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The Grand Idea, by Washington Post journalist Joel Achenbach, treats a little-studied episode in U.S. history with more than ordinary historical sensitivity for a non-professional historian. Unfortunately, despite the energy with which it’s written, the book fails to cohere because of shallow scholarship, lack of narrative focus, and an uneven tone. Call it a near miss by a good writer.
The book treats George Washington’s obsession with his beloved Potomac River, centering on his plans to turn the Potomac into a major artery from the Atlantic coast to the trans-Appalachian west. Most of Achenbach’s chronological narrative comes from the period of Washington’s life after the Revolution and before his ascension to the Presidency. Achenbach points out how the United States in many ways experienced a precarious existence when the Articles of Confederation prevailed. “The nation in 1784,” he writes, “was still something of an allegation, an assertion, a hypothesis, an aspiration written in the dirt of North America.” With turns of phrase like this, Achenbach reveals a keen historical instinct married to a flair with words.
His lively prose style and sharp historical sensibility are further evident in his treatment of Washington as a man with a mission. Achenbach gracefully faces down the challenge faced by any historian who tackles such a well-known subject: how do you say anything new about one of history’s most famous individuals? The answer, of course, is that you need not present new discoveries about the person; it can be enough to narrate what is already known in some new way. For the most part, Achenbach passes this test. He focuses the bulk of his book around the 1784 trip Washington took to explore the upper reaches of the Potomac watershed and his own landholdings across the Appalachians. Achenbach argues that “sometimes we understand a person best when we see what he does in his spare time, when he is not forced by necessity to dash off into battle or settle a political dispute.” Washington’s tour of the “hinterlands” offers a view of the great man’s mind and interests that historians obsessed with Washington the public figure have downplayed.
While this view is nothing new, it is presented well. In particular, Achenbach probes Washington’s great social reserve, his relentless focus on the future, and his carefully managed image. Here again Achenbach’s prose serves him well, as when he says of Washington that “his humility formed a thin crust on a deep lake of pride.” Other choice sentences are not hard to find: “Washington would be heading into his element as he reached the American backwoods, while Jefferson would take to Paris like a man slipping into a tailored jacket”; “[Washington] knew better than most people that the Potomac was many different rivers inhabiting the valley at different times of the year.”
But the author’s clever turns of phrase get him into trouble when they become glib. He describes Washington as “a details freak,” a locution that is sure to seem stale even ten years from now. Frontier law was “squishy.” The implications of a Potomac booster’s 1784 newspaper article were “mind-blowing stuff”; at one point, Washington is “back in the saddle again.” Worse than this flow of dated colloquialisms and clichés, though, is Achenbach’s tendency to carry a metaphor too far. An example of this problem comes when Achenbach discusses the impact of Washington’s retirement upon his carefully crafted reputation: “His return to private life had been so masterfully staged and so fundamentally astounding--with a single gesture he’d separated himself from every despot, every mandarin, ever Caesar in the history of the world--and he didn’t want to scramble the narrative. You could say his reputation was his palace, handcrafted over many years. He’d fired every brick, hammered every nail. He’d eyeballed every beam and joist to make sure they were on the level. It didn’t need any more work, this reputation. Didn’t need another wing.” The first sentence is terrific. The next two are fine, and so is “It didn’t need any more work . . .” But “He’d eyeballed every beam . . .” and “Didn’t need another wing” are exactly the sort of sentences that should be left on the cutting-room floor. Examples like this suggest that Achenbach lacks the perfect pitch of a John McPhee, and that the book was not edited stringently enough to bring his fluency under control.
Despite Achenbach’s narrative flair, his focus eventually blurs. Washington dies with ninety pages left to go, and the subsequent five chapters about the Potomac take a long route to tell a short tale about how Potomac navigation was outstripped by the Erie Canal and the railroads. As I’ve already suggested, Achenbach makes good observations about Washington and about the Potomac, but the focus of the book should have been more on one or the other. At the very least, the long post-Washington section could have been reduced to a single chapter.
The Grand Idea might have been much stronger at 150 pages or less--around the length of terrific McPhee books like Oranges or The Survival of the Bark Canoe. Such an approach might have kept Achenbach from stretching out his tale, allowing him to frame it as a work of literary nonfiction on a historical subject. It is no shame that The Grand Idea relies so much on secondary scholarship, especially since Achenbach is uniformly generous in acknowledging as much (for example, he credits prior researchers with “heroic work in trying to untangle the legal knots around [Washington’s] Millers Run property”), and since he also works extensively from Washington’s published papers. But the work is not the fruit of deep archival research, and it offers no penetrating scholarly interpretations. To cast the book as a short work of literary nonfiction would have put the spotlight on Achenbach’s writing flair and sound historical sense. To cast it as a full-length narrative history saddles it with the burden of presenting the history of Washington in a new light--which this book does not.
The Grand Idea is thus a frustrating book because, for all its faults, it makes clear how good a writer Joel Achenbach is and how much good sense he has about matters historical. We can hope that his next project is better edited and thus better captures his own abilities as an explainer of the past.
Just over a century ago in 1899, as the American people debated what to do with the newly acquired Philippine Islands, the British poet Rudyard Kipling urged them to “Take up the White Man’s burden,” and shoulder the responsibilities of imperial power. Now another British subject, Niall Ferguson urges Americans to embrace the imperial role as Britain once did. Although Ferguson believes that the world would benefit from the forthright exercise of an American imperium, as he explains in Colossus: The Price of America’s Empire, he doubts that Americans will rise to the task.
Unlike so many critics who, schooled in the works of Lenin and Hobson, denounce what they regard as an American empire, Ferguson thinks that’s just what the world needs. He explains that the nation-state, with its emphasis on ethnic self-determination, is a relatively recent development whereas, empire has been commonplace throughout human history. Not only have most human beings lived under the sway of empire, but the latter has often advanced human society. Given the threat to civilization posed by rogue states armed with nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, and the wreckage of states which failed during the half century since the demise of Europe’s imperial power, Ferguson argues that the establishment of a “liberal empire,” not unlike that of Britain in the nineteenth century, would benefit mankind. Such an empire he says would produce substantial “public goods,” many of which are in critically short supply in various parts of the “third world.” These range from the establishment and honest administration of law and order to the provision of capital and the construction of infrastructure. Such goods, which were once produced by the British Empire, are of greater value to the “new-caught, sullen peoples” than to the citizens of the imperial state itself, but nevertheless, all stand to benefit when order is imposed on the tribal chaos so prevalent throughout much of the world. The sort of economic development that has bypassed much of the “third world” in the decades since de-colonization, can only take place within the context of an orderly society governed by the rule of law. The United Nations is clearly not capable of providing such order. Accordingly, Ferguson believes that the United States is the only state capable of serving this historic function, but he fears that Americans will shirk their responsibility.
