The greening of Goldwater's chief 1964 speechwriter, or ""You Too Can Stop Paying Income Taxes and Find Freedom."" Pretty...

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DEAR AMERICA

The greening of Goldwater's chief 1964 speechwriter, or ""You Too Can Stop Paying Income Taxes and Find Freedom."" Pretty nauseating, huh? Well, actually not at all. Hess (who must now be in his 50s) turns out to be the product of a resolutely egalitarian mother; he was an atheist from late childhood and a Socialist at sixteen. He rapidly sketches a variegated but apparently frustrating career of journalism and the corporate climb, during which he became increasingly enmeshed in the suburban nightmare and more convinced of the right-wing answers to all political and economic problems. After the '64 campaign he fell into personal difficulties and ideological doubts, and finally found himself forbidden to own property or draw a conventional salary as a result of his refusal to pay taxes. (He now works as a welder.) The bulk of the book is devoted to the new perceptions (fostered by such influences as Marcus Raskin, now a close friend) which he sees as the logical outgrowth of a lifelong distrust of centralized authority. It's a disjointed, often naive, but by no means: unintelligent polemic against the big-is-beautiful mentality of national and corporate bureaucracy, and a plea for the autonomy of the individual and the small community. Hess is at his most spirited when denouncing national and business ""leadership"" (he contends that people don't need to be led), at his wooziest when elaborating new principles of sharing and brotherhood on which more humanly proportioned communities can be based. A likable personal document, and one of the more appealing (if not the most systematic) of the think-small eco-political treatises of the season.

Pub Date: April 15, 1975

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Morrow

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1975