The orbits of two men collided several times. One was clever, the other brilliant. Both came from families touched by troubles.
The clever one seemed to know how to play the game, how to kiss up to the right people and provide a train of contacts. He knew how to dress and act for success. His path from Johns Hopkins to Harvard Law involved playing the rules properly and never get his hands dirty. His only experience with commerce was selling lemonade to workmen in the neighborhood when he was a child. He served as a law clerk for a Supreme Court Justice and joined a major law firm. Then he went into Government, serving as counsel to an investigative committee headed by two Republican Senators before moving into the Department of Agriculture.
The brilliant one was a bit of a rebel and rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. He got the boot from Columbia and went on the road. He was soon an operative of the USSR as part of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). The brilliant friend became a master of many languages and earned money doing translations, Bambi being the most famous. The brilliant friend never ‘dressed for success’ and gave little thought about personal appearance.
The two men became friends and fellow conspiratorial agents during the 1930s but events seemed to have had an effect on one but not the other. The brilliant revolutionary became a father and had experienced the dismay that many ‘progressives’ felt when Stalin decided that fascism was tolerable if two monsters could share the loot. The brilliant friend quit the CPUSA and tried to encourage his friends to do the same. His clever friend decided to stay with the winning side.
While the clever friend never got any closer to agriculture than a desk in Washington, the brilliant friend became a working farmer as well as senior editor at a respected publication.
The brilliant friend was concerned that Soviet agents still in place in the Federal Government could weaken the resolve of the West to stand up to global tyranny. After being hit with a libel suit about CPUSA ties to his former friend, the brilliant friend was obliged to present evidence of espionage The resulting trial and conviction of the clever friend created a split in leftist circles and a cottage industry in contrived exoneration attempts.
If we were to compare academic records, personal appearance, and big-name connections, the clever friend comes out on top. Yet on his creative skills and integrity when it was most needed, the brilliant one is the one worthy of admiration.
I need not mention the names of the parties.