The United States today is an empire. Of this neither Ferguson nor most European and other foreign observers have any doubt. Indeed, many angrily denounce American imperialism. The very words imperialism and empire have become epithets, weapons hurled in an ideological battle that continues fifteen years after the war was won. Yet most Americans deny that they have any imperial ambitions or that their power makes the United States an empire. In short, Americans do not even recognize that they have an empire. The United States says Ferguson, is “an empire in denial.” This is not new. Even as Americans were vigorously expanding across a broad expanse of the North American continent and proclaiming that it was their “Manifest Destiny” to do so, they announced that they were bringing not dominion but liberty to a thinly inhabited land which God had prepared for them. In 1898 when they went to war against Spain, it was not in order to seize territory—the Teller Amendment specifically renounced any intention to annex Cuba—but to liberate the Cuban people from the clutches of the brutal Spaniards. It had been a war against Spanish imperialism. It had been an anti-imperial war. Yet the great irony was that the war presented imperial opportunities which Americans seized under the leadership of a reluctant William McKinley and an enthusiastic Theodore Roosevelt. It is this imperial denial that Ferguson believes Americans must reject once and for all before they can take up the burden Kipling commended to them a century ago.
Defeating the Spanish armed forces in 1898 was easy, much like defeating the army of Iraq was easy in 2003, but in the aftermath of victory Americans in the Philippines faced an insurgency in some respects like that which they face in Iraq today. The Philippine insurrection then, like the Iraqi resistance today, intensified the domestic debate precipitated by the conflict, and undermined the willingness of Americans to wage “the savage wars of peace.” It was in the context of the debate about the fate of the Philippines that an anti-imperial faction, represented by such luminaries as William Jennings Bryan and Mark Twain, made its appearance. While the anti-imperialists did not win the battle of the Philippines, it may be argued that they won the war. By 1906, even such a confident imperialist as Theodore Roosevelt had been so chastened by the Philippine resistance that he no longer believed that the United States could run “thickly peopled tropical regions” like Cuba. As early as 1916 Congress passed the Jones Act which confirmed that the United States would grant independence to the Philippines “as soon as stable government can be established.” When TR was presented with the opportunity to take the Dominican Republic, Ferguson quotes him as saying, “I have about the same desire to annex it as a gorged boa-constrictor might have to swallow a porcupine wrong-end-to.” Most Americans today probably feel the same way about annexing Iraq as that boa-constrictor felt about the porcupine.
To Ferguson, this is the heart of the problem. When Americans say that they intend to stay in Iraq only as long as necessary to restore order “and not a day more,” they mean it. But Ferguson believes that centuries of “heathen folly” as Kipling put it, cannot be reversed in a few months or even years. Americans are not needed for weeks or months, they are needed for decades. When the British arrived in India or Mesopotamia, they intended to stay. Young British graduates of Oxford and Cambridge left England a century ago for the colonies imbued with an imperial ethos that prepared them to spend decades in the sun-baked outlands of Africa and India to “Fill full the mouth of Famine, And bid the sickness cease.” They wanted no more reward than to add the letters CBE (Companion of the British Empire) to their names. Their American counterparts today, Ferguson laments, seek only the letters CEO. They do not have the imperial cast of mind.
In 1987 Paul Kennedy argued in his popular work, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, that expenditures for American military commitments abroad had brought the U.S. to the point of “imperial overstretch,” a condition which had led to the collapse of previous empires. Under the circumstances Kennedy contended that the United States could not maintain its position as the world’s leading superpower. But Ferguson demolishes that argument, demonstrating persuasively that “Like Britain’s liberal empire a century ago, America’s nascent liberal empire is surprisingly inexpensive to run.” He explains that American gross domestic product has grown from 10 percent of the world’s output in 1980 to over 30 percent today. Meanwhile, American defense expenditures have declined from roughly 10 percent of GDP in the 1950s to less than 4 percent today. In other words, the United States can easily afford the military expenditures necessary to police an American empire. Imperial overstretch caused by military spending is simply not a problem.
Ferguson does however see one overwhelming financial problem that afflicts the empire. That problem is debt, in particular the vast current accounts deficit that the nation runs with its trading partners. As of September 2003, foreign investors held approximately 46 percent of U.S. Treasury obligations. “These are,” as Ferguson writes, “extraordinary levels of external indebtedness, more commonly associated with emerging markets than empires.” So what kind of an empire depends for its solvency upon the Chinese central bank? The answer he says, is an empire of debt.
This is a balanced and nuanced work in which Ferguson compares the American empire with the last great Anglophone empire, and assesses its prospects. His comparisons are thoughtful and illuminating, his judgments reasonable if not always persuasive. The fundamental contradiction at the heart of his analysis is this. He insists that the United States is an empire, but then demonstrates that it has produced few if any imperialists. This leads one to wonder how there can be an empire without imperialists. But this of course is his lament. The United States needs to produce more imperialists lest it becomes “the most ephemeral empire in history.”
Ferguson’s thorough familiarity with matters of macroeconomics and international finance lend a dimension to the comparative analysis of international and imperial affairs which is often missing in lesser works. Indeed, Ferguson’s comparative review of the economic elements of empire constitutes the most stimulating part of this important book. Those who are familiar with his other work would expect nothing less.
Mark Lombardi's art consists of colossal drawings of networks of power, connecting politicians, capitalists, and corporations into intricate maps, like medieval cosmology or kabbalah diagrams, whose huge arcs and circles linking the small handwritten names are as visually beautiful as they are politically daunting. His most famous work was about the BCCI (Bank of Credit and Commerce International, also known as the Bank of Crooks and Criminals) banking scandal. It linked up the Bin Laden and Bush families long before Fahrenheit 9/11, even before the 2000 election and Bush's illegitimate apotheosis as president.
