PROLOGUE TO DISASTER
Neville Chamberlain: Volume One, Pioneering and Reform, 1869-1929
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984
xi + 645 pp., $29.95
By Paul A. Basinski
It is no easy task to find a balanced as well as comprehensive account of Neville Chamberlain's career. His political life appears checkered, viewed as it so often is through the lens of the Munich debacle. David Dilks's first volume of a projected two-part biography of the life of Chamberlain comes as a relief. In his opening volume, Dilks, an historian of early twentieth-century Britain and professor at the University of Leeds, takes the story of Chamberlain's life up to 1929, the year the Local Government act was passed.
Chamberlain spent nearly a decade of his life nurturing this bill to completion. The act was perhaps the most comprehensive piece of legislation ever produced by a Parliament. It was a five-year plan designed to cover the whole field of health, housing, local taxation and rating, and was to be carried out methodically by twenty-five Bills neatly spaced over each succeeding session of the five-years Parliament. Echoing contemporary sentiments in America, Chamberlain declared that local government was nearer to the homes and closer to the hearts of people; it was "something friendly, familiar and accessible and yet above, standing as a guardian angel between them and ill-health or injustice" (p. 572). This legislative work was the highlight of Chamberlain's career to 1929 and as such a fitting end for Dilks's initial opus. The author suggests throughout his first volume that Chamberlain's painstaking penchant for detail was his strongest attribute, a quality that he possessed in abundance and used to great advantage not only in the 1920s, but throughout his rise to power in British politics.
Dilks's work is the first to make thorough use of all the official records of Chamberlain's life. Since the first authorized biography appeared forty years ago, a great deal of material has come to light that Dilks states has "deepened our knowledge" of both the public and private dimensions of Chamberlain's life (p. ix). The biographer's task throughout is to make use of these voluminous sources to convey "what it was like to be with Chamberlain" (p. xi). Dilks recognizes that he is working against a tainted image of Chamberlain as the architect of appeasement, an image that has ingrained itself in the historical consciousness of the post-World War II generation. Only by meticulously reconstructing the type of man Chamberlain was, as he had risen to power, can Dilks hope to dispel any lingering doubts about the British statesman. It is precisely these historical demons that the author exorcises, with a penchant for detail that Chamberlain himself might have admired. I assume that this process of enlightenment will continue as Dilks turns in his next volume to Hitler's decade and Chamberlain's confrontation with "that man."
Chamberlain was a master of minutiae, as his colleague through the 1920s and '30s, Samuel Hoare, noted. Hoare called his friend the "analyst," and cites as evidence of Chamberlain's profound power of grasping details, the aforementioned program for the reform of local government. Chamberlain's mind was analytic; his virtue lay in his ability to comprehend and manage facts, sorting and arranging information to produce desired results. Dilks suggests that only Chamberlain could have grasped the essentials, and possessed the necessary patience, to see the Local Government bill through to its conclusion, producing a quiet revolution in British politics that still reverberates today: "It has been well said that Chamberlain contributed more than any other minister of the twentieth century to the conception of national policies locally administered which underlies much of British government to this day" (p. 577).
However, as A. J. P. Taylor wrote, "in a crisis good will and efficiency are, not enough." Nor are the qualities of amicability and comprehension of facts alone sufficient qualifications for statesmen. Chamberlain, quite simply, was not a great statesman. And it is important to understand why he wasn't. Yet a careful reading of Dilks's biography could lead someone to the opposite conclusion-that efficiency and good will are suitable in dark times. That mistake was nearly fatal in the 1930s. In order to understand why Chamberlain was not a great statesman, we must closely scrutinize Dilks's biography.
The work is divided into three parts of roughly equal length. The first of these three parts ends in 1918 with Chamberlain nearly fifty and about to enter the House of Commons for the first time. Chamberlain himself recollected a dictum of Gladstone's at this stage of his life "that a man could no more become a member of Parliament at 40 than a woman could a ballet girl at the same age" (p. 256). His misgivings about his break with local politics in his hometown of Birmingham proved unfounded; Chamberlain learned the tune of national politics and was able to keep in step, at times leading the dance. In fact, it was the long fructification of Chamberlain's powers in the shadow of his father Joseph that accounts for a measure of his success-as well as failure-when he finally broke onto the national scene. Young Neville was nurtured on the politics of Joseph Chamberlain and grew in power himself through grants from that elder statesman. Comparing Neville to his half-brother Austen, the father said: "Of my two boys Neville is really the clever one, but he isn't interested in politics; if he was, I would back him to be Prime Minister" (p.86). There is a grain of truth to this. Joe Chamberlain's devotion to his son was intense, and he was prepared to go to any length to see him succeed. Despite his devotion, in fact Chamberlain's father did little to urge his son into the political arena.
Close-knit loyalties between Neville and his sisters were also crucial to his maturation. Dilks's single biggest source of information for the first fifty years of Chamberlain's life was the correspondence between Neville and his unmarried sisters. They called themselves "the Click," and if a single member was hit, they all hit back. Family provided an essential support network for Chamberlain, as he rose to his highest post in local politics, Lord Mayor of Birmingham. Yet the long period spent with his family and in Birmingham politics also proved an impediment to the young politician. He found it difficult at first to adjust to government on the national level, after having attained a measure of success in Birmingham. Attlee called him a radio set tuned to Midland Regional. As Dilks evinces, it was World War I that provided the impetus for Chamberlain to emerge finally on the national scene.
Chamberlain was not equipped to make the transition from provincial life to national politics. His initial post in London was in the cabinet of Lloyd George as Director-General of National Service. The duty thus fell to Chamberlain to orchestrate the conscription of future soldiers to man the trenches opposite the Kaiser's army. Dilks rightly goes into great detail about Chamberlain's important work at National Service and his attempts to master the intricacies of what was, after all, an agency that had not even existed until he took up the post. Although Dilks deserves praise for his meticulous description of this critical juncture between local and national politics in Chamberlain's career, he is far too quick to come to his protagonist's defense when criticism is required. He blurs those criteria for statesmanship first propounded in ancient Athens, and nurtured in succeeding generations, standards we must keep in mind in order to determine what greatness is in national leadership.
Perhaps the crucial indicator of statesmanship was suggested by Bagehot in his observation of Britain's highest office:
The Prime Minister is at the head of our business and like every head of business he ought to have mind in reserve. He must be able to take a fresh view of new contingencies and keep an animated curiosity as to coming events. If he suffer himself to be involved in minutiae, some great change in the world, some Franco-Prussian war may break out, like a thief in the night, and if he has no elastic thought and no spare energy he may make the worst errors.
