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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO TOM HAYDEN

12:00 AM, Sep 9, 1996 • By VINCENT CARROLL
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Just as he did 30 years ago, Hayden yearns incoherently for a decentralized village culture "connected to the land." His would be a village culture sustained, however, by only the vaguest sort of private property rights. Although Hayden no longer calls for the abolition of private property, the right to own land still leaves him uneasy; how can any piece of this planet belong to us, after all, when we are merely "sojourners upon God's good earth"? All this bucolic hokum from a man who resides in Santa Monica.


If The Lost Gospel adds anything new to the Hayden oeuvre, it would seem to be a large dose of weirdness. Here is Hayden describing a transcendental moment he experienced while wading in a stream: "One day I even felt the water inside me while being in the water outside me. The stream ran through me; I was buoyed by water within my body that swelled to join the river through the porous boundary of myself."


He relates an equally bizarre encounter with a musk ox in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. During it, the animal "delivered a message, all witnesses later agreed," based upon the creature's "3 million years" experience."


At 56, it seems, Hayden has come a long long way from his lessons at the Shrine of the Little Flower School. But rest assured, he is not through. He notes approvingly, for example, that Thoreau's last words are said to have been "moose" and "Indians." What will Hayden's be, one wonders? What enthusiasm will have turned his head 20 years from now?


One thing is certain: It will fit the reigning leftwing Zeitgeist. For Tom Hayden is nothing if not a man of the herd.



Vincent Carroll last wrote for THE WEEKLY STANDARD about the Worldwatch Institute.