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Sidney Hook

Down from Communism

Edmund Wilson was incredulous about his friend John Dos Passos’s left-to-right political U-turn. He expressed this in verse: On account of Soviet Knavery He favors restoring slavery. Like Wilson before me, I struggle to understand what compelled so many 1930s left-wing thinkers to become conservatives by the 1940s and 1950s. Below I grapple with an explanation for the left-to-right trajectory by way of a brief intellectual biography of James Burnham. Consider this a cautionary tale. Burnham is a key thinker among the anti-Stalinist left that Alan Wald has written about in his 1987 book The New York Intellectuals: The Rise Read more