In Birmingham, Chamberlain was able to dictate the speed of events around him. He brought into play his laborious power of detail in order to manage affairs. However, thrown into national politics at quite literally a day's notice, he lacked that mind and reserve necessary for him to rise to the occasion. At this point of the story, Dilks is perhaps too quick to forgive what was an obvious failure on Chamberlain's part. For example, the author cites a letter from Violet Markham on Chamberlain's mismanagement of National Service, written at a time when Britain was desperately in need of manpower to continue the war: "She blamed Chamberlain . . . for his lacking quick wits and the power of grasping a situation, the ability to run an administration and the will to fight his department's battles" (p. 247). This is all valid criticism. Yet Dilks attempts to explain away Chamberlain's failure, when the truth is he simply did not have the quickness of mind to help Lloyd George bring the war to a speedy conclusion. Another five years and perhaps Chamberlain's organizational abilities could have regularized the conscription process. However, the War Cabinet knew that Britain needed rapid results and that the nation could not tolerate the loss of life such a project would entail. Chamberlain lacked the virtue Aristotle called prudence, the power to deliberate and act on what is right and good for the political community-especially at times of greatest danger to it. Lacking this quality, when called to duty by Lloyd George in the midst of war, Chamberlain's response at National Service proved ineffectual. Perhaps this is why Dilks does not quote Lloyd George's well-known appraisal of Chamberlain, an appraisal that echoes Bagehot's observations: "Mr. Neville Chamberlain is a man of rigid competency. Such men have their uses in conventional times or in conventional positions, and are indispensable for filling subordinate posts at all times. But they are lost in an emergency or in creative tasks at any time."
The return to a degree of normality in the 1920s suited Chamberlain. It is roughly at this point in the biography that Dilks opens his final section. With the crisis of war passed, Chamberlain's administrative powers were again skillfully utilized to forge changes in the British system of politics that have proved as durable as they are thorough. During the 1920s Chamberlain became head of the Ministry of Health. Having resigned his wartime post, he eagerly plunged into learning the minutiae of the Health ministry. The first decade of his life at Westminister culminated in the aforementioned construction and passage of the Local Government bill. What then does Dilks make of Chamberlain's career up to the point when he neared the pinnacle of power? He had moved from the quiet, urbane politics of Birmingham where one man could still grasp and manage affairs, to national life where he prospered in ministerial posts after a shaky start. Since Dilks makes much of Chamberlain's early life-his devotion to family and local ties-a look back at this early career might prove instructive in summarizing with some finality the powers Chamberlain both possessed and lacked.
Perhaps the greatest testimonial to the young Neville's painstaking attempts to master the intricacies of his environment was his project of growing sisal for profit on a small island in the Bahamas, at the command of Joseph Chamberlain. The young man barely twenty earnestly set to work at this arduous task, for half a decade. Dilks is impressed with Chamberlain's dogged determination under the most horrendous conditions, to create a sisal plantation in accordance with his father's wishes: "Neville Chamberlain would rise at five and . . . repair to the patch of land being cleared of undergrowth and coppice, oversee the landing of lumber, direct the men or take an axe himself and do what he described as a 'little work'" (p. 48).
This is instructive testimony of the perseverance and attention to detail that Chamberlain displayed throughout his life. Even in a blisteringly hot environment he gave a project doomed to failure his undivided attention. "To be sure, much of the work was not worthy of his attention; but someone had to do it and at least in this way, by acquiring a thorough knowledge of the people and the duties, he would be better placed to oversee the plantation and organize the labor most effectively" (p. 53).
At Andros in the Bahamas, in World War I, and in the twilight of his career, as Hitler's power increased, Chamberlain lacked the vision necessary to see where his efforts would lead. In the only conversation of significance that the two men had in their many decades of public life together, Chamberlain related to Winston Churchill his story of the vain attempt to grow sisal.
Churchill had no idea of the pioneering spirit that impelled the introverted Chamberlain. In his recollection of their conversation in The Gathering Storm, Sir Winston noted: "What a pity that Hitler did not know when he met this sober English politician with his umbrella at . . . Munich that he was actually talking to a hard bitten pioneer from the outer marches of the British Empire." Churchill himself was exiled to the outer marches throughout the 1930s. We should not let his magnanimous appraisal of Chamberlain's early life blind us to his later deficiencies.
Are we wrong to blame this sober English politician with his umbrella? Perhaps the very complexity of modern society militates against the production of the conditions necessary to bring forth statesmen. The single mind that could survey the entire scene and make sense of it may be an impossibility-a thing of the past. If so, then it might be that the rational managers-the Chamberlains-are sufficient for the survival of political society. And yet, thoughts of De Gaulle and Churchill linger in recent memory. Churchill himself wrote: "The great figures who have hitherto guided the world in previous generations are absent now and seem to be increasingly lacking at the summits of all the main spheres of thought and action." Writing this in the 1930s, Churchill was mercifully incorrect, for Britain and France still possessed statesmen of the highest caliber to see them through the dark times ahead. Were they the last of the great statesmen? One hopes not. At any rate, Dilks permits us a look at the intricacies of Chamberlain's mind; a perspective of both his successes and failures. His detailed biography is a welcome edition to British scholarship. I eagerly await Mr. Dilks's treatment of Chamberlain as Prime Minister and his confrontation with the dictators.
SOUTHERN, AND AMERICAN CONSERVATISM
Remembering Who We Are: Observations of a Southern Conservative
M. E. Bradford
Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1985
xx + 170 pp., $15.95
By David Broyles
In this collection of his essays written over the last fifteen years, Professor Bradford shows that he has forgotten something crucial: the promise our Southern fathers made when they laid down their arms at Appomattox begging that their lives be spared in return for unqualified loyalty to the Union. It now appears that a little while after this pledge had been given (and the lives of our ancestors spared) the fighting began again, now removed to new battlefields in the universities where literature and literary criticism are important, and social and political philosophy even more so. Mr. Bradford and his mentor, the late Richard Weaver of the University of Chicago, are the most contemporary actors in this last battle of the Civil War. Their "Remember who we are" is a more authoritative slogan, of course, than that gracing the Redneck automobile license, "Fergit, hell!" Unfortunately, however, it is merely a polite version of the same thing.
Professors Bradford and Weaver think of themselves as heirs of their beloved Agrarian writers who gathered at Vanderbilt University in the 1920s and '30s, and of William Faulkner as well. In talks given both in and out of the South, Bradford celebrates these writers for their appreciation of context, both social and literary, and for their making and remaking of myth, an activity to which Bradford devotes himself in the fifth and final part of Remembering. These commentaries are safely literary and cultural. Others, however, expose to Southern audiences a more directly political passion. In place of the Agrarian writers' vague comments decrying history's advancing depersonalization, Bradford substitutes his own political doctrine. He announces this doctrine in Part One of Remembering while he applies it in Part Four to especially important national legislation-legislation about subsidies to the arts and humanities and about immigration laws. His risk-taking is rewarded when he flushes out angry New York Times responses by establishment liberals: Bradford fences skillfully with such men, and readers can sit back arid enjoy every minute of it.