New York critic Frances Richard wrote of this work:
"Lombardi's drawings -- which map in elegantly visual terms the secret deals and suspect associations of financiers, politicians, corporations, and governments -- dictate that the more densely lines ray out from a given node, the more deeply that figure is embroiled in the tale Lombardi tells…. The drawing is done on pale beige paper, in pencil. It follows a time-line, with dates arrayed across three horizontal tiers. These in turn support arcs denoting personal and corporate alliances, the whole comprising a skeletal resume of George W. Bush's career in the oil business. In other words, the drawing, like all Lombardi's work, is a post-Conceptual reinvention of history painting…."
After September 11, 2001, the FBI visited the Whitney Museum to examine his drawings for clues they might yield about the conspiracy that gave rise to the catastrophe.
Lombardi committed suicide in March of 2000, for complex reasons, but it's easy to imagine him as a character in a Jorge Luis Borges story dying of Borgesian reasons. For his drawings recall Borges's library of Babel, his Garden of Forking Paths, the Zohar, Zeno's paradox or the aphorism by Pascal Borges loved,"The universe is a sphere whose center is everywhere and circumference is nowhere." Borges's parables and stories are attempts to grasp the infinite complexity of the world, and his version of Lombardi would have died of despair of ever approximating the reach and intricacy of these networks.
Lombardi's work is often regarded as evidence of sinister conspiracies by people who assume that"they" are thus linked up but"we" are not. We are, actually, at least when we try to achieve anything political. Politics is networks, rhizomes, roots, webs, to use a few of the popular metaphors from the increasingly popular studies of complexity. A more cheerful Lombardi might have charted the links that connect Naomi Klein, the Argentina Horizontalidad populist movements against neoliberalism, the Zapatistas, the Yucatan campesinos who opposed the WTO in Cancun in 2003, the internationalistas who joined them, the US campus-based anti-sweatshop movement, the Sierra Club, Arundhati Roy, anti-Monsanto agriculturalists in India and Europe, on to Nigerian activists now shutting the operations of Chevron (based in San Francisco) and San Francisco activists against Bechtel Corporation (also based here), which links us back to Bolivian activists who beat Bechtel a few years ago. (Thanks to the Internet, speaking of networks, the global justice movement has been able to link causes and confrontations into an unprecedented meta-community able to act in concert internationally.)
In fact, right-wing think-tanks are probably lining up these affiliations and solidarities right now and portraying them as a conspiracy, as they have before. That's the rule of thumb: When we talk, it's a network; when they talk, it's a conspiracy. The sinister thing about Lombardi's BCCI drawing isn't that all these people, banks, and governments are linked up, but that they're linked up to screw you, me, and the world. That is to say, it's complexity that makes the drawing itself overwhelming, but intent that makes the denizens of the drawing scary.
Awakenings and Coincidences
One can imagine the characters of Adam Hochschild's wonderful new history, Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves, as drawn by Lombardi, such is the complexity of the network Hochschild depicts while tracing the British antislavery movement from Quakers in London to slave rebellions in the Caribbean, from the 1780s when the movement began to the final, long-delayed abolition of slavery in the British Empire on August 1, 1838. The book is both a gripping history of a particular movement and a beautiful embodiment of the erratic, unlikely ways movements unfold -- an unfolding that consists of multiple kinds of linkages. If Lombardi's is post-conceptualist history painting, Hochschild's book is likewise a kind of post-Great Man history writing, one with crowds, coincidences, and ocean currents looming up behind the key activists he delineates so beautifully.
One kind of linkage is coincidence. Another is friendship and the affinities of interests and emotions upon which friendships are based. Bury the Chains begins, in fact, with two remarkable series of coincidences that deliver up as their results two of the principal activists against slavery. Granville Sharp was the youngest of eight siblings who played music together and shared an evangelical piety. King George III thought he had the best voice in England. His brother, William Sharp, the king's physician, provided free medical care to the London poor. Jonathan Strong, a slave whose owner had pistol-whipped him viciously about the head and then threw him out on the street to die, came for treatment. Granville happened to be visiting that morning, and the brothers got Strong into a hospital; then, after his months of convalescence, they found him a job with a pharmacist. One day his owner encountered on the streets of London his former property healthy and fit, seized Strong, and sold him to a Jamaican plantation owner, arranging for him to be jailed until he could be shipped to the West Indies. The Sharp brothers intervened and managed to free him."With this case," writes Hochschild,"the thirty-two-year-old Granville Sharp became by default the leading defender of blacks in London, and indeed one of the few people in all of England to speak out against slavery. And speak he would, vehemently, for nearly half a century. The fight against slavery quickly became his dominating passion."
Only one coincidence, the meeting with Strong, made Sharp an activist. But the string of events that brought the most pivotal activist into being was far stranger and more Lombardian. An antislavery activist, Olaudah Equiano, a former slave from what is now Nigeria via Barbados and Virginia whose autobiography later had a huge impact on the movement, saw a letter in the Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser on March 18, 1783. The letter recounted a case involving the British slave ship Zong. Equiano called on Sharp, and Sharp made the case a minor cause célèbre. It was an insurance case, on the face of it. The insurers challenged the claim of the Zong's captain that he had ordered 133 African captives thrown overboard alive in the mid-Atlantic because the ship's drinking water was running out. Jettisoning slaves insured as cargo would have led to compensation under those circumstances.
Human rights were never a consideration in the case. But the chief mate, afflicted with pangs of conscience, testified that there had been plenty of water. The murders took place to collect insurance on slaves who were sick and dying and therefore would not, on reaching land, become marketable commodities. The court found in favor of the captain and the ship's investors. Sharp then wrote indignant letters to several prominent clergymen, who mentioned the case in their sermons and writings.
The case of the Zong was far from over, and as the concerns it raised migrated onward through England, linkages began to build that would spark a potent anti-slavery movement. One Church of England clergyman who took up the case was Dr. Peter Peckard, who soon after became Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University. When it was his turn to set the subject for the school's prestigious annual Latin composition prize, he chose Anne liceat invitos in servitutem dare? --"Is it lawful to make slaves of others against their will?" It was by no means a particularly likely choice. The Church of England's Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, governed in part by divinity professors from Oxford and Cambridge, derived significant revenues from Codrington, one of the biggest Barbados plantations. The place relied on branding, whipping, murdering, and constant terror to keep up the labor that worked the slaves to death. Slavery was outside the moral universe that even those propagating the gospel concerned themselves with, as Hochschild points out; the former slaver who wrote"Amazing Grace" worried about all sorts of minor sins long before he noticed that slavery might be a problem.
