Grand Designs by John Lukacsn”Liberty, the daughter of oppression, after havingnbrought forth several fair children, as Riches, Arts,nLearning, Trade, and many others, was at last deliverednof her youngest daughter, called FACTION. “n—Jonathan SwiftnRichard H. Pells: The Liberal Mindnin a Conservative Age: AmericannIntellectuals in the 1940s and 1950s;nHarper & Row; New York; $18.95.nThere are many things wrong withnthis book, beginning with its title.nThe Liberal Mind is not what thisnbook is about. (Nor were the 1940’snand 1950’s really a Conservative Agen—but let this pass.) It is about thenintellection of the New York left. Liberalitynof mind is a desirable conditionn—yes, also (and perhaps especially) fornpolitical conservatives. It is an overallndesideratum and not a term properlynapplicable to the designation of specificnconventicles of intellectuals. ProfessornPells’s book is about the closelyncircumscribed and often cramped andnairless circle of the latter. There werenall kinds of men and women amongnthem, good and bad, but in the 1940’snand 1950’s their influence on thencourse of the Republic and on the lifenof its people was nonexistent. Pellsnargues that their ideas were important;nthat, as is the case with certain writers,nthinkers, artists, etc., they were thenantennae of the race; that their argumentsnwere forerunners of what wouldnhappen later. “In effect, the intellectualnskirmishes which took place betweenn1955 and 1960 were rehearsalsnfor the full-dress battles that continuednto convulse the nation long after thenage of Stalin, Truman, and Eisenhowernhad given way to Vietnam, Watergate,nand a renewed Cold War.” Notnat all: those intellectual skirmishesnwere drearily limited; they meantnnothing.nYes, Ideas Have Consequences (thenJohn Lukacs is professor of history atnChestnut Hill College. His mostnrecent book is OutgrowingnDemocracy: A History of the UnitednStates in the Twentieth Centuryn(Doubleday).n81 CHRONICLES OF CULTUREntitle of Richard Weaver’s early conservativenbook): but in different ways.nSince 1960 an American meritocracynbegan to emerge, so that all kinds ofnPresidents became dependent, at leastnpartly, on academics who had crawlednand kicked and chewed their way tonthe top by means of publicity. Also,nthe significant event in Americannintellectual—or, rather, ideologicaln—history in the 1950’s was the emergencenof what goes under the name ofn”conservatism.” About this Pells writesnnothing. Yet, say what you will, and,nwhatever their stylistic and intellectualnmerits, since 1955 the influence ofnNational Review rose, while that ofnPartisan Review declined. I do notnberate Professor Pells for not writingnabout Bill Buckley—after all, that wasnnot his self-defined task—but there isnnot a word in this book about Weaver,nTate, Kirk, and Canon BernardnIddings (not Daniel) Bell, of the earlynand perhaps neo-classical conservatives.nPells’s book is about the world ofnNew York intellectuals. Yet he shouldnhave heeded Orwell who once wrotenthat intellectuals live in a world ofnideas and have little contact withnreality.nHe does not mention Edmund Wilson’snTo the Finland Station either,nwhereby hangs a tale—or, rather, thisnparagraph. For 30 years To the FinlandnStation was the biblical exegesis ofnAmerican intellectuals for the understandingnof Communism. Yet To thenFinland Station was hopelessly—andnI mean hopelessly—wrong. To understandnthe reality of the Soviet Union bynstringing an ideological disquisitionnthrough the writings of Michelet,nHegel, Marx, Plekhanov, etc., is likenwriting a history of the French Revolutionnby discussing Diderot, Voltaire,nRousseau and ending up with Mirabeau.nPells spends much time and enormousnrespect on the “seminal” booksnof Hannah Arendt, Richard Hofstadt-nnner, John Kenneth Galbraith. He doesnnot see their enormous shortcomings,neven now. These shortcomings werendue to the fact—and it is a fact—thatntheir authors were opportunistic andnephemeral. Their writings and theirnview of history were opportune, becausenthey projected the past and thenfuture from their view of the present,nfrom what then seemed to be going on.nHannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianismn(“a towering figure,” “thenpolitical masterpiece of the postwarnera”) was a typical example of that.nHaving — somewhat belatedly —nrecognized that Stalin’s regime wasntotalitarian and anti-Semitic, resemblingnin part (but only in part) Hitler’s,nshe sat down to write a book circa 1949nwith three theses: first, that anti-nSemitism is the inevitable ingredientnof every totalitarian regime (not true:nRobespierre? Lenin? Castro?); second,nthat a totalitarian regime inevitablynbecomes more and more totalitarian asntime goes on (not true: was Khrushchevnmore totalitarian than Stalin?);nthird, that a popular revolt against antotalitarian regime is impossible.n(Soon after the publication of her bookncame the East German and Polish andnHungarian revolts—with no effect onnher reputation, of course.)nAccording to Pells, Hofstadter’s ThenAge of Reform was another “masterpiece”;nit “remains a classic indictmentnof American liberalism.” Not at all:nHofstadter was a frightened Americannliberal professor. His book was hisnfrightened reaction to McCarthyism,nin which Hofstadter rightly recognizednelements of American populismn(something that had been recognizednby Canon Bell, Peter Viereck, andneven by this writer years before, but nonmatter). But Pells is quite wrong innwriting that Hofstadter’s book was annindictment of Populists and Progressives.nNo: The Age of Reform deals onlynwith the former, not the latter—thendifference between the two being thatnthe Populists became national socialists,nwhile the Progressives remainednwedded to an American version ofninternationalism, that is, to a form ofninternational socialism. Also, whilensome of the Populists became antiintellectual,nthe Progressives were proponentsnof intellectualism in everynway. Hofstadter, the author of Anti-nIntellectualism in American Lifen