Sunday, July 1, 2012

Lewis on Chambers

Hyrum Lewis writes on Whittaker Chambers: The Lonely Voice of Tragedy on the Postwar Right, in the History of Intellectual Culture.
In historical discourse, Whittaker Chambers has too easily been lumped in with other midcentury conservative anti-communists. While those on the right have held him up as a hero in the American struggle for victory against “godless communism” and those on the left see him as exemplary of the excesses and damaging overzealousness of the early Cold War, Chambers defies such simplistic categorization. His subtle, nuanced thought differed considerably from that of other conservative intellectuals of the time and drew from sources outside the standard conservative canon. Thus, this despairing existentialist became an inspiration and a model for the America Right even as he differed with those he inspired on philosophical essentials.