"Letting 30,000 people die in Vietnam is better than having the United States lose prestige," think-merchant Herman Kahn said yesterday afternoon.
Kahn, founder and director of the Hudson Institute, often called the Rand Corporation of the East, was the guest of Quincy House in an afternoon debate on the war, a private after-dinner session with several Cambridge hippies, and an open discussion on "Hippies in the Year 2000."
Defending the administration stand on Vietnam, Kahn said that once you make a commitment -- and up to June '64 the U.S. had not made a full commitment -- it is nearly impossible to drop it. If the U.S. did "cut and run" from Vietnam, he argued, the resulting loss of prestige would destroy the precarious political balance of the world.
Moreover, he said 98 per cent of Americans back administration policy and would lose faith in the country if we pulled out. Kahn's figures were disputed by several students who cited numerous polls to prove that a large percentage of citizens oppose the war.
In the evening discussion, Kahn prognosticated that American society will evolve into a relatively homogeneous state where the largest class differentiation will be whether a man's job is interesting.
Half of society will have as its major concern getting such possessions as "the third helicopter or the second planetarium," he said. Intellectuals will rule, Kahn said. The only nonparticipants in society will be the 5 per cent who drop out of school and job into a psychedelic fantasy world, he predicted.