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On The Rack

Sorokin Commends New "Guardian" Suggests Loss Diversity, Loss

By Professor OF Sociology and Pitirim A. Sorokin

The October issue of the Harvard Guardian, just published, continues the level and pattern of the two preceding numbers. Representing a series of essays on various topics in history, political science, and economics, with incidental articles in related fields, the Guardian has established, all in all, a high standard for an undergraduate journal. Several of the essays could be printed, without apology, in a scientific publication of a semi-popular character. An additional virtue is their perfectly academic tone. In brief, the contributors and editors of the Guardian deserve sincere congratulation for their achievements to date.

Although not competent to judge all the articles of the October Guardian, those essays which deal with material with which I am familiar, strike me favorably by their competence and discriminating judgment. I refer to: Professor Wild's "American Neutrality and the Far East," Joseph J. Goohern's "Whose Revolution?" (The Haskins Prize Essay), and Peter Vierick's "The Conservative Way to Peace."

I am not in a position to pass judgment about the other papers: James Tobin's "Irish Constitution and Ulster" and the Guardian Summaries of Government Reports contributed by Richard T. Davis and Harold Van B. Cleveland. I found them, nevertheless, interesting and instructive. A good word is to be said for the comprehensive treatment of the works of Professor Rupert Emerson and of Professor Borchard and Lago reviewed in "Malaysia: Imperialism on Trial" and "The Uplift in Foreign Affairs" by Casper W. Weinberger and G. S. Viereck, Jr. respectively.

Shall the Guardian, having definitely established a good pattern and a high standard in its essays, repose on its laurels or does it need further improvement by secondary change? The answer, of course, depends upon personal taste. As my personal preference, I would suggest the following modifications.

First, the topics of the essays are unrelated. For this reason, the articles offer a diverse diet, but one which cannot suit the needs of every reader. Why should not the Guardian attempt to devote a major part of each issue to one important topic taken in different aspects and from different, even opposite, viewpoints. A number of years ago, a group of distinguished scholars in Russia undertook three series of publications under the titles: "New Ideas in Philosophy," "New Ideas in Sociology," and "New Ideas in Law" (Jurisprudence); with each issue in each series devoted to one topic alone, the series had a rather big success. Something similar to that could be done with each issue of the Guardian. Such issues would represent not only creditable congeries of essays but would become something of lasting value even for professors and outsiders. They might well find a place among useful and important works.

Secondly, the tone of the whole journal is in a sense too academic. A little more fighting spirit, a little more pointedness in the aspirations appears to me more in the style of youth than a too correct imitation of the best manners of the academic "mama and papa." Should an issue be devoted to one important topic with conflicting viewpoints, this fighting spirit would come automatically.

Thirdly, a journal like the Guardian may play an important role as a barometer of the mentality and of the important problems of the younger generation of thinkers.

What problems occupy their mind? What trends, tendencies, and current flow there and what directions they take? The Guardian can play the role of such a "barometer" of the youth mentality and as such it can become even more important than it is now. This objective can again be realized, to a considerable extent, through devoting each issue to one important problem.

Finally, in the editorial the Guardian calls itself "the first undergraduate magazine of the social sciences." If so, it is pedantic to limit its field to those of history, government, and economics. The field of the social sciences extends a great deal beyond this division. The field of the social and cultural phenomena is certainly incomparably larger and richer than the three segments of it studied by history, government and economics. Here again the Guardian seems to be an unduly obedient follower of the incidental divisions established by older generations. For such a "traditionalism" they are to be commended, but too great a traditionalism leads to stagnation and lifelessness. A spirit of independent innovation, even a little revolutionary initiative, appear to me more in a style of a magazine of the youth than a too correct imitation of the Academic Emily Posts.

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