Bradford believes now, as Weaver did before him, that "ideas have consequences." He is an exemplar of sanity among those colorless legions for whom the academic world is a matter of drifting through nihilism. He has diligently applied his very considerable talents to acquiring familiarity with a vast literature, one which includes not only the Southern Agrarians but the American Founding and the Civil War as well. He has an engaging style, moreover, and a fine skill at myth-making and elegant argumentation. He calls this argumentation rhetoric, or, as he characterizes it more precisely, epideictic rhetoric, thereby emphasizing its likeness to myth-making.
Thus Bradford is an able and well-armed warrior in the Southern cause. Like Weaver before him, he attempts to capture his university world for "an aristoi, a new version of the old idea called 'gentlemen.'" He believes further that his new aristoi can attract a ready following outside the university. Or it can if the opportunity is seized and things are managed rightly, especially the rhetoric. Bradford believes that the new aristoi can lead an elite guard of the supporters of George Wallace, supplying a leaven necessary to a Republican Party which otherwise lies heavy in the hands of the oligarchs. These Wallaceites, he argues (and surely correctly), are frustrated and angry at a leadership which tries to get by with little more than economic reforms. Bradford's only mistake is to be inattentive to the fact that there are also non-Southerners who supported Wallace. But who can blame him overly much for that? At least he offers a serious apology for his regionalism, making it the central Part Three of his book. There he defends the Agrarians' Southern patrimony with great charm and wit.
It is unfortunate, however, that Bradford insists on confusing contemporary enemies with historic ones. An anger not unknown to most Southerners up to the present plays a major part in shaping Bradford's viewpoint. He is surely mad as hell. It is his anger, not his reason, which teaches him that the liberal ideologues of contemporary politics, those who crusade to impose an inhuman equality on our constitutional system, are identical in spirit with the ones that we had to endure when a "hasty and uncircumstanced emancipation" was forced on us. Thus it is quite possible that Bradford's famous attacks on Abraham Lincoln are attributable to his undifferentiated resentment over all injustice, both the injustice of Reconstruction and that of liberal tyrannizing. This confused sense of injustice is, again, not unknown among many Southerners who have been deeply affected by the Civil War.
But Professor Bradford's resentment is so deep and abiding as to numb intelligence and falsify memory. He forgets, first of all, that Lincoln was not an Abolitionist and that the Emancipation Proclamation was an act not of preferred policy but of military necessity. This mistake, however, is the outgrowth of another, of an intransigent unwillingness to admit that the racist theories of his ancestors were an innovative denial of the principles of the Union which they had defended with gallantry in the early days. The arguments that advanced slavery as a "positive good" instead of a necessary evil, developed assiduously from the Missouri Compromise to the Civil War, were, after all, the cause of the whole bloody business, including the military emergency which was forced on Lincoln. While such intransigence might be appropriate in the face of the contemporary bullies of "millennialism," it is a pure error to show it in the face of Lincoln's statesmanship, especially since the facts of this statesmanship have been so clearly pointed out in scholarly exchanges with Professor Harry Jaffa.*
In a remarkable section of Remembering, Part Two, Bradford extends his angry nonhistory back to the Founding. The Founders, he argues, were not at all poets or philosophers of the Revolution. (Bradford often confuses poets and philosophers.) They were, rather, his own kind of men-bearers of tradition, prescriptive men, men whose "primary purpose was to preserve the fruits of the American Revolution and the given world, the accepted 'way,' for the sake of which it had been fought." Further, "they appealed more successfully to images of known felicity-ineluctable realities tacitly acknowledged-than to bright prospects and the fruits of innovation." Bradford continues, in what resolves itself into a kind of lawyer's brief, to say that, even if they had been men of theory, they could not have been the kind of "state of nature" and "natural rights" ideologues who abound today. They were, rather, moderate men, and men of experience, men fully aware of "man's sinfulness."
Bradford's treatment of history is suspect to say the least. The suspicion lurks that this gifted man, had he wanted to argue the other side, could have found passages from John C. Calhoun praising Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence. After all, his making the Founders sound more like Anti-Federalists than Federalists is no mean trick in itself. The sense of frustration lingers until the reader realizes that Bradford's histories are not histories at all but argument and myth-making. They are licensed only by the hypothetical, "put the case that. . . ." Moreover, their value lies only in their utility for a grand strategy which must stand or fall on its own merits. It is important therefore to examine this grand strategy in its own terms.
The big secret, hidden behind Bradford's smoke screen of complaints about Lincoln's supposed treason, is that Bradford himself has a cause to advance. Like epideictic rhetoric, its subject is gods and heroes, and its medium is often myth. To repeat, then: What really goads Bradford is not Lincoln or Jefferson, but the contemporary godless religion of equality, and the effect of this religion in alienating man from his surroundings. However he may trace their lineage, the targets of Bradford's ire are, for practical purposes, the new "millennialists" who are now secularized and who march under the banners of one ideology or another. These are men whose pride challenges God's work and impels them to attempt a perfection which, as the Agrarians pointed out, eventuates in institutionalizing the Seven Deadly Sins in the cause of material progress and in denying at the same time "the finiteness of finitude, of 'contingency.'"
The South is not just any region. The South has special characteristics which equip it to be a source of resistance to this ideology. It lasted a long time guiltless of supermarkets and fast-food chains, and survived, in a word, without industrialism and applied science. It continued as well to revere the old ways. "American Southerners of all colors," Bradford writes, have, to their great advantage, enjoyed "a relative immunity to millennialism." A recent history of this kind accounts for the common awareness among Southerners of the present danger to all Americans. It is because of this awareness that Bradford believes that Southern voters especially will respond to a campaign for "privacy or independence with respect to the integrity of a man's personal affairs." His regionalism turns out to be a new nationalism. Bradford is not just another states' righter or Anti-Federalist.
