At First Glance  

When Voltaire was asked why he kept a Bible on his night table, he replied: “You have to know your enemies.” I subscribe to Commentary on this Vol- tairean principle. As a result I got onto the mailing list of …





Jonestown Revisited  

When Rose Laub Coser and I wrote about the Jonestown tragedy (in Dissent, Spring 1979), the sources of our interpretation were limited to journalistic accounts. I was therefore eager to turn to these two books hoping that, with the distance …



Reagan and the Welfare State  

Neither Eisenhower nor Nixon nor Ford tried to tamper with the welfare state initiated by Roosevelt. In fact, all of them extended it to a significant extent. Now, almost 50 years after its inception, the growth of the welfare state …



Afterthoughts on the Israeli Election  

Shortly before the elections, Israeli television interviewed a few men and women in the street as to their views of the candidates. Said one of them, “I don’t know why the difference between them matters—after all they are both Jews.” …



Religion and Revolution  

FIRE IN THE MINDS OF MEN: ORIGINS OF THE REVOLUTIONARY FAITH, by James H. Billington. New York: Basic Books. 677 pp. $25.00. Billington’s previous book, his masterful cultural history of Russia, The Icon and the Axe, was acclaimed as a …



Midge Decter and the Boys on the Beach  

Midge Decter has become Commentary‘s specialist in baiting minorities. Some years ago she wrote a book studded with venomous attacks against liberated women. More recently she wrote about a race riot in New York City and the attendant looting in …



On Misperceiving the Dangers of LaRouche  

In the last two years Lyndon LaRouche and his followers have published articles claiming that the murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust never happened, that international Zionism controls part of the drug traffic in America, that the B’nai …



In Praise of Marx  

At the 1979 meeting of the American Sociological Association in Boston, one session was devoted to a debate between Lewis Coser and Lewis Feuer on the subject, “Should We Bury Karl Marx?” Feuer said yes, Coser no. We print here …



The Mystifications of Structuralism  

THE POVERTY OF THEORY AND OTHER ESSAYS, by E. P. Thompson. New York: Monthly Review Press. 404 pp. $16.00. E. P. Thompson is best known as the social historian whose magisterial The Making of the English Working Class has had …