A scholarship student, Thomas Clarkson, won the 1785 Cambridge Latin Prize after devoting two months to researching and writing about slavery. But the winning mattered little, except that it drew attention to the essay and its writer, who would publish it in English as an antislavery tract. The publisher Clarkson found was a Quaker who introduced him to the few others, also Quakers, who not only believed slavery should be abolished but were willing to work for the great unlikelihood that someday it might be.
This chain of encounters and awakenings steered Clarkson away from a religious career into a passionate championing of the rights and humanity of the slaves in the British Empire. He quickly became the most effective activist the movement would have, one who gave the rest of his life -- nearly half a century -- over to the cause. Writing, investigating, talking, riding tens of thousands miles on horseback, he recruited, inspired, and connected the recruited and inspired into a movement. The Quakers who had organized a little earlier to abolish slavery had long needed a mainstream Anglican champion. In Clarkson they found a superb one, in close sympathy with them; he was by the end a Quaker in all but name.
Making a Movement
Some activists are born into their disposition and vocation, but many of the most passionate lead ordinary lives until some injustice or atrocity strikes them like lightning and they are reborn dedicated. Clarkson was such an activist, and he even had a transformative moment like Saint Paul on his way to Damascus: riding to London, he got off his horse and sat down"disconsolate on the turf by the roadside and held my horse. Here a thought came into my mind, that if the contents of the Essay were true, it was time some person should see these calamities to their end."
With luck and dedication, he became that person. His movements and contacts among slave-ship doctors as well as theologians, Liverpool as well as London, amount themselves to a network whose complexity is comparable to some of Lombardi's diagrams. Like most high-profile activists, he had a committee behind him -- nine Quakers, Granville Sharp, and another Anglican -- who with him founded what was almost unprecedented then and common now, a nongovernmental organization, or as the shorthand for them goes, an NGO. (He also circulated the famous diagram of slaves packed into the hull of a ship that his Quaker colleagues published as a poster -- a diagram still widely known and one of the great visual icons of inhumanity of all times.)
At various moments during the antislavery campaigns, there were widespread petitions to Parliament at a time when"petitioning" was one of the few rights available to ordinary citizens, sugar boycotts, since sugar was the principal West Indies slave product; local antislavery groups and sympathetic Parliamentarians; all the accoutrements, as Hochschild points out, of later human rights movements. The main sympathetic Parliamentarian was the wealthy, pious William Wilberforce, who opposed labor organizing and other extensions of rights and powers to the underclasses, but devoutly opposed slavery. (In the interim, he argued that whipping should not be abolished, but done only at night: some compromise is strategic, but some -- like the Democrats looking for a nicer version of the war -- is moral compromise.) Timid and conventional, he made an odd pairing with the radical, far-ranging Clarkson, but they remained friends for life.
Compromise ran all through this movement, or rather some of its members, while others were ardent revolutionists eager to see all the rights of man -- and when women took over leadership in the 1820s, of women -- granted. In this movement and any other, the utility of compromise is an arguable point (or one can argue instead for a kind of symbiosis of unbending activists and back-room-dealing ones, whereby the revolutionists extend the argument and make the reformers look reasonable -- which is how the Sierra Club often looks at groups like Earth First! -- and in due time, even revolutionists come to look reasonable, as did abolitionists once they had won).
For example, the movement long campaigned against the slave trade rather than the existence of slavery itself in the British Empire, on the grounds that it was a more winnable battle -- and it was. (British sugar plantations were so energetically murderous that they required constant replenishment of the slave population from Africa, which is why it looked as though British slavery, unlike slavery in the United States, could be undone simply by closing down the maritime trade in human beings -- i.e., the supply of fresh slaves.) The slave-trade struggle was won in 1807, while the abolition of slavery took more than another quarter century and even then limped forward with a six-year interim period when the slaves' labor was somehow to further compensate their masters, who had already been compensated in cash for loss of ownership of their fellow human beings. The most radical antislavery activist, Elizabeth Heyrick, had long before suggested that it was the slaves who were due compensation for their lives and labor. Still, the antislavery movement kept its eyes on the prize, clear that it was more important to free the slaves by any means necessary than to punish slavery's perpetrators.
Clarkson and his colleagues built a network consciously and conscientiously, recognizing that in doing so they were laying the foundations for the undoing of slavery. It stretched from the vast numbers of ordinary citizens who signed petitions and followed boycotts to the sympathetic witnesses who brought information back from Africa for what were, in essence, the first official human rights hearings in history, to the slaves themselves who turned up in London to testify or rose up in the Caribbean. (One of the things that distinguished the British abolition movement from the American was the fierce, effective slave revolts that terrified slaveholders and played a role on the road to abolition.) More fortuitous, or fortunate, or mysterious is the string of coincidences that brought the Zong to trial, the trial to Equiano's attention, Equiano into friendship with Sharp, Sharp to write to Peckard, Peckard to set the Latin prize topic as slavery, and Clarkson to be as inspired in his Latin as passionate in his conscience. It's one of those for-want-of-a-nail conundrums: how would it have come about had any element been absent?
Friendships and Atmospheres
Clarkson shows up on the periphery of other histories and other networks. In the 1790s, he moved to England's Lake District and became close friends with a poet who had also written a gold-medal-winning composition on slavery at Cambridge, this time an ode in Greek in 1792: the Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Clarkson's wife became Dorothy Wordsworth's close friend and key correspondent, and with this leap from the advancement of human rights to the advancement of British poetry, Hochschild bumps into a dizzyingly broad network of radical ideas stretching from the French Revolution to the vast slave revolution against the French in Haiti.
At that moment, some sense of what it means to be human was shifting, and the antislavery movement was part of that shift, as was the Romantic movement, with its cultivation of introspective awareness and its enthusiasm for liberation and revolution. Clarkson turns up briefly in Jonathan Holmes's Coleridge biography as someone who supported him in the depths of his opium addiction, while Wilberforce was close friends with Wordsworth's kindest uncle. Wordsworth himself wrote a sonnet to Toussaint l'Ouverture, who led the Haitian slave uprising, and William Blake and J. M. W. Turner both addressed slavery in their visual art (the moral if not the aesthetic ancestors of Lombardi). Others, such as the Wedgwood family, link the antislavery and poetry movements while branching into the sciences, the invention of photography, and beyond.