Bradford's strategy for Southern leadership is not merely defensive, however, and it is therefore not so meritorious. His weakness shows itself in his political philosophy, or, as he would prefer to say, in his doctrine. It is here that his glorious cause shows itself, like many typically Southern exercises in noble illusion, to be fundamentally flawed. Bradford's deeper concerns are expressed in such passages as those which deplore the "depersonalization" of "atomistic man." That depersonalization results from enforced uniformity, necessarily a uniformity of the lowest common human denominators, a uniformity which overrides the particulars of individual experience. This depersonalized modern man whom Bradford visualizes exploits his family, gratifies himself without consequence, and is at home in no place. His "depersonalization" is like Marx's "alienation," except that it is not caused by the substitution of cash relations for medieval patriarchal and idyllic ones. For Bradford, the substitution is reversed, and the sacrifice of interconnecting particulars causes "defining the species in terms of goods and services." It also causes "life adjustment" to be the goal of schools, "angelism" the goal of art, and "ideological imperialism" the goal among nations.
To rectify the situation, Bradford recommends a renewed and proper pride in a truly democratic community life where deference is given to those who exhibit the virtues of character which all members of the community appreciate because they contribute so visibly to the community's common life. Bradford's examples of such communities are usually military, but they are sometimes jarringly pacific, and sometimes even commercial (the Venetian Republic and the United Netherlands).
Unfortunately, Bradford sees these common projects as identified in a context bequeathed by one's ancestors. And one's ancestors are identified by blood and by land. Bradford puts it succinctly himself in a candid address delivered to his intimates, the conservatives of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is reviewing favorably the works of Frank L. Owsley, and he says,
What the law calls "real property" makes a man stand tall in a way that money cannot. The Revolution itself and the early wars of the Republic were reinforcements to this common pride. So was the frontier experience. Add to these the cushioning effect of large, inclusive families and of interconnection between these vast clans through marriage-clans whose members might occupy several different points on the social scale-and we have an explanation of the old-fashioned Southerner's freedom from the besetting virus of modern political life, arrogant and self-righteous envy.
Bradford's villain is envy, not vice. It is particularly envy between social classes. When he praises the virtues of character, moreover, Bradford praises them not in themselves, but rather for the sake of his summum bonum, a peaceable sociability. (John C. Calhoun shared his summum bonum, his organic socialism which he dubbed the "concurrent majority system." Calhoun shared Bradford's villain, too, calling it "avarice, ambition, and rivalry.") The gain from Bradford's common projects is a sense of community life. But this sense of community does not stem from its members' appreciation of the virtues demanded by dedication to the principles of our Declaration of Independence. This sense of community would not be derived from distinctively human spiritual striving. Bradford's proposal for overcoming the depersonalization of modern life is quite different. It is by mutual appreciation of tribal attachments that Bradford envisions overcoming modern depersonalization-by tribal attachments arising from immediate impressions of bodies, their sexual generation and their sustenance. Such a suggestion resounds with the Nazi propagandists' scientific cure for what they identified as "nihilism." Bradford opens himself to the charge that his Southerners, sentimental and mannered, do not differ markedly from Hitler's scientifically brutalized mobs.
The reader can see from his complaints about Leo Strauss, moreover, that Bradford is determined to rely on irrational sources of community. He turns a deaf ear to Strauss's nonepideictic rhetoric and to Strauss's insistence that modern thought must be appreciated in the light of classical political philosophy. Bradford is similarly immune to Strauss's view that classical political philosophy encouraged prudential statesmanship. Thus Bradford does not even pause to refute the strongest claim advanced in modern times for the predominance of reason in political life. Instead he rejects out of hand the very possibility of reason's predominance. He assumes that there is no real difference between a Strauss and a Marx or, more to the point, between a Strauss and a Hobbes. "Natural rights theory," he insists in pained outcry, "depending as it does on postulates concerning an anterior 'state of nature,' is the worst enemy of human freedom yet to be devised by the mind of man."
Against these theoretical "abstractions" Bradford would protect simple concreteness, concreteness in and for itself. Thus, despite his unfavorable allusions to Hobbes, Bradford ultimately fails to escape the world Hobbes constructed, for it was Hobbes who taught that man was the being who could change the world instead of merely interpreting it. It was Hobbes who thereby paved the way for subsequent thinkers to divide into two camps, some preferring mathematico-logical "necessities" for remaking man and society, and others, like Bradford, opting for its opposite, for the realm of nihilistic freedom, for "our experience" and the "ineluctable realities tacitly acknowledged."
Although he really wants Southern hegemony, Professor Bradford emerges as an apologist for the Anti-Federalists and their indiscriminate claim that all localism is morally superior. Mysteriously and unaccountably, he fails to take note of the fact that his contemporary enemies, those ideologues who would bureaucratize the world at the expense of everything human, make common cause with him. To both camps, it might be well to remember Alexander Hamilton's assessment of the objects of local politics: "The regulation of the mere domestic police of a State appears to me to hold out slender allurements to ambition." Hamilton refers here to high ambition, the kind of ambition which is directed to grand moral/political objects and is disdainful of merely domestic projects. His comment bears witness to the Founders' opinion, based on years of experience with the injustices of state legislatures, that local or regional politics is incompetent to employ principle in controlling a petty politics of legislative logrolling. And there was no way, they reasoned, to elevate state politics except by the supervision of a national government dedicated to principle-to the principle so beautifully encapsulated in the words of the Declaration of Independence.
Fortunately for the Founding, the claim that local politics was morally superior was decisively rejected by the adoption of the Constitution. It remained alive, however, and was given classic formulation by Alexis de Tocqueville in the 1830s and further elaborated as part of John C. Calhoun's concurrent majority. Still, unwilling to confront the alternative offered by the Founders and defended by Lincoln, and in our time by Strauss and Jaffa, Bradford finds himself awkwardly enlisting in the cause of the unworldly Anti-Federalists against "Mr. Madison's imperfect instrument." He finds himself defending all regionalism when he really wants only a South which can lead the nation to health. The truth is, however, that even Bradford's South never existed. It is, sadly, merely a hazy dream of communitarian antidotes to today's liberal barbarisms.
The tragedy, and it is a tragedy for all of us, is that Bradford's campaign for political health may be frustrated by his own insistence on prescriptive inequality. (Thus the Civil War continues to take its terrible toll.) Community cannot grow among men whose chance advantages of wealth and position are legitimated only by prescriptive tradition. Men can be truly friends only when chance is recognized for itself and set aside so that privilege may be legitimated by merit alone, for only in such a community can friendship be based on the truly human qualities of the soul.
Professor Bradford is one of the few truly political men of our time. (A perverse measure of his excellence is the terrible injustice recently perpetrated against him by his outraged liberal enemies who rejected him for appointment in the Reagan Administration.) Bradford recognizes clearly that what is right must also be ours and
that it must be defended with piety and spirit. Further cool-headed reflection on Appomattox, and on the thinking of those who defended the Union, might prompt those who follow his lead to appreciate the significance for his purposes of constitutionalism and in particular the American Constitution, for the Founders, properly understood, could lead them to see that the Constitution's representation principle, as also its federalism and separation of powers, are the best design ever advanced for realizing that community of
merit toward which a proper spiritedness should move all contemporary Americans.
