he was fighting for a just cause! Thenactual facts as Scott has revealed themnare glossed over in these textbooks, andnthe problem of terrorism avoided. Thenreality of innocent murder is nevernpleasant, and so naturally enough thenhistorian would prefer to rationalizenit away, especially when a banner asnglorious as that accorded the abolitionistsnis conveniently at hand. Yet contrastnthis legacy of honor generallynattached to Brown’s name with Lincoln’snassessment of the Harper’snFerry Raid:n”John Brown’s effort was peculiar.nIt was not a slave insurrection. Itnwas an attempt by white men to getnup a revolt among slaves, in whichnthe slaves refused to participate. Innfact, it was so absurd that the slaves,nwith all their ignorance, saw plainlynenough it could not succeed. Thatnaffair, in its philosophy, correspondsnwith the many attempts, related innhistory, at the assassination of kingsnand emperors. An enthusiast broodsnover the oppression of a people tillnhe fancies himself commissioned bynheaven to liberate them. He venturesnthe attempt, which ends in littlenelse than his own execution.”nLincoln’s judgment, significantly, remainsnburied mainly because the factsnof history, as Scott argues, are finallynat the mercy of the word manipulators.nAlchemy is possible in the media. Ifnpower in high places is to be served,nterrorists can indeed be palmed off asnmartyrs. Thus, perhaps Scott’s mostnvaluable contribution in writing ThenSecret Six is exposing the powerful influencenof journalistic propaganda inncreating a public opinion that inevitablynrigidif led the sides in the national debatenand pushed the country into a civil warn—a war that brought many changes,nbut hardly reaffirmed the principle ofna government of laws and not of men.nJohn Brown himself had learned thenvalue of rhetoric as is evidenced innhis final speech to the court whichnconvicted him.n8nChronicles of Culturen”… had I so interfered in behalf ofnthe rich, the powerful, the intelligent,nthe so-called great, or in behalfnof any of their friends,—either father,nmother, brother, sister, wife, ornchildren, or any of that class, —andnsuffered and sacrificed what I havenin this interference, it would havenbeen all right; and every man in thisncourt would have deemed it an actnworthy of reward rather than punishment.”nAbove man’s law to the end, but evennthen adding more high-blown wordsnthat the Northern press would use tonbegin “an idealization, unprecedentednin the history of the nation.” In such anclimate reason and moderation couldnnever hope to be popular.nIn one way or another the Americannexperiment has continued to face thenmajor problem of distributing libertynand wealth. Who owns what and who isnfree to do what constitute matters ofngrave importance, but of equal importancenare the mechanisms wherebynchange occurs: the strategies and conventionsnused by varying segments ofnthe citizenry to alter a current, and tonthem undesirable, state of affairs. Scott,nof course, does not deny that severeninequities and grievances continue tonexist in our society, just as they existednin the America of the 1850s. What hendeplores, however, is the existence ofnfanatics who place themselves above thenlaw when they “work” for their causes.nBut even more, Scott deplores that suchnactivity is duly justified and even embracednand supported in certain respectablencircles. In retelling the storynof John Brown and the well-to-do abolitionistsnwho gave him money, arms,nand encouragement, Scott makes usnface up squarely to the raw facts of thenterrorist tradition that remains withnus today.nTerrorism still preys on the innocentnand divides our people by promotingnsome “righteous” position outside thennnboundaries of our legal machinery. Andnso we are blest with the hypocrisy ofnthe Radical Chic who in mouthing then”correct” slogans about liberating thenpeople through confrontation and violencenthink they are serving the oppressed.nUrban bombings, political kidnappings—slayings,nsky-jackings, thenresurgence of the KKK and othernneo-Nazi groups, even the government’sn”official” use of provocateurs to infiltratendissident organizations—all havenbecome alarmingly commonplace.nAlongside the mounting frustrations ofncontemporary life, in the public consciousnessnthey almost merge into thenrealm of the acceptable.nOf course, organized rational forcencan on occasion prove necessary in thenface of entrenched interests. Boycotts,nstrikes are possible without the violencenof the terrorist, and Scott might havenbeen more explicit regarding the rangenof options beyond mere talk that arenopen to citizens during instances ofnsevere injustice. How, for instance,nwould Scott have evaluated Jefferson’snappraisal of Daniel Shay’s rebellion?n”Even these revolts produce good. Itnbrings people’s attention to the problemsnof government. I hold that anlittle rebellion now and then is angood thing. I believe they are asnnecessary in the political world asnstorms are in the physical world.nLittle rebellions are a medicinennecessary for the sound health ofngovernment.”nW hatever these approaches are, however,nthey must be tied to grassrootsnsupport to be truly effective, and consequentlynthis involves the use ofnslower and less-dramatic means. Yetnin the end a more lasting redress ofngrievances is possible, one which doesn’tndestroy the very fabric of the societynthat allowed dissenting points of viewnto develop in the first place. Thanks tonOtto Scott’s energetic and intricatenaccount of past delusions of righteousngrandeur, terrorism may not in thenfuture be so easy to rationalize away. Dn