ness for themselves—here one thinks ofnRaskolnikov and Stavrogin—they couldnnot extend it to others. Hence their extremensensitivity to injustice, a sensitivitynthat was itself grounded in Christiannteachings—but it was not mitigatednby compassion. In the end, they came tondespise not only the czar and his government,nbut also the people in whose namenthey claimed to speak. So fierce wasntheir rage for justice that they reprobatednunjust men and women—everyone,nthat is, including themselves. Oftenn”religious” by nature, they were Christiannheretics for whom only perfect justicenin this world could vindicate God’sncreation. In The Brothers KaramazovnIvan hates this world because little childrennare made to suffer; having permittednhis hatred to fester, he is obsessed by hisndepraved father and finally inspiresnSmerdyakov, his bastard half-brothern(and alter ego), tocommit patricide. OnlynAlyosha, the youngest of the Karamazovs,nis able to love his father (while denploring his conduct) as he is and to acceptnforgiveness for his own sins.nLove and forgiveness constitute thenleaven of civilization and the principalnhistorical heritage of Christianity. Arrayednagainst those such as the “incorruptible”nRobespierre, who wouldnsooner have us revert to barbarism thannto live with injustice, are those who affirmnthe pivotal importance of whatnKierkegaard called “the teleologicalnsuspension [not revocation] of the ethical.”nParents who love their childrennwithout laying down as a condition thatntheir conduct always be above reproach.nPatriots who love their country, rightnor wrong. (Those who “love” theirncountry only when it is right may benamong the just, but they are notnpatriots.) The Illinois governor whonpardoned Nathan Leopold without feelingnconstrained to free every inmate.nThe President who thought it better tonpardon his disgraced predecessor—nbut not his accomplices—than to debasenany further the nation’s highest office.nWe are all familiar with great works ofnliterature in which acts of humanityn8nChronicles of Culturensimilar to these ape central. Here Inmention only those profound plays ofnShakespeare: The Merchant of Venice,nMeasure for Measure and The Tempest.nIf, then, Dostoyevsky is right tonemphasize the sovereign significancenof love and forgiveness, the consequencesnof the kind of intellectual treasonnwe have been discussing will be veryngreat. Hollander is well aware of this,nas his perceptive remarks in the concludingnchapter attest. However loftyntheir genesis, ideas do filter down tonthe public at large, particularly whennthey are adopted and popularized by thennewspapers and television. Considernthe passion for muckraking that presentlyninforms all major network newsnprograms viewed by millions of Americansnnight after night. As Hollandernrightly observes, “the cumulative effectnof this steady debunking and preoccupationnwith the ills of society intensifiesnthe sense of malaise and alienation arisingnout of problems and frustrations,nmany of which are unlikely to be resolved.”nRecently Arthur Schlesinger,nJr. dismissed this argument out of hand,nadding that “others may think that ournsociety needs better, not less, criticism”n(New York Times Book Review, Octobern11, 1981). One can only surmisenthat the American historian and socialncritic has never read, or has forgotten,nHomo SapiensnDr. Carl Sagan, media star and sometimenuniversity professor, reveals thenmagnitude of vision that lies at the heartnof today’s scientism. In the New Yorknnnthe history of the Weimar Republic.nIf any of Hollander’s judgments arenopen to question, it is surely his uncharacteristicnsuggestion that “dreamsnof social perfectibility and human liberationnare by themselves attractive,nand life without them would be impoverishednin some intangible way.” Onnthe contrary, Utopian dreams are neithernattractive nor benign. They reflect thatnlife-denying impulse that infects sonmuch of modern thought. Utopias alwaysnpresuppose the advent of “newnmen,” whose nature must be totally differentnfrom our own; the more obsessednone is with these imagined creatures,nthe more disgust one feels for livingnhuman beings. We would do well tonponder what Camus wrote in The Rebel:n”Is it possible eternally to reject injusticenwithout ceasing to acclaim the naturenof man and the beauty of the world.”nOur answer is yes.” I would add onlynthat the most exquisite beauty to benfound in this world is not that of nature,nhowever awesome, but that expressednby the “quality of mercy.” Innthe final analysis, the destiny of thenWest may well depend upon our abilitynto revive pur collective self-respect andnto carry on the practice of criticismnwithin the context of a resolute defensenof Western traditions. DnLIBERAL CULTURE |nTini’^i- H’liii Ri’i.ii II of November 29,nly8J,Dr. .Sa;ia;i «im:s:nFor niVM’ll. r In- kk ;i that life arises onnman> wl’l•|ll^ i!>roii;:h the interactionnof malti t .nil! I-IIITI;V—that is, by thenconsri|i:iiii..i.’i I’l ilii’ laws of physicsnand I’liiniisirv siims a sufficientlynennoWiii!.’ |>ri>..|ifii to satisfy anyone’snjMi’iiilft’iioii’; for the holy . . .nWe presunii- rliat Pri)J’essor Sagan has nondifficult) sc-L-iii>j liiiiTself as the offspringnof a weJi-fiinffionin!; butane lighter. Nonmetaphy.sical iliii>!riii whatsoever. Dn