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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 13 January 2009
Writing in 1912, before the Bolshevik Revolution, American socialist John Spargo said that it was “inconceivable” that a democratic socialist society would ever abolish the “sacred right” of freedom of publication which had been won at so great a sacrifice. According to Spargo, “every Socialist writer of note” agreed with Karl Kautsky that the freedom of the press, and of literary production in general, is an “essential condition” of democratic socialism.
1 Spargo, John, Applied Socialism (New York: B.W. Hebsch, 1912), p. 287.Google Scholar For Kautsky's attitude toward liberty of the press under socialism, see Kautsky, Karl, Social Democracy versus Communism, ed. and trans. David, Shub and Joseph, Shaplen (New York: Rand School Press, 1946), pp. 63Google Scholar, 121.
2 Spargo, p. 287.
3 Heilbroner, Robert, The Nature and Logic of Capitalism (New York: Norton, 1985), p. 126.Google Scholar
4 On the limits of glasnost, see also Keller, Bill, “Soviet Cooperatives Ordered to Stay Out of Publishing World,” New York Times, February 3, 1988Google Scholar; Keller, Bill, “Pieces to a Soviet Puzzle,” New York Times, May 20, 1988Google Scholar; De Russy, Candace, “Glasnost: Constraints and Backtracking,” Resistance International Bulletin, vol. 1, no. 2 (Fall 1987), pp. 7–9.Google Scholar
6 “The Principles of Restructuring: The Revolutionary Nature of Thinking and Acting,” editorial, Pravda, April 5,1988, trans, in Current Digest of the Soviet Press, vol. 40, no. 14, p. 20. Pravda editorial in response to Andreyeva, Nina, “I Cannot Forsake Principles,” Sovetkaya Rossiya, March 13, 1988Google Scholar, trans, in Current Digest of the Soviet Press, vol. 40, no. 13 (April 27, 1988), pp. 1–5.
Pravda's words in 1988 closely parallel in language and ideology Stalin's words in 1946 (at the outset of a major campaign against artists and members of the intelligentsia): “In our country, a magazine is not a private enterprise.” See “Attack on Zoshchenko, Akhmatova Recalled,” Current Digest of the Soviet Press, vol. 40, no. 23 (July 6, 1988), p. 17.
7 Selbourne, David, Against Socialist Illusion: A Radical Argument (New York: Schocken Books, 1985), p. 45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar Compare Connolly, William E., Appearance and Reality in Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), pp. 177Google Scholar,178,189; Parkin, Frank, Marxism and Class Theory (New York: Columbia University Press, 1979), p. 177.Google Scholar
8 Selbourne, p. 62.
9 Hirschman, Albert O., The Passions and the Interests (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977), pp. 127–28.Google Scholar Hirschman reports this argument without evaluating it.
10 On the analytic value of differentiating between socialist societies and redistributivist welfare-state societies, see Berger, Peter, The Capitalist Revolution (New York: Basic Books, 1986), pp. 76Google Scholar,247n. 3; Heilbroner, Robert L., “A Reply,” Dissent, vol. 25, no. 3, whole no. 112 (Summer 1978), p. 359.Google Scholar At some level of intervention and redistribution, a society becomes socialist de facto. See Berger, p.88.
11 Hook, Sidney, Politual Power and Personal Freedom, 2nd ed. (New York: Collier Books, 1962), pp. 401–2.Google Scholar Hook points to the illiberal values of the Bolsheviks and of the German National Socialists and to the undemocratic structure of their political parties as influences on governmental policy in Russia and Germany. See also Kolakowski, Leszek, “The Self-Poisoning of the Open Society,” Survey, vol. 25, no. 4, whole no. 113 (Autumn 1980), p. 8.Google Scholar Kolakowski calls the democratic socialist argument “a healthy rejoinder” to the classical liberal critique of socialism.
