LIBERAL CULTUREnMommy DearestnA New York Times BooknReview contributor by the misleadingnname of Mr. Atlas writesnabout Mr. Irving Howe’s book AnMargin of Hope, which chroni­ncles the vicissitudes of the notedncircle of New York liberal andnleftist intellectuals from then1930’s to the present:nTo begin with, who werenthese intellectuals? Mynscorecard tallies with Mr.nHowe’s: ‘The leading criticsnwere Rahv, Phillips, [Lionel]nTrilling, [Harold]nRosenberg, Abel, andn[Alfred] Kazin. The mainnpolitical theorist wasn[Sidney] Hook. Writers ofnpoetry and fiction related tonthe New York milieu werenDelmore Schwartz, SaulnBellow, Paul Goodman,nand Isaac Rosenfeld. Andnthe recognized scholar, andnalso inspiring moral force,nwas Meyer Schapito.nA bit further, Mr. Atlas drawsnsome conclusions:nFrom beginning to end, it isna story of cultural innocencenand narrow vision, disappointmentnand defeat, an48inChronicles of Cttlturenchronicle of feuds and pettynfactionalism so dispiritingnthat a reader of my generationncomes away wonderingnhow this dedicated band ofnintellectuals had thenstamina to pursue a coursenthat condemned them tonexist forever on the marginsnof society, denied even thenhope of influence or power.nOne’s first reaction has to be:n”C’mon, Mr. Atlas, who are younkidding—us or yourself? Do younreally believe that this ‘band ofnintellectuals’ has ever existed—nthen or now—‘on the margins ofnsociety, denied even the hope ofninfluence or power’?” For thenlast 30 years, entire departmentsnat major universities havenlived, and still do, by the wordsnof Lionel TrOling; Harold Rosenbergnwent on to become thenruler and conscience of allnMadison Avenue galleries; PaulnGoodman governed the 1960’s;nboth Mr. Ka2in and Mr. Howenhimself are today the darlingsnand oracles of the official quasiliterarynestablishment—fromnTime to Rolling Stone, Esquire,nand Mother Jones—they areneven lovingly quoted and interviewednin the Sunday supplementsnin Dubuque. It may benthat Professor Hook and SaulnBellow are somewhat scornednand occasionally harassed, butnthen both have assumed a rathernrevisionist stance toward thenleft’s sway over Americannliberalism.nBut why bother to ask? Mr.nAtlas strenuously supportsnAmerican pluralism accordingnto the New York Times’s gospel,nwhose directive is: the morenunlimited power, fame, credits,ninfluence, honors, accolades,nand ordinary perks and gainsnone gathers, the louder he mayncry wolf and claim to be a persecutednvictim. Of late, that attitudenis best illustrated by thenwords Mommy Dearest. DnFree Will & the Immortal SoulnMother Jones, the organ ofnthe tender procommunism innthe souls of corporate scions,nbewails the democratic expressionnof popular will thatnbrought down Mr. Ed Asner,ntogether with his support fornthe Latin American communistnguerrillas. Inevitably, Al/calls itn”suppression of free speech,”n”McCarthyism,” and “censorship.”nThose who have profferednsuch phrases include suchngiants of constitutional eruditionnas Robert Redford and JanenFonda. Also having opinions arenother stars of the procommunistnconscience of America, like onenMr. Norman Fleishman who, inadvertently,nstates things we allnknow but of which we alwaysnneed to be reminded:n’Entertainment is the onlynway to reach masses of people.n.. . Joe McCarthy andnthe other blacklisters werencorrect. . . . If you want tondo the most damage, gonafter the entettainmentnpeople.’nAnd the Mother Jones mavens,nwith their own sense of intellectualnintegrity, add the finishingnnnpomts:nThe Right is also adept atnglooming celebrities fornpolitical leadership—thencharming storyteller whoncurrently occupies thenWhite House being thenmost notable example. Perhapsnthe final lesson of thenLou GrantiHah is that progressives,nsimply need anmore effective celebritynstrategy if we want to continuento get our ideas intonthe spotlight.nFrom these sentences emergentwo basic “truths,” actuallynnuggets of boorish mendacity,nquite proper for the tycoons’nprogeny in the spasms of a collective,ninfantile temper tantrum:n1) that Mr. Reagan didnnot choose his ideological avocationnbut was “groomed” for it—na Skinnerian specimen programmednby some sinister forcesnthat implant world views innminds of “charming” humannsamples; 2) that the poor,nhelpless, victimized Americannleft does not do, or even knownhow to do, things like that. As ifnthe 50 years of ruthless engineeringnof “love” for the SovietnUnion, which has delivered almostnhalf the world to lethalncommunist domination, has notnbeen arranged by the commonnfront which stretches from thenCPUSA to the New York Timesn(their occasional differences notwithstanding),nbut by the BoynScouts or the Baptists. Dn