When someone steals another's clothes, we call them a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes; the money which you hoard up belongs to the poor.
He needed the people and the clamour around him. There was no questions and no doubts when he stood on a platform over a sea of faces; the air was heavy, compact, saturated with a single solvent-admiration; there was no room for anything else. He was great; great as the number of people who told him so. He was right; right as the number of people who believed it. He looked at the faces, at the eyes, he saw himself born in them, he saw himself granted the gift of life. That was Peter Keating, that, the reflection in those staring pupils, and his body was only it's reflection.
The matter on which I judge people is their willingness, or ability, to handle contradiction. Thus Paine was better than Burke when it came to the principle of the French revolution, but Burke did and said magnificent things when it came to Ireland, India and America. One of them was in some ways a revolutionary conservative and the other was a conservative revolutionary. It's important to try and contain multitudes. One of my influences was Dr Israel Shahak, a tremendously brave Israeli humanist who had no faith in collectivist change but took a Spinozist line on the importance of individuals. Gore Vidal's admirers, of whom I used to be one and to some extent remain one, hardly notice that his essential critique of America is based on Lindbergh and 'America First' the most conservative position available. The only real radicalism in our time will come as it always has from people who insist on thinking for themselves and who reject party-mindedness.