13 Sperber, Manes, Man and His Deeds, trans. Joachim, Neugroschel (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1970), p. 45.Google Scholar See also Djilas, Milovan, The New Class (New York: Praeger, 1957), p. 143Google Scholar; Dragoljub Jovanovic, quoted in Kostunica, Vojislav and Cavoski, Kosta, Party Pluralism or Monism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985)Google Scholar [East European Monographs, no. 189], p. 161.
14 Lendvai, pp. 30, 119–24.
15 Schmidt, Peter, “The Citizens' Freedoms,” in Imre Szabo, et al., Socialist Concept of Human Rights (Budapest, Akademiai Kiado, 1966)Google Scholar [Series in Foreign Languages of the Institute for Legal and Administrative Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Nos. 1 and 2], pp. 256–57.
16 Reed, John, Ten Days That Shook the World, ed. Wolfe, Bertram D. (New York: Modern Library, 1960), p. 355Google Scholar; Keep, John L.H., ed. and trans. Debate on Soviet Power (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979), p. 71.Google Scholar Compare Trotsky, speech to Grenadier Regiment, quoted in Deutscher, Isaac, The Prophet Armed (London: Oxford University Press, 1954), p. 337Google Scholar n. 4.
17 Keep, p. 71. For a different recollection of Trotsky's remarks at this point, see Reed, p. 335.
18 Hook, Political Power, p. 401.
19 For an excellent brief discussion of why the Soviet Union is the appropriate existing socialist society on which to concentrate in considering the socialist project, see Berger, pp. 174–76.
20 For Russian history before February 1/14, 1918, I use the Julian calendar, rather than the Gregorian one.
21 Kenez, Peter, The Birth of the Propaganda State (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), p. 38CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Sukhanov, N.N., The Russian Revolution 1917, ed. and trans. Joel, Carmichael (1955; repr. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984), pp. 649–51Google Scholar; Resis, Albert, “Lenin on Freedom of the Press,” Russian Review, vol. 36, no. 3 (July 1977), pp. 285–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
23 Bunyan and Fisher, pp. 222–23; Reed, pp. 365, 391–92; Resis, p. 292.
24 See Kenez, p. 42.
25 There were two exceptions:
(1) During the civil war, the Bolsheviks permitted pro-Soviet non-Bolshevik political parties and groups to operate and to publish their own newspapers under censorship.
(2) Under the liberalized conditions of the NEP, beginning in 1921, private capitalists and independent cooperatives published books. Such private ventures together with the mildness of the government's literary censorship at this time permitted a literary renaissance in the 1920s.
On literary policy during the NEP, see Kenez, pp. 239–45.
This was the time of greatest liberalism in Soviet literary policy. See Simmons, Ernest J., “Introduction: Soviet Literature and Controls,” in Simmons, , ed., Through the Glass of Soviet Literature (New York: Columbia University Press, 1953), p. 6.Google Scholar On the limits of freedom of expression during the NEP, see Elleinstein, Jean, The Stalin Phenomenon, trans. Peter, Latham (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1976), p. 65Google Scholar; Abramovitch, Raphael R., The Soviet Revoluton, ed. Anatole, Shub, trans. Vera, Broido-Cohn and Jacob, Shapiro (New York: International Universities Press, 1962), pp. 225–26Google Scholar; Kolakowski, Leszek, Main Currents of Marxism, trans. P.S., Falla (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978), vol. 3, pp. 7Google Scholar, 45.
30 Mlynar, Zdenek, Notions of Political Pluralism in the Policy of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in 1968 (1979)Google Scholar [Research Project: “Experiences of the Prague Spring 1968,” Working Paper, No. 3] p. 18. For the text of the law abolishing the censorship, see White Paper on Czechoslovakia (Paris: International Committee for the Support of Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia, 1977), pp. 158–59.
31 Compare Hirszowicz, Maria, Coercion and Control in Communist Society (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1986), p. 47Google Scholar; Lendvai, p. 113.