*See "Equality, Justice, and the American Revolution: In Reply to Bradford's ‘The Heresy of Equality'" in Jaffa, How to Think About the American Revolution, (Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 1978), pp. 141-61.
SPIES LIKE US
Secrecy and Democracy: The CIA in Transition
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985
xii + 304 pp., $16.95
By Angelo Codevilla
Stansfield Turner's memoirs highlight the need for a good book on American intelligence for the general reader, one that Turner himself should be forced to read. In 1977 he came to the top job in American intelligence knowing next to nothing about it. These memoirs prove that he left it four years later having picked up more nonsense than fact.
Turner claims to be describing the craft of intelligence in general and, particularly, how America's peculiar genius and democracy have shaped intelligence to meet our unique needs. However, no sooner does he say "[The book] is not a memoir of my stewardship as the Director of Central Intelligence. Above all, it is not an apology for errors I may have made" (p. 1), than he contradicts himself. "This book, then, is about my experiences from 1977 to 1981." Indeed, the pronoun "I" and the bureaucrat's obsession for his rear prove to be trivializing filters so thick that the subject matter of intelligence is barely visible.
This book shows that if a high official allows his mind to be bent by petty concerns, and narrowed by ideology, he is likely to form for himself and others a caricature of the field in which he worked-full of glaring factual errors, gratuitous slurs on real or imagined "enemies," and distortions.
Turner maligns those he fancied his enemies. He begins with Admiral Dan Murphy by saying that while he, Turner, is from the "surface ship, analytic side of the Navy," Murphy "was from the traditional, aviation, political side" (p. 22). He tells us that Hank Knocke, deputy director of Central Intelligence at the time he took over, did not take Turner's hints to accompany him on courtesy calls to Capitol Hill because he was hoping that Turner would fail confirmation and leave Knocke as acting director (p. 23). Of course, he gives no more evidence for Knocke's disloyalty than he gives for the surface navy's greater analytical and apolitical penchant. He tells us that, "It was difficult at the time for me to do anything so drastic as to force out such a senior person as [Theodore] Shackley on the basis of only tentative information." But elsewhere he says, "I had no evidence of any wrongdoing on Shackley's part" (p. 58). He tells us he disliked Shackley's wife's friends (ibid.), but fails to tell us he differed with Shackley politically. He just leaves the impression Shackley was guilty of something. He had to be. Later, Turner rails against "guilt by association" (p. 73). Turner's enemies include people he never met. He tells us that the B-team, instituted by President Ford in 1976 to explain the CIA's persistent underestimates of the Soviet strategic buildup "was composed of outsiders with a right-wing ideological bent. . . . When B felt frustrated over its inability to prevail, one of its members leaked much of the secret material of the proceedings to the press" (p. 251). He does not argue that the B team's positions were wrong. He could hardly do that, given that the CIA felt obliged to espouse every last one of them in its National Intelligence Estimate 11-3-8 for 1979! Nor does he give any evidence for who leaked. He just slanders.
Slander implies either a lie or a willful disregard for the truth. Here is another example. On p. 161 he tells us:
The Reagan transition team that descended on the CIA in late 1980 was as unbalanced and uninformed a group on this subject as I can imagine. . . . Their original leader Lawrence [sic] Silberman, a former Ambassador to Yugoslavia, whose views were balanced, quit when he saw the kind of team he would have to head.
He also tells us that this team was too eager to "unleash" the CIA. He does not tell us, of course, that Laurence Silberman personally picked that team, that all but one member of it had long held the nation's top security clearances, indeed that every one had a Ph.D. and a record of scholarship on intelligence unequaled within the agencies. The business about "unleashing CIA" is pure invention, since the transition team was publicly committed to the proposition that CIA needed reform. No member of the team ever spoke about "unleashing" or anything like it. But then Turner did not speak to any member of the team when writing his book. Moreover, had Turner spoken with Silberman, or known enough about him to spell his name right, he would have found out that he resigned because the people around President-elect Reagan would not allow him to treat the CIA the way he believed that a politicized,, incompetent agency should have been treated. Turner did not ask. The transition team were enemies.
Yuri Nosenko, however, was in another category for Turner. A defector from the KGB's Second Chief Directorate who "came out" in 1964 to tell us that he had been in charge of Lee Harvey Oswald's file and to assure us that the KGB never had anything to do with Oswald, Nosenko became the focus of an intramural battle that split the CIA in two. The liberals in the Agency had stood for the proposition that Nosenko was a bona fide defector and that those who thought otherwise were blackguards. When Turner came into office, he took that side. Thus he proudly tells us on p. 162 that "Nosenko had led us to uncover fifty-two Soviet microphones" in the U.S. embassy in the 1960s. Those were in the old wing of the building. But Turner does not mention that Nosenko had also assured us (for he had been in charge of that part of the second Chief Directorate which is in charge of such matters) that the KGB had been unable to place microphones in the new wing. Turner does mention a fire that took place in the embassy in 1978, which led U.S. workmen to discover a chimney, and then a room, and then a tunnel, full of eavesdropping equipment (pp. 162-63). But he does not mention that all of this was in the new wing, and that we found 130 microphones precisely where Nosenko had assured us we would be out of Soviet surveillance, and that, therefore, thanks to Nosenko, the Soviets got fourteen years' worth of American suckers. Never mind. Turner knows how to treat true friends and true enemies.
Sometimes Turner simply lies. He tells us on pp. 198 and 199 that the only people he fired in the so-called Halloween massacre were in the bottom five to ten percent of the work force in terms of performance evaluations. But this reviewer, when inspecting our overseas CIA operations on behalf of the U.S. Senate in 1978, once asked the CIA "station chief" in a major country what his main problems were. The station chief replied by citing the several names of CIA case officers whom Turner had just fired. These were the very best people he had. Their loss was the biggest problem that entire regional division faced. This reviewer checked, and found that the people mentioned were in the top ten percent. Needless to say, the overwhelming majority of those fired or forcibly retired or pushed out were known as "cold warriors." Turner, faced with this, admitted the facts but stuck to his explanation: This was not a purge; he was cutting out the dead wood. Subsequently, Turner, under pressure, asked one of these case officers, widely reputed to be perhaps the best in the Agency, to his office, and told him there would be a special retirement ceremony and a medal for him. The officer refused.
