A Word From Izzy (Part 2)
The estimable Kevin Drum at The Washington Monthly puts in a good word about The Best of I. F. Stone (link to his post about it here.)
Now, here is another excerpt from the book. This comes from an essay Stone published in his newsletter on May 19, 1969, under the title "In Defense of the Campus Rebels." I suggest it reads very much like a defense of today's netroots by a smart, tough leftist--someone who might not agree with the language or tone of everything written by excitable, angry bloggers but who also sees through the smokescreen of tut-tutting about "civility" that conservatives try to use to enforce silence and squelch dissent. Here's how Stone put it:
There is a wonderful story of a delegation which came here [to Washington] to see Franklin D. Roosevelt on some reform or other. When they were finished the President said, "Okay, you've convinced me. Now go on out and bring pressure on me." Every thoughtful official knows how hard it is to get anything done if someone isn't making it uncomfortable not to. Just imagine how helpless the better people in government would be if the rebels, black and white, suddenly fell silent. The war [in Vietnam] might smolder on forever, the ghettoes attract as little attention as a refuse dump. It is a painful business extricating ourselves from the stupidity of the Vietnamese war; we will only do so if it becomes more painful not to. It will be costly rebuilding the ghettoes, but if the black revolt goes on, it will be costlier not to. In the workings of a free society, the revolutionist provides the mopderate with the clinching argument. And a little un-reason does wonders, like a condiment, in reinvigorating a discussion which has grown pointless and flat.So rant on, Digby and Kos, Atrios and Yglesias and Alterman. We need a few firebrands to put heat on the moderates and make it more painful for them not to stand up to Bush.
Tags: I. F. Stone, Kevin Drum, Vietnam, Iraq, Roosevelt