32 Compare Wiles, P.J.D., Economic Institutions Compared (New York: John Wiley, 1977), pp. 466–67.Google Scholar
33 Kautsky, Karl, The Class Struggle (Erfurt Program) (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr, 1910), pp. 149–50Google Scholar
35 Rizzi, , The Bureaucratization of the World (London: Tavistock Publications, 1975), p. 79.Google Scholar Compare Roy Medvedev's comment that under capitalism, “firms and monopolies are more or less indifferent to the religious and political persuasions of their employees.” Medvedev, R., Political Essays (Nottingham: Spokesman Books, 1976), p. 36.Google Scholar
Compare also Kautsky's comment:
In capitalist countries the masses of the people have a hundred times more opportunity for real knowledge, not mere drilled and regimented Communist talk; a hundred times more opportunity to break the educational monopoly of the ruling class than in the land of so-called “proletarian” dictatorship.
Kautsky, Social Democracy versus Communism, p. 92.
36 Rizzi, pp. 51, 75–76, 79–80.
37 Mill, , On Liberty, Collected Works, ed. J.M., Robson (Toronto: University of Toronto, 1963– ), vol. 18, p. 306.Google Scholar
38 Adamiak, Richard, “State and Society in Early Socialist Thought,” Survey, vol. 26, no. 1, whole no. 114 (Winter 1982), pp. 22–23.Google Scholar
39 Kolakowski, Main Currents, vol. 3, pp. 527–28.
40 Liehm, Antonin J., “On Culture, Politics, Recent History, the Generations – and also on Conversations,” in Liehm, , ed., The Politics of Culture (New York: Grove Press, 1973), p. 80.Google Scholar
Compare the comments of George Orwell:
If we are to have full Socialism, then clearly the writer must be State-supported, and ought to be placed among the better-paid groups. But so long as we have an economy like the present one, in which there is a great deal of State enterprise but also large areas of private capitalism, then the less truck a writer has with the State, or any other organized body, the better for him and his work. There are invariably strings tied to any kind of official patronage.
“Questionnaire: The Cost of Letters,” Horizon [London], vol. 14, whole no. 81 (September 1946), p. 158. See also discussion of this passage in Woodcock, George, “George Orwell, 19th Century Liberal,” in Jeffrey, Meyers, ed., George Orwell: The Critical Heritage (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975), p. 244.Google Scholar
41 Miliband, , “Lenin's The State and Revolution” in Ralph, Miliband and John, Saville, eds., The Socialist Register, 1970 (London: Merlin Press, 1970), p. 316.Google Scholar
42 Yunker, James A., Socialism in the Free Market (New York: Nellen Publishing Company, 1979), pp. 199–200.Google Scholar
44 See, for example, the discussion of job discrimination in existing socialist societies in Medvedev, R., On Socialist Dissent: Interviews with Piero Ostellino (New York: Columbia University Press, 1980), pp. 19Google Scholar, 22; R. Medvedev, Political Essays, pp. 15, 89; Mlynar, Zdenek, Relative Stabilization of the Soviet Systems in the 1970s (Cologne: Index, 1983)Google Scholar [Research Project: Crises in Soviet-Type Systems, Study No. 2], pp. 6, 15; Sik, Ota, The Communist Power System, trans. Freidberg, Marianne Grund (New York: Praeger, 1981), p. 103Google Scholar; Berger, p. 63. Richter anticipated the problem of political job discrimination under socialism. See Richter, Eugen, Pictures of the Socialistic Future, trans. Henry, Wright (London: Swan Sonnenschein, 1893), p. 16.Google Scholar
45 Macpherson, C.B., Democratic Theory: Essays in Retrieval (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973), pp. 153–54.Google Scholar See also Russell, Bertrand, Proposed Roads to Freedom (New York: Henry Holt, 1919), pp. 177–78Google Scholar; Chevigny, Paul G., “Reflections on Civil Liberties under Socialism,” Civil Liberties Review, vol. 2, no. 1 (Winter 1975), pp. 55–57.Google Scholar I am indebted to Robert Hessen for bringing Chevigny's article to my attention.
