In the Manichaean future, well-vaccinated against privacy and factions, there will be two countries. For purposes of recognition we must name them: one will be called Houston, the other Peking.


In Tien An Men Square, conversation is the building block of paradise. Endlessly, voices have quavered, muttered, and temporized; now this is finished as the mingled, dissonant languages come to assurance. Exegesis, sunny and sinewed, makes its rounds through the populace.

“What are we reading this year?”

The Critique of the Gotha Programme.”

   From Tientsin to Canton, that text is re-invented. After an ardent transmigration of sounds comes the rebirth of the soul. “We need history,” affirmed the Aereopagite, “but not as spoiled loafers in the garden need it.” In Peking the monumental grammer of that need—its interrogative forms, its assertive nouns—suppresses the inhibitions of clannish taste. In Peking, there are no loafers, no loutish exercises of consciousness, fractured or conserva…