Wednesday August 8, 1981 1 AM
The last three weeks have been fretful. I produced a METRON presentation designed to extract loans and capital, putting much labor into it. I spoke with several investment bankers and underwriters. No one is optimistic about getting money for the ABS and films, and I cannot say that I much blame them. My little company is too much me and too complicated. Why cannot I settle upon some little nut or bolt factory instead of looking at a business as a bigger and better Swatch watch movement?
Then Stephanie raised a devil of a row with me when she learned that I had abruptly invited Kay Katzberger to Princeton to spend several days putting together the first issue of Volume V. She didn't know Kay, she didn't listen to a word I said. She simply determined that I was a rogue, an ingrate and a liar. So I felt disgusted and yet tried, as I do in such cases, to restore a friendly feeling. I finally succeeded by Saturday, but had a bad taste in my mouth for days before. S is an absolutely balky colt. She flares up and is completely unreasonable and insensible.
Then came the avalanche of the September issue of the ABS. I worked 14 hours a day from Wednesday until Sunday getting the estimates on a new format, designing it, writing & rewriting copy, editing, typing, selecting and annotating 120 new studies on Friday alone, and triumphantly handing a fairly decent sheaf of copy, the complete issue, to the printer in Trenton at 1:30 PM Sunday.
I drove straightaway to Harvey Cedars where the family is ensconced a stone's throw from the ocean on one side and Barnegat Bay on the other. The next day and a half were pleasant.
August 10, 1961
Last night, after a poor dinner at the Lighthouse Inn at Barnegat Light, Jill & I visited the Livio Stecchinis at their little cottage, where the Roxial Abelsons of NYU (Lionel Abel's brother) were. We talked largely of juvenile delinquency, while R. A. introduced as a subject in the usual tones of distress, asking why it was occurring all over the world. At first I maintained that the word itself is new social-scientese in most places and much old phenomena are being channeled into it; much that went by the term "sowing his wild oats" is now called j. d. Also youth used not to be so prolonged and young criminals were not separated from the old: a criminal was a criminal to the more hard-minded society then.
But then I came up with another theory which admitted a certain (though lesser) transformation had occurred and sought to explain it. The social order in most if not all of the countries where j. d. has become unusually pronounced has moved towards stability and a lack of fundamental recognized cleavages., Violence and direct aggressive activism have been drained out of party politics. ("one party is like another," no more thugs, vote stealers, party riots). The state apparatus, business competition (merit system, efficiency, no wholesale turnovers, no revolutions) (e. g. The bloody gang fights in the circulation wars between the Chicago Tribune and Hearst papers), industrial relations (no private armies of strikers and strikebreakers), sports (spilling of blood restricted), the family (permissive, so why fight), the military (now highly technical; disciplined; humane; futile in face of H-bombs).
It is as if a tide had receded from a beach, carrying with it the normal inhabitants of the sea and leaving behind a pool with a few trapped live things. Gone are the many rationalizations of violence that before carried the "j. d.'s" as part of the crowd of reasonable beings, energized toward social ends. Now the delinquent are "without cause", "without asserting the public good as their goal." Here as in most areas of public issues, one can only think clearly by reordering the mind: straightening out this notion of "cause", of "rational behavior" was a first step towards the theory that followed, I realize this morning. For now we may suggest an ethical principle far truer to reality and more useful than the conventional shocked attitude toward j. d. In view of the infinitely great damage that destructive personal motives work in military affairs, industrial relations and the other areas, we should be happy that they have shaken off some of it. J. d. then becomes like a boil on the flesh as it bursts open, better, though uglier, than it was when its poisons coursed along below the broader surface.
And then another thought springs forth, a corollary. The older adults of today are also affected in the same way as the j.d.'s. Note how closely their thoughts of j. d. are tied in with their own thoughts of the futility of the social order and the "good old days" when liberals, rightists, leftists, cultists, rugged individualists, etc. could be happy, had something to do. Now there is no surge of id to the support of movements. Politics are dead, wars are hopeless, religion is insipid, personal abilities are like mosquito engines blown in a cyclone. The j. d.'s behavior then enters as a fascinating, if repulsive, deviation. And precisely those people who once had a cause are most active in arguing the prevalence and perils of j. d. They are, I suggest, projecting their own wishes unconsciously into the consciously disliked conduct of the young.
Sunday August 20, 1961
Jill, Livio Stecchini and I walked over to the Princeton Day School last night where the Princeton Players were putting on something by Edna St. V. Millay & Genet's "The Maids". I welcomed Jill's suggestion we go, for I had been painting the house all day, with an hour after supper at tennis, and I relished some mental bit. We arrived only for the Genet, and a little late for that, stepping practically into the middle of the stage in order to reach our first row seats, and then in the altogether too intimate audience and players listening to one disgusting idea after another, all disguised whether to conceal their triviality or out of sheer incompetence of expression. The one act was far too long, permitting discomfort, boredom and irritation to go through several cycles. What putrescent theater! Why don't we give up the formal play entirely for a couple of centuries. There is nothing to be done with it as it stands.
Here again is the dilemma of policy science. As John Dewey and Harold Lasswell have put it, the social scientists of the new age, without losing their integrity and ability as scientists, must somehow work on policy-making problems to a much greater extent than heretofore. Although they are not the best judges of themselves, and though they cannot as scientists judge men's ends, the social scientists should be peculiarly fitted by training, experience and mentality to the posing and staffing of solutions to the great problems of divine order, bread, peace, and charity that remain with modern man.