46 Spargo, p. 227; Liehm, “On Culture, Politics, Recent History,” p. 80; Sidney Hook, “Is Freedom of the Press Possible in a Planned Society? Discussion Notes,” May 4, 1942, unpublished ms., Sidney Hook Papers, Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University, p. 2; Hook, Political Power, p. 405.
47 I owe this point on liberty of the press and a socialist guaranteed income to discussion with David Gordon. See Guyot, Yves, Socialist Fallacies (New York: Macmillan, 1910), pp. 247–48Google Scholar,250 for a quite similar discussion.
48 Hook, “Is Freedom of the Press Possible?,” p. 2. See also Hook, , Reason, Social Myths, and Democracy (New York: John Day, 1940), p. 126Google Scholar; Hook, Political Power, p. 405.
49 See Yunker, p. 202.
50 Hook, Political Power, pp. 34–35, 47–48, 64–65. David Gordon directed my attention to Hook's stance on judicial review.
52 On the press as an educational instrument under socialism, see Laidler, Harry W., Socializing Our Democracy (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1935), p. 272Google Scholar; Foster, William Z., Toward Soviet America (New York: Coward-McCann, 1932), p. 317Google Scholar; Mitra Mitrovic-Djilas, quoted in Kostunica and Cavoski, p. 157.
53 Thomas, America's Way Out, pp. 210–11.
54 Liehm, “On Culture, Politics, Recent History,” p. 80. On the supply and demand for public assistance to culture, see Friedman, Milton, Capitalism and Freedom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962), p. 18.Google Scholar
55 For an example of a socialist theorist's dismissal of economic constraints as applying to cultural products in a socialist society, see Kautsky, Karl, The Social Revolution (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr, 1905), pp. 181–83.Google Scholar
56 See Richter, p. 85.
58 Liehm, “On Culture, Politics, Recent History,” p. 83. Compare Havemann, Robert, Questions Answers Questions, trans. Salvator, Attanasio (Garden City: Doubleday, 1972), p. 213.Google Scholar
59 Picard, Robert G., The Press and the Decline of Democracy (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1985), p. 43.Google Scholar
60 Bebel, August, Woman Under Socialism, trans. Daniel, De Leon (New York: New York Labor News Press, 1904), p. 334.Google Scholar
61 Goldberg, Bruce, “Skinner's Behaviorist Utopia,” in Machan, Tibor R., ed., The Libertarian Alternative (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1974), p. 113.Google Scholar
62 Bebel, pp. 289–91. See also Kautsky, Socialist Revolution, pp. 174–75; Sidney, and Webb, Beatrice, The Consumer's Co-operative Movement (London: Longmans, Green, 1921), p. 481.Google Scholar On the effect of Bebel's policy on specialization of talent, see Von Mises, Ludwig, Socialism, trans. Jacques, Kahane, 2nd ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1951), p. 190Google Scholar; Spargo, pp. 277–82; Schaeffle, Albert, The Impossibility of Social Democracy (London: Swan Sonnenschein, 1892), pp. 161–63.Google Scholar In development of this point, I benefited from discussion with David Gordon.
63 Kautsky, Social Revolution, pp. 178–79; Kautsky, , The Labour Revolution, trans. H.J., Stenning (New York: Dial Press, 1925), pp. 186–87Google Scholar; Bellamy, Edward, Looking Backward, 2000–1887, ed. Thomas, John L. (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1967), p. 202CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Besant, Annie, “Industry under Socialism,” in Shaw, George Bernard, ed., Fabian Essays in Socialism (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1931), pp. 148–49Google Scholar; Spargo, p. 294; Sinclair, p. 409; Soule, George, The Future of Liberty (New York: Macmillan, 1936), pp. 175–76Google Scholar; Laidler, pp. 158, 283; Hook, “Is Freedom of the Press Possible?”, p. 1; Hook, Political Power, p. 405; Chevigny, p. 58; Picard, p. 67; Yunker, p. 201; Sidney, and Webb, Beatrice, A Constitution for the Socialist Commonwealth of Great Britain (1920; reprint, London: Cambridge University Press, 1975), p. 270Google Scholar; Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Consumers' Co-operative Movement, pp. 411–13. For a contemporary critic of Bellamy's account of liberty of the press under economic nationalism whose criticism focuses on the monopsony of employment and the military discipline of labor, see Michaelis, Richard, Looking Further Backward (London: William Reeves, ), pp. 12Google Scholar, 19, 20, 23–24, 30, 36–37, 39.