Hochschild's account of all this is certainly testimony to the smallness of Britain's intelligentsia then, but also to the largeness of ideas about human freedom that were moving through and then beyond these networks, the ideas and passions that constitute the atmosphere of an age. Of all the networks he deals with, this one made up of ideas and ethical stirrings is the most important and the most nebulous. The changed spirit and beliefs that link these people in the first place are explicable up to a point and then ultimately mysterious. Why is it that suddenly slavery, which had existed in one form or another throughout history, becomes urgently intolerable not only to the slaves but to privileged people an ocean away from most of the suffering in Africa and the Americas? What had made the Zong's first mate testify against his captain about the murder of those slaves? What made a Cambridge student abandon his career in the church and give his life over to a cause? What made tens or hundreds of thousands of anonymous Britons give up sugar, take up letter-writing and committee-meeting? The networks can be traced, but the stirrings remain mysterious.
Without popular opinion at least periodically rising to meet them, Clarkson and the Quakers would have just been eccentrics and historical footnotes, the rebellious slaves a sad side-story, rather than begetters of a new era. Bury the Chains quotes Wilberforce as writing in his diary"How popular Abolition is, just now! God can turn the hearts of men." But it's clear that it was other men and women, uprisings and revolts, books and pamphlets that did the turning, that the change was mysterious, magnetic or catalytic, but far from divine.
In both Britain and the United States, women who became involved in the antislavery movement began to question the enslavement of their gender, and so goes another long trajectory of links and steps in the expansive history of human rights these last two centuries. I have been reading another book lately, still in manuscript, my friend Susan Schwarzenberg's Becoming Citizens: Family Life and the Politics of Disability. The book traces a group of Seattle-era mothers from the birth of their mentally disabled children to the discovery that their children were denied access to public education to those mothers' engenderment of an educational rights movement. That movement, with interim victories in Washington State, culminated in the 1975 IDEA -- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act -- some decades after these women decided to change the world to make room in it for children like theirs, not quite two centuries after those nine Quakers and Clarkson met to launch a human-rights movement. The two stories are akin, with initial private moments of realization, the interim building of public associations and communities, and eventually the overhauling of society. Bury the Chains is a kind of template for how the world gets changed, sometimes, for the better. Hochschild's book, like his King Leopold's Ghost before it, often reads like an exciting novel, as one character chases another, or an idea, or a ballot issue across the years. But it pauses periodically to take in the larger landscape of change, and its original subtitle was The First International Human Rights Movement.
The book begins with a kind of trumpet cry:"To understand how momentous was this beginning, we must picture a world in which the vast majority of people are prisoners. Most of them have known no other way of life. They are not free to live or go where they want…. They die young. They are not chained or bound most of the time, but they are in bondage, part of a global economy based on forced labor. Such a world would, of course, be unthinkable today. But that was the world -- our world -- just two centuries ago, and to most people then, it was unthinkable that it could ever be otherwise. At the end of the eighteenth century, well over three quarters of all people alive were in bondage of one kind or another, not the captivity of striped prison uniforms, but of various systems of slavery or serfdom."
Midway through his story, he halts the narrative to cast about for a reason why the British should have been so much more ready than, say, the French to oppose literal slavery. Here, Hochschild lands upon the essential enslavement of sailors in both the British Navy and its merchant marine, with their press gangs, beatings, kidnappings, horrific conditions and high mortality, which kept the empire whole and the slave trade going. But why should empathy have been extended from sailors to slaves? The answer would make this into another, more speculative book.
The book that Hochschild gives us is valuable instead for its magnificent portrait of how activism works -- by coincidences, friendships, patience, and stubbornness, by carefully built networks and belief systems that change slowly or suddenly like climate or the weather. There is the protracted timeline of change: a preliminary state in which almost no one cares about slaves; another moment when it seems like everyone in England does; moments during the Napoleonic wars when it seems like everyone except a few diehards is too frightened -- by their own government more than threats from abroad -- to say anything about slavery at all; then decades more to go until a final victory. There are interim victories. There are moments of despair. Most of all there are people giving over their lives to a battle that turns out to take more than a lifetime for most of them. And then there are the arguments over how the history will be written -- Wilberforce's sons tried to write Clarkson out of it, and succeeded until 1989, when biographer Ellen Gibson Wilson revived his stature as the pivotal figure in the antislavery movement.
You can think of the nuclear freeze movement, which in 1982 had a million proponents gathered on its behalf in New York's Central Park, though few of those stuck with it long enough to realize the"peace dividend" that the collapse of the Soviet Empire was supposed to spawn, or to push further the opportunities for disarmament that arose. The current bout of nuclear proliferation can be blamed in part on Bush, but it is due as well to those who expected a three-year struggle rather than a sixty-year one; any eventual victories will be due in large part to the dedicated minority who have not been realistic, not gone home, not succeeded yet -- but might. Or think of the anti-apartheid movement, which like the anti-slavery movement two centuries before combined the nonviolent and the violent, governmental and citizen action, domestic and foreign action, boycotts and educational campaigns to dismantle, piece by piece, slowly, with setbacks, a racist regime (but which, with the moderation that made victory possible, though far less of a victory, never dismantled the extreme financial injustices some call economic apartheid). That story, however, is still unfinished. So, for the record, is the global history of slavery. And what was once the British and Foreign Antislavery Society, founded in 1839 to continue the good work after the signal victory of the year before, is still active as Antislavery International, based in Thomas Clarkson House in London.
This article first appeared on www.tomdispatch.com, a weblog of the Nation Institute, which offers a steady flow of alternate sources, news and opinion from Tom Engelhardt, a long time editor in publishing, the author of The End of Victory Culture, and a fellow of the Nation Institute.
Few Americans know anything about the saga of the Bonus Army, WWI veterans who sought payment for their military service and were repeatedly and shamefully turned down until 1945. Nofziger, a WWII veteran and former advisor to President Ronald Reagan, praises this book as “thoroughly researched and eminently readable…a fine job.”
In the summer of 1932, with the Great Depression on, black and white veterans, writes Nofzifger, “to the consternation of Southern segregationists and the astonishment of the generals and admirals” came together in peace to Washington, DC. to demand a bonus for their military service. Nofziger says that he learned that some one million black men served during the war but because of racial segregation, “those who fought were not allowed to fight under the American flag so they fought under the French flag.”
