A FEW DAYS LATE
In this week's New Yorker, Editor David Remnick defines Russian strong man Putin by his KGB past. The thinking: "Once KGB, always KGB."
I wonder if Remnick would apply this to the CIA: "Once CIA, always CIA."
This week's Newsweek has a cover story on the death of William F. Buckley. They pass over in light-hearted fashion the year he spent after Yale as a CIA agent. A meaningless fling? Maybe-- but years later Buckley wrote a series of novels devoted to the agency.
By "CIA" we mean not simply the government, but what for many years was a government within the government. We mean a mindset existing within the agency and outside it, which might best be described as "aggressive eastern establishment."
Buckley is regarded as the father of modern American conservatism. His journal, National Review, was founded in 1955 (two years after Paris Review). Buckley is being praised far and wide for having chased the "wackos" out of the conservative movement-- which means, in part, those who followed the original anti-Imperialist vision of this nation.
In Newsweek, praise for Buckley is given even by Nation Editor and Publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel, renowned Lefty, though Buckley and her had little in common. But they had a great deal in common in that both came from backgrounds of extreme-- extreme-- wealth and privilege, and no doubt circulated at many of the same Manhattan and D.C. functions and parties.
Which indicates to me that class is more important than ideology in this country-- or maybe that the core, fundamental ideology of establishment "Right" and "Left" is the same.
You see, many questions are raised. . . .
In a sense, the ultra-wealthy deserve the power they wield over intellectual debate, because they're willing to fight for that power, by starting or buying intellectual journals, as the careers of Buckley and vanden Heuvel indicate.