Turner is not a master of standard (accurate?) English. When he wants to say that something is bad, he says it is "controversial" or under "intense scrutiny" (p. 81). When he wants to say that the CIA sought to place its propaganda throughout the Chilean media, he says,". . . employing virtually all the Chilean media" (p. 80). Sometimes this semi-literacy results in expressions like "toxic poisons" (p. 178), recalling Inspector Clouseau's reference to bombs "of the exploding kind."
When someone so intellectually sloppy treats serious matters, the howlers can have consequences. On p. 92 he says, "one way or another, we should soon be able to keep track of most activities on the surface of the earth, day or night, good weather and bad." Given Turner's command of the language, and eagerness to serve his favorite political causes, it is impossible to know whether he means this literally. In fact, it is now possible to focus a camera and an antenna at least once a day on any given spot on the earth. The bit about "day or night, good weather and bad" is, to say the very least, premature. But -and this is the point -the supposition of devotees of arms control that periodic snapshots and intercepts (all substantially known to the party being observed) of a few square kilometers means being able "to keep track of most activities" in the world is a dangerous delusion. The most extreme form of this delusion is the proposition that Turner states on p. 94: "Technology today lets us record information and report it without passing it through a human filter." Reality is the opposite. Pictures and intercepts are almost always fragments meaningful only insofar as they fit into keys preestablished by sometimes very prejudiced analysts. Thus they lend themselves to deception at least as much as human information.
By indulging such delusions, Turner and his friends at CIA were able to assure the Congress that we knew, about a decade in advance, what strategic weapons the Soviets would have. The proof of the pudding, alas, is in Soviet hands. Today the Soviets display for us to "see" the SS-24 and SS-25 mobile ICBMs, weapons unlike any that Turner's CIA ever foresaw. They display for us to "see" the SA-12 mobile anti-air and anti-warhead interceptor system, which was not only unforeseen but which the CIA's analytical categories, which are the categories of arms control, still cannot comprehend. One could go on with such examples. They point to the fact that our ability to peek through space-borne keyholes at the Soviet Union fostered a kind of hubris, a lack of sobriety, among some intelligence officers that is just now starting to wear off under reality's abrasion. To "keep track of most activities" requires both far more information and far fewer intellectual shackles than U.S. intelligence has. But one would never guess that from Turner's book.
Counterintelligence is the subject Turner discusses most and understands least. Perhaps the principal theme of the book is as follows: The world of counterintelligence necessarily gives license to secret suspicions, and to those who entertain them. Thus licensed, men like James Angleton, formerly chief of the CIA's counter-intelligence staff, can violate others' rights and cause great harm. I, Stansfield Turner, have made it impossible for such as Angleton to rise again, by putting counterintelligence on a sound basis.
To begin with, the reader should know that Turner did not fire James Angleton. That was done by Director William Colby in December 1974 after he, Colby, gave to Seymour Hersh, assault journalist of the New York Times, an "exclusive" which blackened Angleton's name and, of course, gave him no chance to respond. Turner mentions the Hersh story. But, from Turner's book, no one would suspect that Colby was its author, or that there was another side to the Angleton-Colby controversy. Comically, Turner's main accusation against Angleton is that he mistreated Nosenko in an effort to make him confess his role as a double agent (p. 45). Turner pictures himself as having studied the case, and directed that every senior officer read the definitive, pro-Nosenko, report by John Hart (p. 71). What a figure, then, he cuts! Everyone who is even slightly familiar with the case knows that Angleton did not run the Nosenko case. The Soviet-East European Division of CIA, under Peter Bagley, did. Bagley, not Angleton, is the villain of the report that Turner claims he knows so well.
Turner's substantive discussion of counter-intelligence is similarly competent. He notes with approval Colby's reorganization of counterintelligence-the devolution of responsibility for the reliability of sources away from a counterintelligence staff specifically charged with the job and onto the very case officers who recruit the sources. Yet, without missing a beat, he fully agrees with the counterargument: that it is foolish to put people in charge of evaluating their own work. Never mind. Turner's solution lies in technology: the polygraph, "the most important specific tool of counterintelligence is the polygraph" (p. 69). The following sums up Turner's retromingent basis for this conclusion:
Perhaps the best evidence that the polygraph does help separate true agents from false is that we know the KGB has made determined efforts to develop techniques for "beating the machine." Although there is a risk that some professionals will fool the polygraph, there is the greater one that our intelligence agencies will rely on it too heavily. If we take for granted that a person is loyal because he or she passed the polygraph test in the past, we may ignore signals that should indicate the contrary, (p. 70)
Now let's see: It is possible (indeed, easy) for trained people to beat the polygraph. The KGB routinely trains its people to do so. If we take the polygraph as a substitute for other means of counterintelligence, we lull ourselves into a false sense of security. Ergo, of course, the polygraph is the most important tool of counter-intelligence.
Who could write such things? Only someone who wrote, ". . . by 1978 I shifted my concern to an area of counterintelligence that was not getting the attention it deserved. That was the stealing of our secrets by technical means" (p. 162). He then cursorily mentions only two technical security problems: bugging and the interception of our telecommunications from Communist embassies in the U.S. He is not even aware that technical counterintelligence consists primarily of trying to find out what hostile services have learned about our technical collection systems, what they are doing with that knowledge to modify their exposure to those systems, what this means, and figuring out how to turn the situation to our own advantage. Alas, Turner expresses the ignorance of the class of people who run the CIA. Perhaps the ultimate example of this is the statement: "The most delicate part of counterintelligence is learning how to handle suspicions when they do arise" (p. 70). That is correct only in bureaucratic terms. Substantively, by far the biggest and most difficult problem in counterintelligence is figuring out what one ought to be suspicious of. Counter-intelligence's job is to discover what hostile intelligence services-people expert at hiding their hand-are doing. That is very hard. But Turner's ilk spend their energies worrying about what to do when they stumble across suspicions!
All of the foregoing, and much more, might suggest that Turner was incompetent. But, as Nixon said, "That would be wrong"-at least in one important sense. By the time he left office, three-fourths of the higher-ranking employees of the CIA had either left or been dismissed. Like Machiavelli's model of competence, Turner broke hundreds of old careers and made hundreds of new ones. Today, in addition to these hundreds, the top posts in U.S. intelligence are held by Turner aides, including Deputy Director Robert Gates, who had no record of scholarship or achievement in intelligence before Turner elevated them.
Meanwhile, President Reagan's designated successor to Turner, William Casey, has brought to intelligence precisely six outsiders, all but one of whom have left. Not surprisingly, despite changes in rhetoric from the White House about intelligence, there have been no B-teams to challenge CIA's orthodoxy. Nosenko is still officially "bona fide." There has been no reform of counterintelligence to take into account even the results of publicly known compromises such as the Prime case-never mind lesser known but terribly important ones. So, as the 1980s head toward their close, and as the Soviet Union poses radically new problems for U.S. intelligence, our system remains stuck with the leadership and agenda bequeathed to it by Stansfield Turner.
