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I'd appreciate some discussion of the question of _methodology_ here. Often, as here on this list, "Hiss" is simply a "club to beat the other side with". Anti-communists appear eager to "convict" Hiss, which would presumably prove something. But what? That the Soviets spied on the US? That spies lie? That communists operate under a different concept of "patriotism" than anti-communists do? Those things hardly need proving, do they? Anti-anti-communists, communists, and pro-communists often appear to be just as eager to "exonerate" Hiss, because doing so makes the Cold War _Gleichschaltung_, often called "McCarthyism", appear to be unjustified, an attack by reactionaries on decent progressives, and the like. But why wouldn't defenders of capitalism attack communists and, along with them, anyone who worked with them, refused to 'demonize' them, etc.? One more article in an anti-communist journal claiming that Hiss' "guilt" has been "proven" is of no more interest than one more article in an anti-anti-communist, or communist, or pro-communist, etc., journal, claiming Hiss was framed. Such material simply serves to solidify positions already long since taken. It seems to me that the methodological question here is far more important than the mere matter of Hiss' "guilt", and should be of general interest, even to those of us who do not care about Hiss or "Hiss", the person or the _cause celebre_. There ought to be a rational, "scientific" basis for determining the probability of someone's "guilt" or "innocence", based on the gathering and examination of the evidence that exists. I'm concerned with it most immediately because I'm preparing an article on the question of whether Leon Trotsky in fact conspired with Japan and Germany, as alleged in the Moscow Trials. As with the "Hiss" case -- and, in fact, with _most_ historical investigation -- there is no "smoking gun": no single piece of evidence so compelling that all but fanatics are compelled to accept it. As with the "Hiss" case, there is a lot of circumstantial evidence. The problems are the same: How to find and identify the evidence; how to analyze, or understand it; how to draw the correct, = rational, scientific, conclusions from it. How to find the truth, "and let the chips fall where they may." This is the responsibility of historians -- a responsibility we ought to see as far more important than supporting or defending one "side." For that matter, how "good" is any "side" that does _not_ benefit from an airing of the truth? Is there, in fact, any attempt in print, anywhere, at a dispassionate examination -- or even a listing -- of the evidence that exists? I'm not even especially interested if such a study draws any conclusions, for we have "conclusions" aplenty, most of them contradicting other "conclusions." Just an examination, or even a listing, of the evidence, would be of use to those of us who are not passionately involved. And that must include the vast majority of historians by far! It certainly includes me. Sincerely, Grover Furr Montclair SU