The Bonus Army, continues Nofziger, “dispels the popular canard that the bonus army was led by communists and was a tool of the Communist Party.” In fact, “the villains” were President Herbert Hoover and General Douglas MacArthur. Acting under orders of the President to throw them out of Washington, MacArthur’s troops (“he led from the rear”), cavalry and infantry, attacked the unarmed and peaceful veterans and razed their shantytowns—which they had named Hoovervilles.
The WWII GI Bill was generous and wise and helped educate an entire generation. Today, the struggle is to insure that veterans receive all the benefits to which their service has entitled them. Government officials and politicians who never served on active military duty might benefit from reading The Bonus Army.
Washington Times, February 6, 2005
Although most people would prefer to forget it, ever since the atomic bombing of Japanese cities in August 1945 the world has lived on the brink of nuclear annihilation. And no individual played a more important role in fostering the nuclear arms race and its terrible dangers than Edward Teller, a Hungarian emigre physicist.
In Edward Teller: The Real Dr. Strangelove, Peter Goodchild--an award-winning television producer for the BBC and the author of a biography of Robert Oppenheimer--provides a detailed, informative biography of Teller. Drawing upon interviews he conducted, manuscript materials, and secondary sources, Goodchild sketches a revealing portrait of this gifted and extraordinarily influential figure.
Although Teller was born into a relatively privileged, comfortable, Jewish professional family in Budapest, he underwent an unhappy childhood. His mother was often worried and over-protective and, thus, he grew up a very serious child, frightened of everyday situations. Indeed, Teller himself recalled that "the consistency of numbers" was "the first memory I have of feeling secure." And there was much to feel insecure about. Within short order, the Teller family life in Budapest was disrupted by World War I, a postwar Communist revolution, and a tide of post-Communist anti-Semitism. Though he was unusually bright, Teller recalled that, at school, he had no friends among his classmates, was ridiculed by some of his teachers, and "was practically a social outcast." Not surprisingly, he "reached adolescence still a serious child with no sense of humor."
As Teller moved on to Germany to attend university classes and do physics research, his social acceptance and social skills improved markedly. Thrown together with other brilliant scientists, many of them as maladjusted as he was, Teller developed genuine warmth, humor, and charm. Nevertheless, his childhood difficulties deeply marked his subsequent career. Goodchild argues, convincingly, that Teller's "thirst for acceptance--with the hurt and anger he felt when it was denied"--became "a defining feature" of his life.
With the Nazi rise to power, Teller left Germany for Britain and, soon, for the United States, where he settled comfortably into an academic career. In 1939, along with two other Hungarian emigre physicists, Leo Szilard and Eugene Wigner, he met with Albert Einstein and helped convince him to warn President Franklin Roosevelt that the German government might be developing an atomic bomb. This proved to be the beginning of the Manhattan Project, the secret wartime atomic bomb program. Teller worked on the project, which drew together many of the scientists who, in later years, would clash over nuclear weapons policy. Expecting to be appointed head of the theoretical division at Los Alamos, Teller was bitterly disappointed when he did not get the post.
He was also chagrined when his plans for work on the "Super"H-bomb were disrupted. For these setbacks, he blamed the director of the Los Alamos lab, Robert Oppenheimer, a physicist whose influence, popularity, and cliquish behavior he began to resent. When Szilard asked Teller to circulate a petition at Los Alamos urging that the bomb not be used against Japan, Teller was ready to do it, but was dissuaded by Oppenheimer. Indeed, Teller reported back to Szilard that, in light of the need to convince the public that "the next war could be fatal," the "actual combat use" of the weapon "might even be the best thing." It was the first sign of his hawkishness and, also, of a complex relationship with Oppenheimer, that characterized his life in the following decades.
With the end of the war, Teller --deeply pessimistic about postwar relations with the Soviet Union-- pressed scientists to continue their nuclear weapons work. Initially, to be sure, he supported nuclear arms control and disarmament measures like the ill-fated Acheson-Lilienthal Plan. But, increasingly, he championed the development of the H-bomb-- a project in which he hoped to play a leading role. As Goodchild shows, by developing the H-bomb, Teller was responding both to his fear that the Soviet Union might conquer the world and to his jealousy of Oppenheimer, then widely lauded as the "father of the atomic bomb."
The two issues, reflecting his anxiety and his ambition, soon became intertwined, for Oppenheimer and his circle proved to be major obstacles to getting the U.S. government to move forward with the H-bomb project. Gradually, however, Teller won the struggle. Particularly after the first Soviet nuclear test in the fall of 1949, powerful political figures, including President Harry Truman, lined up on the side of constructing an H-bomb. All Teller had to do was to figure out how to build it. Ironically, despite his vigorous weapons work at the Livermore laboratory, it was a problem that confounded him for years. Furthermore, the mathematician Stan Ulam may have been responsible for the necessary conceptual breakthrough. Nevertheless, Teller received the lion's share of the credit and, ultimately, became known as "the father of the H-bomb"--- a weapon a thousand times as powerful as the bomb that obliterated Hiroshima.
Nor was the creation of the H-bomb Teller's only victory over his putative enemies. In 1954, he teamed up with other foes of Oppenheimer (and of nuclear arms controls) to destroy his rival's career and influence. Oppenheimer had applied to the Atomic Energy Commission to reinstate his security clearance, and this triggered a dramatic, highly-publicized loyalty-security hearing. Although Teller's friends urged him not to testify, he rejected their advice. Thus, during the hearing, he asserted that, based on Oppenheimer's actions since 1945, he thought it vital for national security to deny clearance to him. This also turned out to be the decision of the board, which cut off Oppenheimer from government programs he had once directed and terminated his lingering influence upon them.
For Teller, it proved to be a pyrrhic victory. When the AEC surprised him by publishing the transcript of the loyalty-security hearing, many of Teller's scientific colleagues --shocked by what they considered his betrayal of human decency--cut him off as well. Teller was devastated by their response. As he recalled: "If a person leaves his country, leaves his continent, leaves his relatives, leaves his friends, the only people he knows are his professional colleagues. If more than ninety per cent of them come around to consider him an enemy, an outcast, it is bound to have an effect. The truth is it had a profound effect."
