HARVEY GOLDBERG and WILLIAM APPLEMAN WILLIAMS
WHAT IS IT TO BE A RADICAL, to take a position at once denounced as corrosive and welcomed as life-giving? In its most general meaning, the one that unifies otherwise disparate programs and ideas, it is to be of a certain temperament, to have a spirit of steadfastness which sustains man's adherence to principle over any opposition, except new truth. Henry Demarest Lloyd lost friends, Heywood Broun his employment, LaFollette a political party, Veblen all academic respectability, and John Brown life itself. But at the crucial moment of pressure, recantation seemed a far greater price than loss of constancy.
In this sense, "radical" defines a nature different in quality from the temporizing "liberal" spirit, so expert in weighing principle against expediency. Broun made the point with characteristic directness: "In the final court of reckoning I believe the angels will indulge in few long cheers for any liberal. With minor exceptions he's a trimmer. 'There is much to be said on both sides' is one of his favorite sayings, or 'The truth lies somewhere between the two.' Thus split, he conciliates. It is hard enough to draw the mote from any eye, and if a man must drop that every now and then to take a yank at some beam in the opposite camp, he will accomplish little in the space allowed us."1
The substantive meaning of liberalism as a creed is not at stake____________________
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Publication information: Book title: American Radicals Some Problems and Personalities. Contributors: Harvey Goldberg - Editor. Publisher: Monthly Review Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1957. Page number: 1.
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