341 CHRONICLESnErasmus’ prestige could stop the Humanists’nlemming march to destruction.nInstead, however, of analyzing whatnwas wrong with the Humanists on thenbasis of their own ideals and those ofntheir contemporary critics, we are treatednto talk of the Establishment. The problemnwith conspiratorialists is not thatnthere are no conspiracies — there arenplenty of them—but the insistence thatnthere is only one conspiracy. What wasnthe Establishment in Renaissance Italy?nThere were many city states: thenChurch, itself no monolith; and theninfluence of other European empiresnand nations. What single Establishmentndid Erasmus serve? Is there only onenEstablishment in England or America,nor even in individual universities?nThe possibility of universal literacy liesnin our hands. Is it really worth graspingnat? The foundations of the liberal artsncurriculum were born in enthusiasm andnhigh hopes. To what extent has it outlivednits usefulness? What do we wantnfrom education, anyhow? Should it aimnHooked on Socialism by Paul Gottfriedn”In politics a community of hatred is almost alwaysnthe foundation of friendships.”n— TocquevillenOut of Step by Sidney Hook, NewnYork: Doubleday.nNorman Podhoretz, in the Marchn11, 1987, Washington Post, describesnSidney Hook as “one of the mostncourageous intellectuals of the twentiethncentury.” While this particular descriptionnmay more aptly be used for AleksandrnSolzhenitsyn and others who havenfought for human dignity in the face ofnbrutal oppression. Hook has been willingnto espouse unpopular causes. Though annarchetypal m.an of the left, he has beennsecond to none in decrying Communistntyranny. He is right to remind us thatnhe condemned Soviet imperialism whennthe isolationist right in America wasnmore concerned about imaginary Communistsnat home than real ones innSoviet uniforms.nAt age 85, Hook can look back on andistinguished career as an academic philosophernand controversialist. Born innNew York City to immigrant Jewishnparents. Hook spent most of his lifenexploring philosophic and existentialnquestions within 10 miles of his place ofnbirth: first, as a student at City College ofnNew York, caught between the redemptivenpromise of revolutionary MarxismnPaul Gottfried is a senior editor of ThenWorld & I and author of The Searchnfor Historical Meaning (NorthernnIllinois University Press).nand the dialectical sharpness of his philosophynprofessor Morris Raphael Cohen;nlater, as a graduate student of JohnnDewey at Columbia University, wherenhe slowly abandoned Marxist-Leninismnfor Dewey’s pragmatic method and socialndemocratic views; and finally, as anlongtime head of the philosophy departmentnat New York University. In ThenMeaning of Marx (1934), Hook demonstratednhis thorough grounding in Marx’snwritings and his interest in reconcilingnMarx’s understanding of history and annempirical, characteristically Deweyite approachnto learning.nAs Dewey’s pragmatism and the recognitionnof Soviet inhumanity came tondominate his thinking. Hook turned passionatelynagainst Communist dogmatismnand its implicit worship of history. In thenlate 50’s he was instrumental in organizingnthe Congress for Cultural Freedom,na group of mostly left-of-center intellectualsnwho tried to combat Communistnfellow travelers in the arts and universities.nIn his tract “Heresy, Yes, Conspiracy,nNo” (1953), Hook disputed thenclaim that Communists could be dispassionatenscholars and worthwhile membersnof the academic community. Inn”Academic Freedom and Academic Anarchy”n(1970), Hook took on the newnbreed of academic radicals of the 60’snand 70’s. In the name of academicnfreedom, such radicals, he insisted, werensubverting academic authority and deliberatelyninciting others to violence.nnnat universal but minimal competence,nthe production of an informed and committednelite, or the possibility of personalncreativity and fulfillment? Or should itnjust stop teenage girls from getting pregnant?nUntil we reach some consensus onnthese issues, discussions of education willnresemble these books, full of life andnexcitement, but still a confused babble,nin which we continue to ask, with Yeats,n”How can we tell the dancer from thendance?”nHook exposes others on the left whonhave refrained from criticizing the Soviets.nAnd he discredits Soviet apologistsnby revealing embarrassing things aboutntheir political stances. For example, LincolnnStefFens, who paid homage to then”Soviet experiment,” admired fascism asnwell as communism; it was only in speakingnabout societies that would havengranted him personal liberty that Steffensnlost his visionary enthusiasm. BertoltnBrecht, who in college German classes isnstill presented as an “anti-fascist author,”ncomes in for even more devastating comment.nAccording to Hook, who conversednwith him, Brecht not only knewnabout Stalin’s genocidal crimes but alsonendorsed them. Brecht let it be knownnthat Stalin had overcome bourgeois superstitionsnby killing the innocent. Hooknalso draws memorable portraits of NewnYork intellectuals, such as Philip Rahvnand other hopelessly hooked fellow travelers.nDeprived of their youthful faith inna Soviet paradise but still unreconciled tonAmerican middle-class values, these intellectualsnlooked desperately to the slogansnand gestures of the New Left tongive meaning to their protest. Often, asnin the case of Rahv, a Russian-Jewishnintellectual who wrote perceptively onnEuropean literature, the attempt tonbridge the generational gap producednludicrous fiasco. The older Marxists,nwho read books, took baths, and treatedntheir parents with respect, had little inncommon with the rising generation ofnradicals.nBecause of Hook’s admirable recordnas an anti-Communist and as a defendernof rational academic discourse, othernanti-Communists have shown reluctancen