Agnew & Laqueur
To the Editor:
It is understandable that Mr. Podhoretz should be discomfited by Spiro Agnew’s approval of and quotations from COMMENTARY [Letters from Readers, January]. But his discomfiture should not express itself in changing the content of a COMMENTARY article—just to be on the side opposing Mr. Agnew’s.
I have reread the Walter Laqueur piece carefully and find it difficult to conclude that it in any way expresses “critical sympathy” for the current American youth movement. Rather, it is uncompromising in its recognition of the folly and destructiveness of the movement in its extreme form. As befits the work of a scholar, its tone is dispassionate and detached—very unlike the tone of the Vice President. And when Professor Laqueur conjures the vision of a guardian angel to deflect us from the abyss threatened by youthful radicalism, few would believe he intended to cast Agnew in the role of the angel.
Mr. Agnew’s vulnerability is known to all. His intemperate and superficial remarks will undoubtedly do more harm than good. But that is scarcely a reason for turning somersaults—simply to avoid the charge that we are in his camp. . . .
Mr. Podhoretz writes:
I too have reread Walter Laqueur’s article carefully, and I would stand by my characterization of it.