruism seems to be Christianity, whichndoes place obligations on everyone tonbe kindly and helpful to his neighbor.nTo assert, however, that Christian altruismnis the enemy of happiness is tonmiss the point of Christianity. For thenChristian, the only true happiness denrives from living by Christian principles.nMr. Machan suggests that the impossibilitynof fallible mortals being ablento meet the standards of pure altruismnmay be the cause of the flowering ofnnihilism. While that thesis may havensome merit, it conspicuously lacks anlarger perspective, for it denies thenmeaning and the utility of an ideal. Annideal is a concept of perfection. The factnthat a person cannot fully achieve itndoes not invalidate the usefulness ofnstriving toward it. Even some philosophersnreach toward a level of understandingnthat they may suspect is beyondntheir grasp.nSince the objective of Mr. Machan’snformulation is to free the individual tonpursue happiness, I can’t help wonderingnif Mr. Machan has ever met anyone whonpursued happiness and apprehended it.nI have the impression that the few peoplenone encounters who seem to be genuinelynhappy have acquired that statusnas a by-product of pursuing worthy goalsnof a magnitude beyond personalngratification. Dn131nChronicles of Cultiiren