Light rain this morning, so no walk. Instead, I did the TIMES crossword puzzle and noodled around on the internet. The thought crossed my mind to wonder whether I had ever exchanged letters with Noam Chomsky, whom I knew sixty years ago when he was a Junior Fellow at Harvard. In my files, I found a long single-spaced letter dated October 26, 1965. He had written to me about a book manuscript I had sent to him. In the summer of 1962, I wrote a short book called The Rhetoric of Deterrence about the ways in which defense intellectuals like Herman Kahn deployed putatively value neutral mathematical analyses as ideological tools to push one or another justification for the use of nuclear weapons. I couldn't find anyone to publish it, and asked Noam to take a look at it. It is characteristic of him that he devoted more than two single spaced pages to a detailed response. [He liked it and thought it should be published, but it never saw the light of day.]
In those days, I was still possessed of the mad belief that reasoned argument could have some effect on important matters of public policy. It took the better part of half a century for me to give up that fantasy. Ah, youth.