tions of established Jewry.nMost important for those who arenconcerned with preserving traditionalncultural values, Members of the Tribenassures us that, far from being anachronistic,nMiddle-American Jewry is alivenand well. May it continue to prosper.nElliot C. Rothenberg is president ofnthe North Star Legal Foundation andna past national law director of thenAnti-Defamation League.nBy Blab Befuddlednby Bryce J. ChristensennBy Silence Betrayednby John CrewdsonnBoston: Little, Brown;n267 pp., $17.95.nWords cannot take us everywhere,nnor should they. Before thenmost sublime truths, we grow reverentlynstill. Confronted with bestiality, wenshudder at the unspeakable. But in thenAge of Blab, everything must be talkednabout.” Indeed, modem journalists considernit progress to be able to chatnendlessly about depravities our wisernancestors refused even to name. So wenmust contend with productions such asnJohn Crewdson’s book on the sexualnabuse of children.nAn industrious researcher, Crewdsonnhas interviewed dozens of victims andnperpetrators of child abuse, has consultednscores of professionals, and hasnpulled his findings together in a crispnand readable book. Indeed, the breezynclarity of style symptomizes the fatalndeficiency of this book. In treatingnsexual abuse as one more social problemnto be solved through public discussionnand policy reform, Crewdsonnhopelessly trivializes his subject.nSomething of the horror of sex abusendoes break through the journalistic banalitynin the interviews with victims. Asnvoices of deep suffering, they deserve anhearing. But that hearing ought toncome from those who love the speakersnand have a long-term commitment tonthem. To put the sordid past of thensexually abused on public display for thenscmtiny of strangers is to foster bothnexhibitionism and voyeurism. I felt dirtynand defiled reading some of Crewdson’sninterviews.nCrewdson congratulates himself andnothers for daring to “speak out” on sexnabuse. Yet it is an odd sort of courage tonspeak candidly and graphically aboutnthe most gmesome acts, but to benunable to manage more than a faintnwhisper when considering the culturalncauses of sexual abuse. Perhaps it is toonmuch to ask a metropolitan newsmannfor The Chicago Tribune to fathom thenmystery of iniquity, but Crewdson betraysnan absolute blindness to moralnissues when he declares that “the sexualnabuse of children is the pure productnof an emotional disorder.” Even worsenis the pronouncement that “thenpedophile’s logic is in some sense ultimatelyncorrect. Sex with children isnwrong because society says it’s wrong.nNo better reason is required.” A writernwilling to reduce fundamental taboosnto mere social conventions can hardlynbe trusted, even if he reaffirms thosentaboos.nNot surprisingly, the silence thatnCrewdson does not—and dares not—nbreak is the silence surrounding thenpretensions of modernity. These pretensionsndeserve closer analysis, sincensexual abuse appears peculiarly linkednto a modernizing culture. AlthoughnCrewdson too credulously acceptsnsome inflated numbers, he is probablyncorrect in suggesting that the sexualnabuse of children — not just reports ofnsuch abuse — has risen in recent decades.nTo his credit, Crewdson tracesnsexual abuse to “the disintegration ofnthe nuclear family, an increase in thennumbers of working couples and singlenand divorced mothers, more secondnand third marriages, [and] the emergencenof a permanent underclass.” Henacknowledges that day-care centers —ndistinctively modern institutions —noften attract pedophiles as employees.nHe even takes a harder line than somencongressmen against soft-porn magazines.nBut to probe much deeper intonthe causes of sexual abuse is to questionnthe very foundations of our woridnof secularism and individualism — toonfrightening a task for this writer.nDespite its importance as a cause ofnmaternal employment, divorce, andnpoverty, Crewdson never challengesnfeminism. Despite the frequency withnwhich he identifies homosexuals asnperpetrators of sexual abuse, Crewdsonnnever confronts the issue of “gaynnnrights.” Despite the many cases ofnsexual abuse in which government socialnworkers, therapists, and publicschoolnteachers were themselves thenculprits, Crewdson still acts upon thenmodern reflex of looking for solutionsnprovided by the state and its naturalnallies in academia, the media, and thensocial-therapy industry. As remedies tonthe problem of the sexual abuse ofnchildren, Crewdson endorses federallyfundednresearch, prevention programsnin the schools, “long-term psychotherapy”nadministered by licensed therapists,nstricter state screening of day-carenworkers, and public-service broadcastsnon the media. Crewdson may perceiventhat family decay causes sexual abuse,nbut he has not yet supposed the unthinkable:nthat the rise of the welfarenstate is itself a cause of moral confusionnin the family.nWithin this statist perspective, thenproblem of unjust accusations of childnabuse receives only scant attention.nIn citing a study that found that 65npercent of the child abuse cases innthe country proved “unfounded,”nCrewdson stresses that “unfounded didnnot mean untrue, but only that thenallegations in question could not benproved.” It is odd that in a book fillednwith interviews with the victims ofnsexual abuse, the reader finds not ansingle interview with a family traumatizednby state intervention on a falsenaccusation of child abuse. Crewdsonndoes worry that new judicial proceduresnfor dealing with sexual abuse —nincluding videotape testimony and admissionnof hearsay evidence — areneroding the defendant’s Sixth Amendmentnright “to be confronted with thenwitnesses against him” and to crossexaminenthem. He likewise expressesnreservations about proposals for extendingnthe statute of limitations fornsexual abuse to longer than that fornother serious crimes. After all, “a childnwho makes an accusation years afternthe fact may not remember detailsnabout who did what to whom.” But thennew assumption of “guilty until provenninnocent” has so insinuated itself intonthe author’s mind that he can writenapprovingly of how “children can bentaken from abusive or neglectful parentsnwho have not been charged withnany crime” by state officials (emphasisnadded).nEven further removed from Crewd-nJULY 1989/33n