itude, the proverbial mote that, in therntwihght of our totalitarian century, onlyrnan editor of Commentary or NationalrnReview, utterly oblivious to the beamrnprotruding from his own eye socket, canrncheerfully discern. By contrast, the intellectualrncapitulation of the right in thernface of a modernized, 21 st-century totalitarianismrnis without precedent, atrnleast since the day when the right firstrnbecame the oppositionist minority thatrnit in a sense remains. It is the right’s cryrnof “Victory!” in the face of its cause’srnwhimpering surrender that drew my disobedientrnattention to Sovietologists likernWalter Laqueur and Robert Conquest.rnIt is anecdotal that Mr. Beichman, arn”research fellow” at the Hoover Institutionrnwhere Robert Conquest is a “seniorrnresearch fellow,” doubts that “Messrs.rnConquest and Laqueur have been takenrnin by a KGB conspiracy,” because if theyrnhave “what can account for the fact thatrnthese tough-minded historians who werernnot taken in during the Stalinist andrnpost-Stalinist decades seem now to havernlost their heads in the Gorbachevshchina?”rnIn his enthusiasm to conform, Mr.rnBeichman forgets that the venerablernLao-Tze of National Review wrote ThernGreat Terror in 1968, when he was a manrnof 50, and that even the bland Power andrnPolicy in the U.S.S.R. had not appearedrnuntil 1961. As for the equally toughmindedrnneoconservative Confucius,rnWalter Laqueur had maintained a becomingrnsilence until 1956, when a Sovietrnoligarch conspired to seize power byrndiscrediting his predecessor and by makingrndisparagement of him socially acceptablernon both sides of the Iron Curtain.rnThe sardonic question one oughtrnto be asking, then, is “Why shouldrnMessrs. Conquest and Laqueur not nowrnbe taken in by a KGB conspiracy, if thatrnis what it is, when they have spentrntwo decades of their rational lives eitherrnin blissful ignorance of Stalin’s conspiracyrnor in active participation inrnKhrushchev’s?” It may be recalled thatrnthe future author of On Liberty was arrestedrnfor pamphleteering at 16, a tenderrnage at which Messrs. Conquest andrnLaqueur may be assumed, for lack of evidencernto the contrary, to have been loyalrnLeninists or loyal Trotskyites, just asrntheir less agile contemporaries in thernWest were loyal Stalinists or loyal Mc-rnCarthyists.rnToday one need not be a conspiracyrnnut to realize that these movements representedrnthe dominant conformity ofrncertain times and places and that thosernwho marched along with them or tacitlyrnaccepted their leadership of half-truthsrnand falsehoods are permanently disqualifiedrnas freethinkers. Yet today arnthinker must risk becoming known as arnconspiracy nut, or at least as somethingrnmore substantively controversial than arnfellow of the Hoover Institution, to bernfree enough to realize that the canardrnof a Soviet collapse is the dominantrnconformity of these times, even as thernsystems that once stood for almost cartographicrnrealities. East and West, socialismrnand capitalism, communism andrnfascism, are converging into a uniformrn”New World Order” with distinctly totalitarianrnfeatures.rnTwenty years ago I could read Conquest’s,rnor for that matter Solzhenitsyn’s,rnvariations on Khrushchev’s “de-Stalinization”rntheme without a grimace, becausernthe localized conformity they representedrnwas still at odds with another,rnfar more uniform, mendacious, and vast.rnTwo years ago I could hardly read Conquest’srnnew book on the assassinationrnof Kirov or Solzhenitsyn’s Vermontrnproclamations without reflecting thatrntheir platitudinizing to the tune of Gorbachev’srn”openness” belonged in Pravdarnor Izvestia—or, more shattering, thatrnit also belonged in the New York Timesrnand National Review and Commentaryrnand every other periodical in which onlyrnpre-1953 news is noteworthy and tornwhich conspiracy nuts need not apply.rnAs I write this, I see that an opinionrncolumn by my father is carried by Izvestia,rncirculation four million, every Thursday.rnI admire this freethinker as I admirernMill, yet I would not conclude, norrnwould he have me conclude, that thisrnanomaly proves that the spirit of OnrnLiberty has alighted on Yeltsin’s Russiarngenerally or on Izvestia in particular.rnNor would seeing his opinions in thernNew York Times, as I have seen my own,rnalter the fact that unless there reemergesrnin the United States a medium for adversarialrnand equipotent debate at leastrnof the kind that existed in Palmerston’srnEngland, such occurrences will remainrnanomalies. Unofficial versions of history,rnborn out of the human impulse to knowrnthe whole truth, will continue to circulaternin the form of single-spaced letters,rnxeroxed leaflets, Washington rumor, andrncomputer gossip, at least until the impulsernitself is extinguished by indifference.rnConspiracy nuts will continue tornlive with the name, given by thosernwhom Mill called “conformers to commonplace,rnor timeservers for truth” tornthose whom he saw as “afflicted withrnthe malady of thought.” As Mill warnsrnin On Liberty:rnAnd thus is kept up a state ofrnthings very satisfactory to somernminds, because, without the unpleasantrnprocess of fining or imprisoningrnanybody, it maintainsrnall prevailing opinions outwardlyrnundisturbed, while it does not absolutelyrninterdict the exercise ofrnreason by dissentients afflictedrnwith the malady of thought. Arnconvenient plan for having peacernin the intellectual world, andrnkeeping all things going on thereinrnvery much as they do already.rnBut the price paid for this sort ofrnpacification, is the sacrifice of thernentire moral courage of the humanrnmind.rnIn a climate like this, which any readerrnof Chronicles will immediately identifyrnas milder and more temperate tornthe freethinker than the Establishmentarianrnatmosphere in the United Statesrntoday, would a man not be insulting hisrnown intelligence as well as that of hisrnpeers by insisting that a “conspiracy theory”rn—such as the axiom that thernKennedy shooting was an inside job orrnthat Gorbachev organized the AugustrnCoup against himself or that the NewrnYork Times would rather find dirt on PatrnBuchanan than on George Bush—bern”proven”? In a court of law wherernequipotent and adversarial representationrnof all sides of the argument isrnagainst the rules, can a man do morernthan holler “Cui bono”? In a world withoutrna free press, where individual historians,rnscholars, and writers with no motivationrnsave their natural stubbornnessrncan ill compete with representatives ofrnpowerful intellectual corporations—likernLaqueur’s Center for Strategic and InternationalrnStudies or Conquest’srnHoover Institution—can any man hopernthat the whole truth will out to save civilizationrnin the 11th hour?rnYes, but only if the man is a courageousrnfreethinker. A conspiracy nut, forrnshort.rnAndrei Navrozov writes from Londonrnand is author of The ComingrnOrder: Reflections on Sovietology andrnthe Media (Claridge Press).rn54/CHRONICLESrnrnrn