Page 10


the concept of Southern chivalry and its other hand, it also took courage to buck the liberal pressures, from almost 50% of the budget council and the department, from the AAUP chapter, and from colleagues in arts and sciences, in order to carry through his own self-determined verdict about Caroline. Whatever Silber did, it took courage, and it is difficult to say whether the opposite action would have seemed to the observer more courageous than the action actually taken. I think that it was this display of courage on the part of both Silber and Caroline that allowed me to overlook certain public manifestations of the case that both, I imagine, now regret. The ordinary amenities of debate and intellectual courtesy were almost entirely suspended between Dean Silber and Caroline: accusations of mendacity and intellectual incompetence were the general order of the day. All this, regrettably, is part of a pattern that includes Chairman Erwin’s characterization of SDS as “dirty nothin’s” or Waggoner Carr’s even more extreme language. It is not the least confusing thing about America to a foreigner that so many Americans regard so many other Americans as “unamerican,” and indeed as worse than foreigners. In his essay on “Free Speech in the United States,” Zechariah Chafee, Jr., seems to have put the matter only too well: Never in our lifetimes have American citizens spewed such virulence against American citizens or shown such terror-stricken eagerness to shelter themselves behind novel barricades from the oft-heralded wickedness of their own fellow-country man.9 Some Conclusions After as thorough an investigation as I was able to make, my reluctant conclusion about the Caroline affair was as follows: everyone acted according to their own lights and everyone no doubt feels that he acted rightly in the matter. Erwin in protecting the university from outside interference; Regent Josey in displaying his oilmen’s values with an offer to pay a radical’s salary; Hackerman in supporting majority rule *at least 50% of the time: Lieb in preventing the department’s becoming a house divided; and Silber in continuing his fight for higher academic standards in philosophy as elsewhere. No one seems intentionally to have railroaded Caroline, yet I feel that one or more of the participants in the affair were somehow culpable in one or more of the decisions they took at key times. Just where the philosopher would point his finger and say “thou ailest here and here,” I do not profess to know and would find it tedious to determine. But it does indicate that in such cases as this criteria for deciding for or against the retention of junior faculty members are intolerably vague and the criteria for deciding what is or is not in the best interests of a department are even vaguer. It may seem strange that one can both defend all the participants in this dispute as honorable men in their individual actions and yet condemn them for their treatment of Caroline. To do this one has to look at the whole behavior of the administration in recent years. There has been a horrendous amount of support for a highly active and regressive board of regents on the part of the administration. Rules tightening their grip over students and faculty have gone through without a single murmur, or even a resignation, over concrete issues and general priorities. Public, or even private, condemnations of their decisions and public utterances come not from the administration but only from brave independent souls such as Roger Shattuck, Alfred Schild, David Edwards, Clifton Grubbs, and a few others. Silber held Erwin’s hand in the early SDS conflicts and is a stout defender not just of his good policies, but of Erwin as, in many ways, a good thing for the university in general; Hackerman refused to answer Shattuck’s eloquent charges in the matter of the national SDS meeting, at UT-Austin; but one need not go on to elaborate the difference between the Rainey days and the present and I see no signs that the composition of the Legislature has changed much. It is in the light of this that one can regard the administration as culpable. As Silber himself has written: the anatomy and dynamics of human behavior and action force us to recognize unconscious and subconscious, no less than conscious, intentions … How am I to regard those movements of mine which are judged by others, ab extra, to be my actions and which may reveal to others one or more of my over-riding long-range intentions, but which I can truthfully report were not a part of my conscious intentions at the time my movements took place? Consider the way, for example, men and nations pick fights and exacerbate quarrels to their enormous advantage while truthfully and conscientiously denying all conscious intent or desire to fight …10 Yes indeed, consider it, and when we look back to that early stage of the Caroline affair, . to Silber’s initial reaction to the Capitol speech, when he said: I have grave doubts about the bounds he [Caroline! seems to place on his Socratic conscience. His speech was characterized by an appalling lack of cogent argument and respect for facts and by appallingly bad rhetoric … could not Caroline reply, with no more exaggeration, in the manner of G. K. Chesterton: Do depletion men in Athens, rigorous John, Know their syllogistic patterns, do they, John? In the oyster-dredgers dredging Oyster-shells from lust off shore, Where Platoro rules, not Plato, And Socrates’s a bore, Do they check the speech for fiddles, When the Mexicans have gone, And distribute all the middles, do they, John? When the voice of Erwin thunders, tell me, John, Has he seen the sophistic blunders, has he, John? For the department and for Harry, You fought well and did what’s right, And you did get rid of Larry, Since he sinned against the light So talk about the Board of Regents Or of One who sits thereon, But that old “Socratic conscience” chuck it, John! This would be unfair, perhaps, but no more unfair, I feel, than the charges levelled at Caroline’s intellectual conscience and capacities. FOOTNOTES 1.[The author is a British national.Ed.j 2.Playboy 3.The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell 4.It should be noted in this connection that in the vocabulary of black ideologies the term “racist” had become extended to mean far more than one who believes that one’s own race is superior. It covers now those who passively support a system of society which seems based on thiS belief; this of course implicates a great many well-meaning liberals, and I am not sure how convenient this extended use is even as a slogan. Not only does the thinking ape the right wing use of “socialistic” and “communistic” for anything and anybody to the left of Alexander Hamilton or President Coolidge, but it eventually empties the term of its emotive force. In the Caroline case, the application of the adjective to Dean Silber was fraught with many undesirable consequences. 5.William Arrowsmith’s damning indictment of the system in “The Shame of the Graduate Schools” is relevant here. 6.See Eric Goldman, The Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson Miss Mitford’s book, The American Way of Death, is not about testamentary laws or the rights of primogeniture. 7.Ethics context was an attack on Professor Noam Chomsky’s condemnation of American intervention in Vietnam and his exaggeration of the faults of US foreign policy. 8.A. G. Gardiner, Portraits and Portents \(New 9.. Civil Liberties Under Attack \(Philadelphia, 10. J. R. Silber, “Being and Doing: A Study of Status Responsibility and Voluntary Responsibility,” p. 16. October 24, 1969 7 EL CHICO, Jr. Burnet Road & Hancock Dr., Austin Beer patio under the stars Fast service & carry-out Delicious Mexican food Dinners $1.15 to $1.45 An operation of R & I INVESTMENT CO. Austin, Texas Alan Reed, President G. Brockett Irwin, Vice President 0