Teller, however, proceeded to make new friends, particularly within the ranks of the military-industrial complex, who appreciated the positions he had taken and recognized his utility as a champion of new nuclear weapons programs. And he proved to be a good investment. Urging Congress and the president to spurn the idea of a nuclear test ban treaty, Teller argued that "it would be a crime against the people" to stop nuclear testing when he and other weapons scientists stood on the brink of developing a "clean" bomb. "Peaceful nuclear explosions," he told President Dwight Eisenhower, could be used to uncover deposits of oil, alter the course of rivers, and "perhaps even modify the weather." Eisenhower was greatly impressed, and suggested that it might be a good idea to share the" clean" bombs with the Russians, an idea that Teller, naturally, resisted. Under Teller's direction, his colleagues at Livermore devised ever wilder schemes to prove that nuclear testing could be hidden and, therefore, a test ban was not possible. These included exploding weapons in deep caves, building a gargantuan shield to hide x-rays from earthbound observers, and planning nuclear tests on the far side of the moon. Although much of the public was growing concerned about the nuclear fallout from testing, Teller assured Americans that fallout was "not worth worrying about." Nuclear test radiation "need not necessarily be harmful," he declared, and "may conceivably be helpful."
One of the zanier ventures promoted by Teller involved the use of H-bombs to blast out a deep-water harbor in northern Alaska. In the late 1950s, the influential physicist encouraged activities that included using nuclear explosives to create diamonds, to mine oil, and with the assistance of 26 nuclear devices to carve out a new canal adjacent to the Panama Canal. He even opined that it would be hard to "resist the temptation to shoot at the moon. . . to observe what kind of disturbance it might cause." Eventually, these grandiose ideas took shape in Project Plowshare.
To implement its first component, Project Chariot, Teller flew off to Alaska to propose exciting possibilities that included using nuclear explosions to construct dams, lakes, and canals. Ultimately, Teller narrowed down the Alaskan venture to using nuclear weapons to blast out a giant harbor near Cape Thompson. Although commercial interests in Alaska liked the idea, local scientists were critical and the local Inuit people --32 miles from the site of the planned nuclear explosions -- were not at all eager to have their community turned into a nuclear wasteland. Responding to the surge of protest against Project Chariot, the Kennedy administration scrapped it. Goodchild reveals, however, that these apparently irrational schemes had a hidden logic, for "Chariot was intended as a cover for military activities." Faced with the prospect of a nuclear test ban, Teller was promoting "peaceful" nuclear explosions as a means of continuing the testing of nuclear weapons.
Teller's fierce faith in nuclear weapons became ever more evident in the 1960s and 1970s. He testified before Congress against the Partial Test Ban Treaty and also spoke out against it on television. In addition, he championed the development of an ABM system that would employ nuclear explosions to destroy incoming missiles, held an underground nuclear test at Amchitka Island that set off the most powerful underground explosion in American history, and lobbied hard against the SALT treaties of Presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. "He . . . was becoming so wildly hawkish," recalled Marvin Goldberger, one of Teller's early students, "that no one wanted him around except the extremists in the Pentagon."
Teller's plunge into extremism carried over into the debate over the hazards of nuclear power. When the near meltdown of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant occurred, releasing dangerous amounts of radioactivity, Teller reassured a congressional committee that, "zero is the number of proven cases of damage to health due to a nuclear plant in the free world." The day after his congressional appearance, Teller was hospitalized with a heart attack, and even this became grist for his propaganda mill. In July 1979, under a two-page headline in the Wall Street Journal reading "I WAS THE ONLY VICTIM OF THREE MILE ISLAND," there appeared a large photo of Teller, along with his explanation that the cause of his health problem "was not the reactor. It was Jane Fonda. Reactors are not dangerous." Goodchild then goes on to say:"An editorial in the New York Times accused Teller of propaganda...It then pointed out something Teller had not mentioned: that the sponsor of the advertisement, Dresser Industries, had manufactured the valve that had stuck open and started the emergency."
Although Teller had substantial influence on U.S. public policy through the 1970s,fostering the H-bomb during the Truman years, purging Oppenheimer and sabotaging a test ban treaty during the Eisenhower years, excluding underground nuclear testing from the test ban treaty during the Kennedy years, securing the deployment of an ABM system during the Johnson years, and keeping the U.S. government busily engaged in the nuclear arms race during the Nixon, Ford, and Carter years, he came into his own after the 1980 election victory of Ronald Reagan. Teller arranged for the appointment of a protégé of his as the president's Science Advisor, became a member of the White House Science Council, met with the president at the White House on nuclear issues, and did as much as any other individual to convince him that the creation of a Star Wars anti-missile system was vital to the national defense. The Russians, Teller told Reagan, were about to deploy "powerful directed energy weapons" in space, thus enabling them to "militarily dominate both space and the earth, conclusively altering the world balance of power." Thus, "urgent action" was needed to build an anti-missile system that would be powered by nuclear weapons explosions and could be deployed within a few years.
As is well-known, Reagan swallowed this anti-missile proposal hook, line, and sinker though, in fact, Teller's claims for it had little relation to reality. Reagan's successor, George H.W. Bush, was more dubious about the project, but he did approve a modified version, Brilliant Pebbles, also championed by Teller. Republicans in Congress also rallied behind the idea of missile defense, and during the Bill Clinton years--used their newfound strength in that legislative body to keep the project alive and the appropriations flowing to America's weaponeers. Thereafter, George W. Bush, taking office, ordered the deployment of the new system and, a week before Teller's death in 2003, awarded him the President's Medal of Freedom, this nation's highest civilian award. Along the way, Teller's brainchild helped to sabotage an agreement at Reykjavik to eliminate strategic nuclear weapons, caused the scrapping of the ABM treaty, and resulted in expenditures of over $100 billion. And there is still no indication that it works.
Overall, Goodchild's book provides a fascinating, well-researched, and at times sympathetic study of an extraordinary individual. Unfortunately, though, the author has a much better grasp of Teller's life than he does of his times. Thus, he makes some glaring historical mistakes. Among them are the claims that, before Japanese surrender, the U.S. government provided assurances to the Japanese government of the emperor's safety and that "Soviet armies invaded Czechoslovakia" in February 1948. Even so, Edward Teller is a book well worth reading. Provocative and convincing, it highlights the importance of the personal dimension --including personal neuroses--in the history of the nuclear arms race.
