Freud With Teethrnby Andrei Navrozovrn”No evil is greater than anarchy.”rn-A Latin ProverbrnHannibalrnby Thomas HarrisrnNew York: Delacorte;rn484 pp., $27.95rnWith author’s fees in eight figuresrnand print runs to match, ThomasrnI larris’s cannibal is what publishers call arnphenomenon. “I should’ve written that!”rnagonize America’s ambitious housewivesrnon their way to becoming failed writers.rn”1 can’t believe that this is what peoplernwant to read,” murmur intellectual snobsrnon their way to becoming nothing in parhcular.rn”Why, it’s actually quite good,”rnequivocate the rest of Harris’s readers,rn”and besides, who says that if something’srnpopular it’s got to be trash? What aboutrndie Beatles?” But the initial success, andrnnow the triumphant return, of Dr. HannibalrnLecter is more curious than the debate,rnfamiliar as the cover of an airportrnnovel, among turbid envy, impotentrnsnobbery, and placid egalitarianism.rnDr. I.ccter psychoanalyzes the peoplernhe meets, finds them morally inadequate,rnand then eats them. The plot havingrnbeen thus dispensed with, there isrnnow more space to examine what millionsrnof Harris’s fans actually find in hisrnhomicidal yarns, and the unexpectedrntruth that is their social and political message.rnIn the company of my Russian friends,rnconversations, obsessively and to the exclusionrnof women and song, are alwaysrnAndrei Navrozov is Chronicles’rnEuropean correspondent.rnabout Joseph Stalin. We admire Stalin asrna kind of Beethoven or Goethe of power,rnwe ponder his Napoleonic deeds andrnMephistophelian tricks like musicologistsrnstudying an original score, and in sorndoing we follow and preserve our culture,rnfor so did Pasternak ponder them, and sorndid Bulgakov, and so did our fathers andrngrandfathers. Understanding Stalin, tornus, is what finding Troy was for Schliemann.rnAfter many years of such discussions, arnbroad premise has emerged, namely, thatrnevery man alive has more enemies thanrnhe has friends, with the statistically validrnconclusion that, should some great elementalrnforce begin exterminating one’srncompatriots at random, there will be fewerrnpeople to curse it than to praise itsrnname. Of course, like one’s friends, one’srnactual enemies arc the palpable extremernin the average person’s field of experience.rnMore to the point, there are a lot ofrnpeople out there one vaguely dislikes,rnpeople who may be richer or more handsome,rnless educated or more educated,rnlazier or more industrious, with darker orrnlighter skin, with a stricter view of thernfamily, with dubious personal habits,rnwith scary guns, with funny wigs, withrnmoney in Switzerland. Kill them, andrnyou will make those who dislike themrnvery happy indeed, provided you do thernkilling fairly, randomly, disinterestedly:rnKill them as the plague kills, in a festivalrnof blind pandemic annihilation, and theyrnwill bless you as the Scourge of God.rnAs London was burning in 1666, manyrnonlookers from every class of society, ineludingrnthose who stood to lose most byrnthe fire, were seized by a kind of manicrnglee at the sight of that wondrous thing, arncollective calamity. Each man was willingrnto exchange his personal fortrme forrnthe amalgamated misfortime of the others,rnmany of whom, presumably, hernthought he had reason to dislike. Thusrndid many in Europe welcome the eventsrnof 1789 in Erancc, and every turn of thernbloody wheel thereafter. Thus did thernRussian intelligentsia hail Stalin’s ukasernof 1932 “On the Restructuring of CulturalrnOrganizations,” signaling that the timernhad come to oppress their Bolshevik oppressors,rnwith the words “Christ is risen!”rnAmericans have not experienced totalitarianism,rnmore wondrous by farrnthan the Great Fire, and I detect its mesmericrngleaming, and hear its elementalrnroar, in the phenomenally successful offeringrnof Thomas Harris. More distinctly,rntoo, I should add, than in the mountainsrnof books and magazine articles piledrnup over seven decades by those whomrnPravda used to call fellow travelers, repre-rnAPRIL 2000/27rnrnrn