Vol. 34 No. 1 1967 - page 61

and commit his energies to, the system with which he proposes to
replace a faulty democracy, his despair can only make itself felt in reg–
ression or as inertia.
Myself, I know nothing better to substitute for a faulty democracy.
I wish I did, and not merely because ours is a system which has not
eradicated racial inequity or even because it offers us so little connection
with government but because of my extreme distaste for the dominant
American culture. (Yet, obviously, to ascribe our culture to the Amer–
ican "system" is to ignore the similar movement in culture everywhere
in the modern industrialized world, including the Communist countries.)
One term, but one term only, of American democracy is capitalism.
Socialism as an alternative to capitalism would, one could hope, go
some distance toward removing the economic motive in racial in–
equality. But important as this undoubtedly would be, it still would
leave unaltered many other factors involved in racial bias, includ–
ing original sin. Too, what we often forget is that socialism is an alterna–
tive to capitalism, it is not an alternative to democracy.
by socialism
we mean democratic socialism we have to realize that in a vast and
complex country like ours it would take more than a reorganization of
the economy to put the individual citizen in a closer, more potent rela–
tionship with government. Only an enormous decentralization could ac–
complish this-which would create
own problems, not least a grave
divisiveness in the national life. There is no easy answer to the questions
pressed upon us by what has happened in the civil rights movement; we
have to rate our values in the order of their importance to us. And at
the top of the scale, for me, are the prerogatives of democracy: a multi–
party system, the right to vote, work, speak and move about as I will,
all the benefits Americans can afford to belittle because they have them.
Or at any rate, some of us have all of them, all of us have some of them.
It makes poor sense to be bitter over the fact that Negroes are deprived of
rights that we ourselves hold cheap.
As to our foreign policies. I have found it extraordinary, the ease and
speed with which most intellectuals have come to their stands on the
Vietnam War; it would have seemed to me that decision between sup–
port of or opposition to the war could be this quick only for the con–
scientious objecto r to all war. It has been extremely difficult for me to
come to a "position," when there has been such substantial argument to
marshal both for and against the war. And if, finally, I am opposed to
it, it is not because of an ingrained distrust of American motive or even
Johnson motive, and certainly not because I am indifferent to the spread
of Communism, but because I have come to the opinion that the best
interests of America and of democracy are not served by the kind of war
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