Jacob Heilbrunn, an LA Times editorial writer and author of a forthcoming book on neoconservatism, calls “young scholar” Lettow’s revisionist work on Reagan “provocative, informative and largely persuasive.” Reagan, according to Lettow, was a leader and not easily manipulated by his handlers. Reagan was appalled at the prospect of nuclear war and before he turned conservative was “an early and ardent proponent of the abolition of atomic weapons and the internationalization of atomic energy.” As a conservative, Lettow believes Reagan never shed many of those beliefs even while he backed super hawk Edward Teller’s vision of a missile defense system. Reagan kept his views from his hawkish advisors. When he decided to negotiate arms-control pacts with Mikhail Gorbachev, his hawkish staff turned pale. To which Reagan responded: “I have a dream of a world without nuclear weapons. I want our children and grandchildren particularly to be free of these weapons.”
Heilbrunn wonders how this revisionist interpretation squares with Reagan’s embrace of the ballistic missile defense system, which, despite wasting of billions of dollars has proved to be “just about a total bust.” He also adds, “At most, as Lettow asserts but does not prove, Reagan’s arms buildup forced the Soviet Union to cry uncle.” Still, he concludes: If as has been said Marx was no Marxist then perhaps “so it can be argued, Reagan was not a Reaganite.”
New York Times Book Review, February 13, 2005
It was the great Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis who best described the fate of civil liberties in wartime: “During a war…all bets are off.” What he might well have added is that it is also true that in the aftermath of war ignorance, revenge, mindless hysteria, and misery follow in its wake.
In this country the viciousness and ultimate shame of the Red Scare that followed the end of WWII damaged far too many people who were neither Stalin’s apologists nor spies for the KGB. In his book, Washington Gone Mad Michael Ybarra shrewdly noted, “There actually were Communists in Washington. But it was the hunt for them that did the real damage.”
0ne of the victims was James Kutcher, an unheralded and long forgotten genuine American hero, His challenge to the U.S. Government, here portrayed in a memoir published in 1953 and updated in 1973, remains strikingly relevant given the dilemma it presents to critics and dissenters in a nation which is consumed today with radical imperial dreams and its threat of endless wars.
Kutcher was a member of the minuscule Socialist Workers Party, a fringe Trotskyist group. Drafted in 1941, he lost both legs in combat on the Italian front. Fitted with prosthetics, he learned to walk with them and two canes and returned home to live with his family in a federal low-rent housing project in Newark, N.J. The Veterans Administration also hired him for $40 a week.
The story begins in 1948 when the VA decided to fire him because he and his party were “subversive,” a term with no precise legal definition (any more than who is and is not a “loyal” citizen) but which is a favorite tool of repressive governments everywhere.
How Kutcher fought back is the heart of his book. 0riginally published by a small British house since no American publisher would touch it, terrified lest its appearance on its lists might bring Washington’s inquisitors down on its neck. “Sooner or later McCarthy or those other congressional committees are going to start in on the publishing business,” an editor told him. “You can call it cowardly, if you want to, but I call it caution and common sense." Pioneer Publishers,another small publisher, finally issued it here. Twenty years later, still a loyal SWP member, he added two additional chapters.
The book opens with a modest disclaimer. “In most respects,” Kutcher begins, “I am an ordinary man. I have no special talents. I never showed any capacity for leadership.”
Even so, he was no Milquetoast. Because of this outrage he became tough and single-minded.
He went public and received the backing of non-communist labor unions and civil libertarians of all stripes—few of whom sympathized with the SWP. Moderates such as Harold Russell, his onetime hospital buddy (who acted in the classic postwar film,"The Best Years of 0ur Lives") who had lost both his hands in the war, came to his support as did newspapers like the pre-Rupert Murdoch liberal New York Post and columnist Murray Kempton. In the end, Kutcher won his battle and was rehired by the VA in 1956.
Legless Veteran was aimed at two targets: The U.S. Government and opportunistic and scurrilous profiteers of an anti-Red crusade gone mad and the Communist Party, perhaps because of the bitterness existing between Stalin and Trotsky, but mainly I believe because of the Party’s corruption and duplicity.
Nowhere was this more evident than in 1941, while Kutcher was in the Army, when eighteen SWP members and others were convicted under the infamous Smith Act. The Communists cheered, disappointed only that the sentences meted out had not been harsher. Seven years later, when their leadership cadres were indicted under he same law, they unashamedly decried it as a challenge to civil freedom and called for all friends of freedom to fight the charges. In 1949, their leaders already in the dock, the West Coast party newspaper Daily People’s World had the gall to turn on Kutcher. “What is being touted as the ‘case of the legless vet’ and a ‘test case’ for civil liberties hasn’t the remotest connection with the defense of civil rights.” In other words, convicting Party leaders was a violation of the Constitution but Kutcher’s cause was not. Their reasoning was eerily similar to that of the Loyalty Board, which approved his dismissal from the VA.
During his ordeal there were other now hard-to-believe obstacles he had to confront. In 1952 he and his family received a letter from the local public housing authority ordering them to sign a loyalty oath and swear that no Kutcher family member belonged to any of the 203 groups cited on the U.S. Attorney General’s list of subversive groups. Failure to do so, they wrote, would mean eviction. The order was in compliance with a new federal law demanding that every tenant in federal low-rent apartments sign loyalty oaths.
Kutcher’s father was furious, more so at his son for not quitting the SWP. He pleaded with the public housing bureaucrats: “I have begged [my son] again and again to leave this organization but he refuses, saying it is not subversive and he is not subversive…What should I do I want to sign the certificate [but] I do not ant to break up my family because my son needs help to take care of him. Please help, please tell me what to do, so that I can keep my home.”
Naturally, no one answered. The law was sacrosanct,or so the faceless crew in the housing office must have reasoned. So Kutcher turned to the American Civil Liberties Union. Which then successfully persuaded a court to issue a restraining order preserving the apartments of the Kutchers and eleven other families who refused to swear that they were loyal.
James Kutcher left the SWP in 1983 and died in 1989. During the years since his reinstatement, J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI carried on extensive spying on the SWP until the group sued and won its case. In essence, the court ruled they had a right to be as political as they wished.
In 2005 and beyond it remains to be seen how much we have learned from our descent into repression of domestic political opponents. We need to wonder if freedom of expression will survive the war on terrorism. James Kutcher’s legacy, then, is that we need not genuflect before any current or future Torquemadas.