[外文]When a man, a business corporation or an entire society is approaching bankruptcy, there are two courses that those involved can follow: they can evade the reality of their situation and act on a frantic, blind, range-of-the-moment expediency—not daring to look ahead, wishing no one to name the truth, yet desperately hoping that something will save them somehow—or they can identify the situation, check their premises, discover their hidden assets and start rebuilding.
America, at present, is taking the first course. The grayness, the stale cynicism, the non-committal cautiousness, the guilty evasiveness of our public voices suggest the attitude of the courtiers in the story “The Emperor′s New Clothes” who professed admiration for the Emperor′s non-existent garments, having accepted the assertion that anyone who failed to perceive them was morally depraved at heart.
In any given period of history, a culture is to be judged by its dominant philosophy, by the prevalent trend of its intellectual life as expressed in morality, in politics, in economics, in art. Professional intellectuals are the voice of a culture and are, therefore, its leaders, its integrators and its bodyguards. America′s intellectual leadership has collapsed.