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Fail-Safe, &c.

In response to:

Strangelove & Fail-Safe from the March 5, 1964 issue

To the Editors:

Mr. Brustein, in his reply to Professor Kenneth Stern’s letter in your issue of March 5, completely misses Professor Stern’s point and the point: Fail-Safe is not in any sense at all the expression of “the spirit imaginative”; it is an incursion—and a most deleterious one—into the “body politic.” It is a tract decked out as cheap melodrama. Professor Hook, with courage and dogged perseverance (it takes both to extract the poison beneath the surface of a glamourous bestseller) exposed it for what it was.

If Mr. Brustein really wants to eschew the “body politic” and to guard the “spirit imaginative,” he should leave these problems altogether alone. But his rhetoric about “the defense establishment” and the common failings of the West and its Communist enemy rather belie his protestations. Could it be that Professor Hook disturbs the spiritual comfort of his aesthetic high-mindedness in a way that Professor Riesman would not?

Frank S. Meyer

National Review

New York City

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