64 See Hillquit, in Hillquit, Morris and Ryan, John A., Socialism: Promise or Menace (New York: Macmillan, 1914), p. 87.Google Scholar Compare Thomas, Norman M., Socialism on the Defensive (New York: Harper & Bros., 1938), p. 228Google Scholar; Thomas, , A Socialist's Faith (New York: Norton, 1951), p. 219Google Scholar; Howe, Irving and Coser, Lewis A., “Images of Socialism,” in Howe, , Steady Work (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1966), p. 289.Google Scholar Compare also Lenin, V.I., ”Draft Resolution on Freedom of the Press,“ Collected Works, 4th ed. (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1960–1970), vol. 26, p. 283Google Scholar; Abramovitch, p. 305; Lenin, ”How to Guarantee the Success of the Constituent Assembly“, Collected Works, vol. 25, p. 378; V.I. Lenin, ”Theses and Report on Bourgeois Democracy and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat,” Collected Works, vol. 28, p. 461.
65 Stodddart, Jane T., The New Socialism (New York: Hodder & Stoughton, ), p. 146.Google Scholar See also Wiles, pp. 479, 484–85.
66 Mises, p. 191.
67 For example, G.D.H. Cole proposes socialized ownership of the presses, which could be rented by groups wishing to publish a newspaper. Cole, , Fabian Socialism (London: Allen & Unwin, 1943), p. 41Google Scholar; see also Bellamy, pp. 199, 203.
68 In fact, the government originally created the machine tractor stations because it did not wish to have the entire means of agricultural production solely in the hands of the collective farms. Medvedev, Roy A. and Medvedev, Zhores A., Khrushchev: The Years in Power (New York: Columbia University Press, 1976), p. 86Google Scholar; Wiles, p. 141; Heller, Mikhail and Nekrich, Aleksandr M., Utopia in Power (New York: Summit Books, 1986), p. 240.Google Scholar
69 See Swidlicki, Andrew, “The Struggle for the Media in Poland,” Telos, no. 47 (Spring 1981), pp. 115Google Scholar, 122.
70 Bellamy, pp. 199,203; Spargo, p. 290; Deslinieres, Lucian, L'Application du Systeme CoUectiviste (Paris: Librairie de la Revue Socialists 1899), p. 359Google Scholar; Besant, p. 148; Russell, p. 180.
71 On royalties, see Bellamy, pp. 199–200; Spargo, pp. 289, 291; Besant, p. 148.
72 Mises, p. 191.
73 H. G. Wells and Upton Sinclair, for example, are most emphatic that distribution must remain in the hands of the government. Wells, , New Worlds for Old (New York: Macmillan, 1919), p. 281Google Scholar; Sinclair, p. 409. See also Bellamy, p. 199; G.D.H. Cole, Fabian Socialism, p. 41; Wiles, pp. 462,466.
74 Wiles suggests that the kolkhoz is best understood as a “queer kind of sovkhoz, maximizing plan fulfillment.” See Wiles, p. 146.
75 Spargo, pp. 131, 133.
76 Brus, Wlodzimierz, “Political Pluralism and Markets in Communist Systems,” in Solomon, Susan Gross, ed., Pluralism in the Soviet Union (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1982), pp. 112Google Scholar, 117,120, 127.
78 R. Medvedev, Political Essays, pp. 36–38.
79 The Soviet Mass Media: Aims and Organization, Past and Present (Moscow: Novosti Press Agency Publishing House, 1979), pp. 12,14; Strachey, John, The Theory and Practice of Socialism (New York: Random House, 1936), p. 215Google Scholar; Laidler, pp. 158, 283; Lendvai, p. 185.
