McGeorge Bundy Replies
WHEN I sat down to review Mr. Buckley’s book, I was somewhat concerned lest my readers refuse to believe that so violent, unbalanced, and twisted a young man really existed. His rejoinder removes lhat concern, and it remains to demonstrate that as a defense it is almost a complete fraud.
My review was written at the invitation of the editor of this magazine and no one else; neither of us had been approached in any wav whatever by the Yale Administration. The absurd accusation of a put-up job is an excellent sample of Mr. Buckley’s mind and method. Now let us deal with the specific quotations from my original review which Mr. Buckley attacks.
1. Did Mr. Buckley assert the ineffectiveness of Yale’s chaplain? He did. On the very page in which he paid the grudging minor-key tribute which he now quotes, he took direct issue with President Seymour’s praise ol Mr. Lovett, and wrole that to applaud “his religious influence and the results it has had on the Yale campus’" was “another thing entirely.” And this was the burden of much following argument.
2. On the matter of checking the context of certain statements, we have another prime example of Mr. Buckley’s theory of fair quotation. What I wrote and what the . Atlantic printed was this: “The insidious character of this sort of innuendo anil quotation from lectures [italics added] lies in the I and that no outsider can readily cheek the context,” etc. So Mr. Buckley’s remarks about his use of books are totally beside the point. The relevant point is that the book does contain many hearsay quotations for which no printed references can be given. More important, he has here deliberately reversed my clear-cut meaning, and this, as I said of a similar performance in his book, is a measure of the honesty of his method. I might add that in this case it is also a measure of his intelligence.
3. On the matter of quotations to show that a certain economies text took a balanced viewof our economic system, Mr. Buckley is once again up to his old tricks. The book he attacked for too much discussion of the excesses of capitalism was Bowman and Bach’s Economic Analysis and Public Policy; the book from which he now quotes is Morgan’s Income and Employment. Moreover, this error can hardly be accidental; there are in Mr. Buckley’s book no quotations from Morgan which could reasonably be related to my original complaint. I must insist, as I did in my review, on the individualistic notion that an author is not fairly presented by quotations from some other author.
4. As to leveling of incomes‚ Mr. Buckley specifically accused ihe textbook writers of “egalitarianism.” I was pointing out that in the usual sense of that word they were nothing of the kind, and Mr. Buckley himself now admits it.
5. Does Mr. Buckley urge ”that only those who will support his basic position should be allowed to teach . . . religion and economics at Yale”? He most emphatically does (though I find it comforting that he recoils from bis own objective when it is bluntly stated). I quite agree that he wants to do this only with alumni support. But as I said in my review, in the sentence immediately following the one Mr. Buckley has quoted, he “goes on to argue that the alumni have a right and duty to enforce this view — unless they are themselves sympathetic to atheism and collectivism.” This is still the exact truth of his position, and I still say that it is “appalling effrontery.”
6. Does Mr. Buckley give any accurate statement, of Yale’s position on academic freedom? He does not, and pages 173—181 of his book clearly demonstrate the point; they consist of less than a page from President Seymour, chopped up and misinterpreted in eight pages of pure and unadulterated Buckley.
7. Does Mr. Buckley ever “consider the opinion . . . that Yale is more religious than the rest of Protestant America”? He does not. The passages referred to specifically refuse to consider this point. This is not a mere technicality; no student of the place of religion at Yale can properly ignore the social context in which the University lives.
8. Do any of the ministers or chaplains at Yale agree with his analysis.? They do not. Of course all of them may agree with parts of what he said - as I do myself. But not one can be found to support his method of analysis, his attack on Yale’ s Administration as anti-religious, or his suggested solution. Furthermore, no agreement of this character was sought or reached at the meeting of February 21, and what Mr. Buckley read to that meeting differed in major respects from what he finally printed.
9. On one matter I am quile wrong. Mr. Buckley’s father is not sending copies of the book to all alumni, as reported, and I am sorry I passed on the report. With this single exception, however, I stand word for word on my original review.
Now let us consider the matter of Mr. Buckley’s Catholicism. Let me first repeat exactly what I said: “Mr. Buckley, who urges a return to what he considers to be Yale’s true religious tradition, at no point says one word of the fact that he himself is an ardent Roman Catholic [and he now shows us that he went to considerable lengths to insure concealment of this fact]. In view of the pronounced and well-recognized difference between Protestant and Catholic views on education in America, and in view of Yale’s Protestant history, it seems strange for any Roman Catholic to undertake to define the Yale religious tradition ... ; it is stranger still for Mr. Buckley to venture his prescription with no word or hint to show his special allegiance.
So my complaint was not that Mr. Buckley undertook to “understand, analyze, or appraise. It was that he undertook to offer a prescription, pretending to speak for Yale’s true religious tradition. I still think this a very strange thing for a Catholic to do, and I cannot understand what concept of honesty would permit a man to hide so relevant a connection. Let me add, in fairness to other Catholics, that this book certainly does not represent any official Catholic position. In many places, indeed, and particularly in its economics, it is distinctly un-Catholic.
The rest of his outburst may be treated briefly. Mr. Buckley wholly misrepresents both my publisher and myself as to my view of Mr. Acheson. He terms “Fascist” an educational opinion held and expressed repeatedly by Americans like A. Lawrence Lowell, Charles W. Eliot, and Arthur T. Hadley, to speak only of the dead.
As for my words “pretended firsthand report on the opinions and attitudes of Yale’ s teachers and textbooks,” I used them advisedly; Mr. Buckley’s book makes it plain that he has never read through the books he praises and condemns, and I learned on inquiry that he had never even tried to meet and talk with some of the teachers he attacked.
Finally, it may now be a matter of “consuming indifference” to Mr. Buckley whether certain recognized capitalists and conservatives share his position, but it was not so when he wrote his book, nor does he “so state” anywhere in it. The book and its introduction constantly pretend to a reasonable conservative position, buttressed by references to Hayek, Jewkes, Knight, Lippmann, Jefferson, Locke, and others. My review demonstrated the falsity of this pretense. So I will repeat my earlier conclusion that he is “a twisted and ignorant young man whose personal views of economics would have seemed reactionary to Mark Hanna.”