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Gone, forgotten, and unmissed

By Owen Paine on Sunday March 4, 2007 07:34 PM

Mister Vital Center himself, Arthur Schlesinger, is dead --


-- and with him he takes, hopefully, straight to hellfire, the legacy of the liberal front in the cold war: a front where New Deal chattering class elements who had seen, and quickly seen, the anti-Communist light, fought it out to a resounding win/win for vitality, vigor and the American Way.

It was fought with bow ties and irradiated scholarship, egg heads at the on-guard ready, and CIA cut-out humanism.

Through it all, this man played deft bludgeoner. Sure, he looked elbow-patch goofy, but his instrument was no Alvin's harmonica. In the halls of Academe and the pages of the leading journals, he and his ilk steamrolled a couple generations worth of anti-imperialists, from the late forties to the mid-sixties.

Well he's dead, and not a minute too soon, but there are many many new vital-center types out there contending for his job: to prove, day by day, that empire can have a clean face, a feeling heart -- and a cultured claw.

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