Forty Good Years

"Forty Good Years," The Public Interest, Spring 2005.


Yet The Public Interest, it should be said, transcended any political ideology, or even any political “disposition.” Inevitably, to be sure, my own political identity spilled over into the public perception of the magazine; there was no way I could erect what on Wall Street is known as a “Chinese wall” between my writings in other journals and this perception. But for many of its contributors and readers, and, not least, for its co-editors—first Dan Bell and then Nat Glazer—The Public Interest continued to have a non-ideological cast, in part because it continued to be focused largely on social research and social problems, and because it did so in a serious scholarly fashion. For these reasons and, I believe, because of its intellectual quality, it has been well received in a dominantly liberal academia, as well as in the media and in government circles. It has even, I venture to suggest, had an influence in shaping and reshaping the prevailing modes of discourse in the social sciences.

THE past 40 years, for its editors and contributors—as well as, I hope, for its readers—have been an exciting intellectual adventure. And there will be, no doubt, exciting times ahead for our successors as they cope with the extraordinary dilemmas posed by our new “brave new world.” We can leave no better legacy for them than the spirit of good will and high spirits that has sustained us in that adventure.

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