That is why when we are tempted to judge Turner's competence, we should always ask "Compared to whom?"
PHILOSOPHY IN SUPPORT OF MORALITY
Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1985
xi + 104 pp., $11.95 (cloth), $4.95 (paper)
George Grant and the Twilight of Justice
Joan E. O'Donovan
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984
ix + 196 pp., $30.00 (cloth), $12.00 (paper)
By William Mathie
Leo Strauss once remarked that the irreconcilable conflict between philosophy and revelation, between Athens and Jerusalem, constitutes the very life of Western civilization, and that each of us must live that conflict either as "the philosopher open to the challenge of theology or the theologian open to the challenge of philosophy." For many Americans, the writings under review will introduce a man who has lived the conflict Strauss spoke of and, in doing so, has importantly influenced Canadian intellectual and political life.
In his latest book, English-Speaking Justice (ESJ), George Grant explores the crisis for liberal justice constituted by the conception of human purpose within technology. In George Grant and the Twilight of justice (GG), theologian Joan O'Donovan tries to understand "the unity and movement of Grant's thought" as he has struggled to comprehend modernity's break with the past, and the relationship between this rupture and the earlier tension at the very roots of our tradition between Biblical revelation and Greek philosophy. While Strauss calls it "reassuring and comforting" to discover that "Western civilization is the life between two codes, a fundamental tension," Grant's analysis of this same tension leads him to conclude it "improbable that the transcendence of justice over technology will be lived among English-speaking people" (ESJ, p. 89). The two works before us can help us to understand the extent and meaning of this difference.
Like all of his earlier writings, Grant's English-Speaking Justice explores the self-understanding of our civilization especially as expressed in North America. Here Grant analyzes the relationship between the technology that shapes our society and the political liberalism formulated by Hobbes, Locke, Kant, and others that still furnishes our authoritative moral vocabulary. His argument begins by questioning the belief of the early proponents of technological science and liberal politics that each of these enterprises tended to support the other.
These thinkers had tremendous confidence in the capacity of the scientific mastery of nature to condition and thus provide for universal freedom. They were equally certain that freedom would promote technology. Indeed, they identified freedom and technology. The mutual interdependence of liberalism and technology is now brought into question, however, by "the development of technology directed towards the mastery of human beings" (ESJ, p. 9). We see this development in behavior modification, genetic engineering, and population control through abortion. We see it in the declining authority of representative institutions in Western constitutional democracies, and in the retreat of so many in our societies from a public realm of contractual relationships. These developments lead Grant to ask whether a justice based on contract is "ever sufficient to support a politics of consent and justice" (ESJ, p. 12).
Grant seeks an answer to this question in John Rawls's Theory of Justice. Rawls had promised much, for he claimed to revive the contractual account of justice within which individual rights should have a security that utilitarianism can never give them. Yet because he writes within the epistemological assumptions of contemporary academic philosophy, Rawls fails.
Like Hobbes and Locke, Rawls must deny that justice can be understood as ordered to any final human good. But he must also deny what they claimed could be known about human nature. Their state of nature becomes "an imagined abstraction . . . set up to achieve fairness" (ESJ, p. 21). So too, Rawls must forsake Kant's discovery in reason itself of an ontological basis for a morality beyond all calculations. For him, reason can only be instrumental. Understood as the capacity to calculate, reason cannot furnish a solid basis for inalienable and equal rights.
Rawls's failure serves finally to reveal the fatal weakness of the contractual case for justice in its original form. For Rawls, who doubts whether we can know anything about our self-interest, its pursuit is little more than "the maximizing of the cosy pleasures" (ESJ, p. 46). Yet even Locke and Hobbes, who know that the avoidance of violent death is our greatest interest, cannot tell why we should risk death or injury for the common good. Here we begin to see what Grant calls the "moral vacuum" at the heart of contractual liberalism. But how, we are led to ask, has "decent liberal justice" been preserved so long in the presence of this vacuum?
In England the Whigs who obtained power in 1688 have seen little need to think beyond, or even through the liberalism of Hobbes and Locke. The English have had little interest in the more radical forms of modernity devised by continental philosophers. By the same token they have been little influenced by the dangerous ideologies emerging out of those philosophies. In North America, the task of taming a vast new continent, the emergence of industrial capitalism, and the needs of later immigrants from non-English traditions have made political contractualism and private pluralism even more pervasive. Contractualism was placed beyond the serious thought that would expose its moral weakness.
What has sustained decent liberal justice in our regimes has been the complex and unstable relation between contractual liberalism and the Calvinist Protestantism of those who have made this cause their own. Calvinists accepted the political teachings of Locke because they found in them support for their struggle against natural theology and established religion. The individualist and contractual account of human relations seemed also to correspond to their own understanding of the solitary relation between man and Creator. Calvinists could support liberal regimes without assuming the avoidance of violent death to be the greatest human good. Thus they could furnish the "moral cement" otherwise lacking in those regimes. Yet, to see how liberal justice has been sustained in our political society is also to see why it must now collapse, as Calvinist Protestants have been increasingly influenced by the liberal critique of traditional Christianity and the denial of creation by evolutionary biology.
That collapse is seen with dramatic clarity, according to Grant, in the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. For the majority, Justice Blackmun argued the priority of a woman's right to an abortion, as an exercise of her right to privacy, over the rights of the fetus, or any substantive account of the moral good. In arguing this, the Court speaks "modern liberalism in its pure contractual form." The presumed ontology by which the Court denies the personhood of the fetus "raises a cup of poison to the lips of liberalism." The decision poses, but cannot answer, the terrible question of "What is it about any members of our species which makes the liberal rights of justice their due?" (ESJ, p. 71).
Roe v. Wade exposes a contradiction at the heart of Western civilization. We have tried to maintain an account of justice which depends upon a Platonic view of things, within which our understanding of anything involves knowing it in relation to the good. At the same time we have committed ourselves ever more firmly to a technological conception of reason wherein we understand something only when we "know it as ruled by necessity and chance" (ESJ, p. 73). What Grant sees in Roe v. Wade is the triumph over the "absolutes of the old morality" by an understanding that our very species is a product of necessity and chance, and that our moral judgments are merely the imposing of our wills upon an accidental world.
