Dear Pot-holders and Pill-pushers:

For most of his sixty-five gleeful years, Malcolm Muggeridge, Britain’s master of wit and satire, has relentlessly wielded a razor-sharp rhetorical rapier against the false and the pompous. His perennial duels with the Establishment so endeared him to students at the University of Edinburgh that they elected the former editor of Punch as rector, to present their views to the administration. But recently Muggeridge, true to his deepening convictions, drew blood from the student body in announcing his resignation as their spokesman. In a rectorial sermon in St. Giles Cathedral, he lit into them for expressing their rebellion against “our run-down, impoverished way of life” by “a demand for pot and pills, for the most tenth-rate sort of escapism and self-indulgence.” Said Mug to his youthful audience: “We await the great works of art, the high-spirited venturing into new fields of perception and understanding, and what do we get?—the resort of any old slobbering debauchee anywhere in the world at any time—dope and bed.”

Students reacted by pooh-poohing the drug charge, claiming “the pill” was a passport not to promiscuity but to responsibility, and saying representation by a rector was anachronistic, anyway. But it was apparent to a nation of spectators that the man described by critic Stanley Kauffman as “an iconoclast with astigmatism, a hater of sham with a touch of sadism,” had shattered a new idol.

The disdain of MM toward pot and the pill should make all evangelicals consider their involvement with these modern-day visas to ennui. I must confess I have a real pot problem. But it’s not the pot you get a belt out of; it’s the pot you try to get a belt around. My wife’s concern is not whether ...

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