VIEWSrnDwight Macdonaldrnby John LukacsrnARebel in Defense of Tradition is the title of MichaelrnWreszin’s 1994 biography of Dwight Macdonald (1906-rn1982). It is a very good title, by which I mean something morernthan a “handle”; it is a precise phrase, a summary properly affixedrnto the memory of an extraordinary man. The emphasis ofrnWreszin’s biography is on Maedonald’s politics: but that is irotrnwhat I wish now to emphasize. My wish is to draw attention tornthe unjustly forgotten and, yes, often unjustly obscured qualitiesrnof this American thinker.rnWe met in 1953, seven years after I had come to America.rnCommonweal had published a short essay of mine, dealing withrnliterary correspondence. Macdonald wrote a note to the editorsrnof Commonweal about something else and went on to say howrnmuch he liked my piece “above all.” I was elated, because 1rnhad read some of his writings by then and I was impressed withrntheir literary and moral—yes, moral —qualities. I called onrnhim in New York. He was living in Greenwich Village, towardrnthe end of his marriage with his attractive first wife, Nancy. Ourrnmeeting was not a success. He sat there nervously, moving hisrnlarge frame jerkily from one side to another, wagging his head,rnincluding that impressive forehead and head of hair and thernHenri-quatre goatee of his. This combination of the Highlandsrnand Greenwich Village, of a Scottish philosopher and TrotskyrnJohn Lukacs writes from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, and is thernauthor, most recently, o/”A Thread of Years (Yale UniversityrnPress).rnwas there, too, in his diction: his carefully chosen words werernpronounced in hfs high head) voice with occasional queer,rnlower-New York vowels and consonairts. That may havernbeen — I am not sure—an early habit that eventually had becomernhis accustomed self as in the case of George Orwellrn(with whom he had many things in common), his clothes, too,rnwere part and parcel of Dwight Maedonald’s wish to idenhfyrnhimself with the people—well, with a certain kind of people. Irnknew that he called himself—and in many ways he indeedrnwas—a freedom-loving anarchist; I tried to impress hiin withrnthe argument that a true conservative and a true anarchist havernmuch in common, because of their distrust of state power andrntheir dedication to liberty. He was iir one of his dour moods;rnour conversation did not go ver}’ far. Yet thereafter we becamernfriends, close friends for a quarter of a centurv’ at least.rnHe visited us two or three times each year, staying for a weekendrnor for a few days. He loved and esteemed my first wife Helenrnand my second wife Stephanie. He came down on a darkrnwinter afternoon, a month after Helen had died. As he walkedrnin the door he stopped in the hall: “This house is empty,” hernsaid. He loved children; he would talk to my children and teasernthem for hours.rnOur relationship had its ups and downs. The downs wererngrim, but they did not last. Occasionally our relationship sufferedrnbecause of his extraordinary thin-skinnedness. Once theirrncar broke down somewhere in Pennsylvania; he rang us up inrnthe middle of the night; I said that I would come and get himrn14/CHRONICLESrnrnrn