Published April 1, 1994
1. In this, the new Best and Brightest were linear descendants of the old Best and Brightest, and particularly of Robert McNamara, whose faith in rationality and rational “management” knew no bounds: despite the debacle it caused in Vietnam.
2. I have no idea whether he used the term in a conscious parallelism, but “reticence” is evocative of one of Havel’s most powerful underground essays from the early 1980s, “The Anatomy of a Reticence” in which the leader of Charter 77 explained that he and his collegues could not share the enthusiasms of the Western anti-nuclear movement, because the latter had utterly failed to grasp the fact that the human-rights issue was central to the confrontation between the Soviet bloc and the West. Thus Communist repression, not Western nuclear weapons, was the gravest threat to the peace of Europe. Moreover, Havel argued, the East/West divide could be bridged only on the basis of a massive transformation of Communist societies.