80 Georges Marchais, Secretary-General of the French Communist Party, says this sort of non-competitive multiparty system would be the basis of political pluralism in a socialist Western Europe of the future. Kolakowski, Leszek, “Eurocommunist Schism,” Dissent, vol. 25, no. 1, whole no. 110 (Winter 1978), p. 36.Google Scholar
81 Triska, Jan F., ed., Constitutions of the Communist Party-States (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1968), p. 402.Google Scholar
82 Havemann, pp. 216, 219–20, 241.
84 For example, Liebknecht, Wilhelm, Socialism: What It Is and What It Seeks to Accomplish, trans. Simmons, May Wood (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr, ), pp. 57–58.Google Scholar It might seem from Engels's criticism of a draft of the Erfurt Program of the German Social Democrats that he favored permitting private educational institutions under socialism. A passage in this piece in which Engels says that one cannot forbid religious persons from founding their own schools with “their own funds” is cited by Hunt as revealing Engels's “liberal and Victorian sense of decency.” Hunt, Richard N., The Political Ideas of Marx and Engels (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1974–1984), vol. 2, pp. 181–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar But Engels's reference to the religious persons' “own funds” shows that he is talking about educational reform and church disestablishment in what he considered capitalist societies, not about private schooling under Marxian socialism, which from the outset of proletarian rule would have a moneyless economy.
85 Howe, , “An Answer to Critics of American Socialism,” review of Socialism and American Life, ed., Stow, Persons and Egbert, Donald Drew, New International, vol. 18, no. 3, whole no. 154 (May-June 1952), p. 132.Google Scholar
86 See Hook, Political Power, p. 432.
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88 See, for example, Stouffer, Samuel A., Communism, Conformity and Civil Liberties (Garden City: Doubleday, 1955).Google Scholar
89 Schumpeter, , Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1942), p. 150.Google Scholar Compare Wiles, p. 461; Max Eastman, “Socialism and Freedom: A Critique of Sidney Hook,” in Hook, Political Power, pp. 410, 411, 413. For confirmation of Schumpeter's analysis by J.P. Nettl, a sociologist sympathetic to socialism, see Nettl, , “Ideas, Intellectuals, and Structures of Dissent,” in Philip, Rieff, ed., On Intellectuals (Garden City: Doubleday, 1969), pp. 56–57.Google Scholar See also discussion of Schumpeter and Nettl in Lipset, Seymour Martin and Dodson, Richard B., “The Intellectual as Critic and Rebel: With Special Reference to the United States and the Soviet Union,” Daedalus, Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, vol. 101, no. 3 (Summer 1972), p. 183.Google Scholar Edgar Z. Friedenberg, a sociologist sympathetic to socialism, likewise maintains that capitalist institutional structures protect civil liberties. See Friedenberg, , “Our Class-Biased Bill of Rights,” Civil Liberties Review, vol. 3, no. 4 (October-November 1976), pp. 67Google Scholar, 70, 76–77. See also Heilbroner, Robert L., in “Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy: A Symposium,” Commentary, vol. 65, no. 4 (April 1978), p. 46.Google Scholar
90 For at least tacit acknowledgement that such measures are deviations from a thoroughgoing application of socialist planning principles, see Kautsky, Social Revolution, pp. 182–83; Bellamy, pp. 200,204; Russell, pp. 180–81; G.D.H. Cole, Fabian Socialism, pp. 40–41; Spargo, p. 298; Besant, pp. 148–49; Wells, pp. 275–83; Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Consumers' Co-operative Movement, p. 412; Hook, Political Power, pp. 403–4; Picard, p. 67; Yunker, pp. 200–201; Connolly, p. 190. Compare Bukharin, , quoted in Stephen, Cohen, Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution (New York: Knopf, 1973), p. 205.Google Scholar
91 On the sociological implications of the nomenklatura and central planning for liberty of the press under socialism, see Evers, Williamson M., “Limits of Liberty of the Press in Political Theory from Milton to Hocking,” Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University, 1987, pp. 301–6Google Scholar, 324–25, 331–62.
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