THE MYTH OF MAJOR EATHEKLY Sia,--One of the great errors
of Our time is the belief that because a man is intelligent in one sphere of life he must necessarily be intelligent in others. We thus have people accepting Lord Russell as a politician of consequence and Mr. Toynbec writing confidently on logic.
1. 'If he [Major Eatherly) was never mad,' writes Mr. Toynbee, 'as Anders believes, then the success- ful attempt to engage him in the anti-nuclear cam- paign cannot possibly be described as exploitation.' But a man does not have to be mad to be susceptible to exploitation, merely naive. This is what Mr. Bryden clearly said and clearly showed.
2. Mc, Bryden never constructed the syllogism which Mr. Toynbee attributes to him, nor can it be deduced from the passage which Mr. Toynbee quotes. The burden of that passage is simply that mass groups, whether they be nuclear disarmers, Fascists or consumers, are frequently moved by forces of persuasion which bear a family resemblance and which are similar in so far as they work through, and for their effect depend upon, the ir- rational processes of people's minds. Mr. Bryden's proposition is undoubtedly true.
1 I do not know why Mr. Toynbee should wish to deny that nuclear disarmers are advertisers and PR men. Lord Russell has specifically stated that the civil disobedience which his supporters practise is exercised solely to draw attention to the claims of their case, and if this is not advertising and PR, of a particularly objectionable character, I do not know what is. The fact that they are selling an unusual product does not alter their function.
4. Mr. Toynbee accuses Mr. Bryden, whose article I thought sober, of emitting 'highly emotive noises' and in so doing commits what he condemns. Phrases such as 'sour pseudo-realism,' indulging in pure demagogic oratory' and 'emotive nonsense of the worst kind' can scarcely be described as reason- able and non-emotive.
5. Finally in a passage most of which defeats my comprehension Mr. Toynbee contradicts himself and concedes that most of us behave not as 'adult and thinking' men, Jo use his own words, but in an 'unthinking and accepting way' and therefore pre- sumably in a way which leaves us open to exploita- tion and to those forces of persuasion which, because they seek to dull men's reason, Mr. Bryden rightly condemns.
Mr. Toynbee should stick to literary criticism.