To the Editors of The Crimson:
How charming of The Crimson to print that delightful photograph of me at North House on the front page of your March 24th issue.
How typical of The Crimson to print that wildly inaccurate account of what I said at North House on the last page of the same issue.
1. Your story alleges that I referred to "the breakdown of democracy in America in recent years." In fact, I referred quite explicitly to the "vitality" of American democracy; this, I said, created problems for the operation of democratic government, but at no time did I say that American democracy had broken down.
2. Your story says I referred to "a worldwide pattern towards a general extension of democracy, which had resulted in non-democratic ends." In fact, what I referred to was an extension of political participation, which may be one aspect of democracy but clearly not co-extensive with it, since there can also be widespread non-democratic participation (as in totalitarian systems).
3. Your story quotes me as saying that in Chile "an over-extension of democracy led to a coup d'etat which has restored political stability." In fact, I never referred to the current political situation in Chile as stable; and I said it was the extension of political participation (not democracy) in the 1960s, which overwhelmed Chilean democratic political institutions and created the polarization leading first to Allende and then to the coup.
4. Your story alleges that I said that "all periods of reform" in the U.S. have "eventually failed." In fact, at some length I drew a distinction between the earlier Revolutionary and Jacksonian periods of reform, which were very uuccessful, and the later Progressive and contemporary periods of reform, which have been much less successful.
5. According to your story, I said that the delegate selection reforms in the Democratic Party "would cause a deadlock convention in July." In fact, I said they could cause a deadlocked convention, although the primary successes of Jimmy Carter were rapidly reducing that probability.
Your reporter did, however, spell my name correctly. Sincerely yours, Samuel P. Huntington Thomson Professor of Government
P.S. I might also seize this opportunity to point out that Professor Daniel Bell was entirely correct and Mr. Jim Kaplan entirely wrong in their remarks in The Crimson of March 13th concerning the report on "The Governability of Democracy" which I drafted for the Trilateral Commission together with Professors Michel Crozier and Joji Watanuki. In the Great Crimson tradition of irresponsible and sloppy journalism, Mr. Kaplan did not bother to ask me or the Trilateral Commission office about the current status of this report. Instead, he simply repeated the inaccuracies of an earlier Crimson account. In fact, as Professor Bell points out, our report was debated and not rejected at the Commission's Kyoto meeting last June; and since then the Commission's has sponsored its publication in book form, with a foreward by the director of the Commission, and has devoted a great deal of money and energy to publicizing the report and disseminating it as widely as possible. If this constitutes "rejection," one wonders how Mr. Kaplan would define "acceptance."
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