Liberal justice, understood as equality of right, is undermined by that very technological account of reason upon which its philosophic founders had insisted. As Nietzsche saw a century ago, justice as equality of right must disappear with the death of God before whom all men are equal. Grant's perception of the threat to liberal justice posed by the argument of Roe v. Wade closely parallels Lincoln's understanding of the implications for democracy of Taney's reasoning in the Dred Scott decision. Yet, unlike Lincoln, Grant sees little hope of overcoming the threat he perceives.
If the technological account of reason basic to modern political philosophy cannot sustain justice against the claims of convenience, might not justice be preserved by a renewed appeal to its ancient foundations? It is just this appeal that Leo Strauss has proposed in response to the crisis of modernity, and, as O'Donovan shows, Grant has accepted much of Strauss's understanding. Certainly Grant has acknowledged both the departure of modern political philosophy from the classical tradition and Biblical religion, and the importance and error of historicism. Why then does he question Strauss's claim that the tension between revelation and philosophy preserves the vitality of our civilization, or doubt that a return to classical political philosophy is possible or even desirable? Certainly Grant's reservations reflect the importance he attaches as a Christian to Biblical revelation. Yet the chief source of Grant's reservations is his understanding of the problematic relationship in which revelation stands to modernity as expressed in technological reason and in the conception of "time as history."
A major obstacle to the restoration of the ancient account of justice is that very hostility to theoretical contemplation that has isolated the English-speaking world from continental philosophy and ideologies. Another is the almost insurmountable difficulty of reconciling the ancient understanding of justice with the discoveries of technological science (Grant speaks of quantum physics, evolutionary biology, and modern logic).
A still greater difficulty is the conflict between the ancient account of justice within Greek philosophy and the "primal affirmation" of Biblical religion. For Greek philosophy, the understanding of justice is inseparable from the identification of philosophic contemplation as the greatest human good; Socratic philosophy "gives us knowledge of the nature of things, of which we are fitted for and what the consequences are for our actions in being so fitted" (ESJ, p. 44). Although Biblical revelation and the good of contemplation are to some extent reconciled in the theology of St. Augustine, Grant seems to doubt the solidity of any such accommodation and even its veracity as an expression of Biblical religion.
The powerful response of Calvinists to liberalism and technology is inseparable from their claim to "free theology from all but its Biblical roots," and Grant does not question the justice of this claim. Grant's point is that the Olvinistic vision of the soul's solitary pursuit of God's elusive will, and the consequent perception of the self as radical freedom, is a "primal western affirmation which stands shaping our whole civilization, before modern science and technology, before liberalism and capitalism, before our philosophies and theologies" (ESJ, pp. 63, 76).
Calvinism has thus supplied not only the "moral bite" contractual justice would otherwise lack but also the driving force within our technology. It has embraced and even directed the very scientific and philosophic enterprise that has undercut its own theological foundations. The centrality of the divine will qua will to its theology has made Calvinist Christianity peculiarly open to the definition of will as autonomy (ESJ, p. 65). And in all of this Calvinism has reflected only what is perhaps the fundamental truth of Biblical revelation and "seedbed" of our technological civilization. Indeed, modern political philosophy is itself the secularization of this same primal affirmation, especially of charity and of the Biblical understanding of the importance of history.
If the conflict between philosophy and revelation directs the movement of our civilization, Grant sees in it no guarantee of continued vitality. It is rather, as O'Donovan argues, a conflict that determines the unfolding of modernity as a "unified fate" which calls into question that "enduring presence of 'the whole' to human awareness" which Strauss's project to restore classical political philosophy presupposes (GG, p. 105).
Nor is Grant sure that this restoration is desirable. To the extent that charity and contemplation are opposed, Grant hesitates to assert the priority of the latter (GG, p. 100-01). Ancient philosophy may teach us why we ought to suffer injustice rather than commit it. It may reveal the relationship between the just order of the soul and the just actions in the world. It may show us that justice is the rendering to each of what is owed him. But it is Biblical revelation, not ancient philosophy, that has defined justice as the equal worth of all members of our species. This is what is put at risk by Roe v. Wade.
O'Donovan's painstaking and perceptive analysis of forty years of Grant's writings suggests the following conclusion. Grant has indeed turned from a Hegelian understanding of our tradition as a dialectic of freedom and accepted Strauss's identification of the "universal and homogeneous state" with a "universal tyranny of unwisdom," But he has continued to view the Western tradition as a "meaningful structure of necessity" (GG, pp. 162-63). His life work has been the explication of that meaning through a kind of recollection of the "primals" or roots of our tradition. That work, according to O'Donovan, issues in paradox, for Grant argues the need to understand our fate in relation to our past while arguing that the pervasive character of our fate within technology makes this understanding impossible. Grant's nobility must consist in refusing but not refuting Nietzsche (GG, p. 166-67). O'Donovan argues that what is wrong with Grant's theological understanding of the fatedness of modernity is "not that it makes providence scrutable but that it makes sin scrutable" (GG, p. 171).
The difference between Strauss and Grant must be understood in the light of their agreement. In O'Donovan's view, Strauss's "concern for morality" demands "an excluding rational choice" between modernity and the classical tradition, and at a more fundamental level between revelation and philosophy (GG, p. 50). The same concern makes Grant strive for synthesis. The tragedy of our fate is the impossibility of that synthesis: We cannot reconcile the truth revealed through technological reason and the ancient account of justice, or revelation and Greek philosophy. O'Donovan thinks that we may eliminate the latter tension, and thereby reduce the former, if we speak of Plato and the Gospels rather than of Greek philosophy and Biblical religion. Yet it seems doubtful, on her own account, how far one may distinguish the incarnate Christ from the whole of Biblical religion and, to us, whether any adequate interpretation of Platonic political philosophy could prove it closer to the teaching of the Gospels than to that of Aristotle (GG, pp. 130, 132, 168).
Has O'Donovan correctly identified and measured the agreement of Strauss and Grant? Is it the "concern for morality" that leads Strauss to insist upon choosing between ancients and moderns, philosophy and revelation? Is it his "concern for morality" that comforts him in the discovery that philosophy cannot refute the claim of theology, or theology that of philosophy? These are hard questions we shall not presume to address. If we may use the language of Strauss to call George Grant a "theologian open to the challenge of philosophy," we can recommend the study of his writings-the present one and those that precede it, especially Time as History-to all those for whom Leo Strauss has been a guide to the understanding of our politics and philosophic tradition. Here they may find not only a powerful treatment of the deprivation constituted by modernity, but also a clarifying response to the "theological-political problem" by one who remains "a good citizen of the city of God."
TEACHER OF EVIL
A new translation, with an introduction, by Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985
Xxvii + 124 pp., $18.00 (cloth), $5.95 (paper)
The Comedies of Machiavelli
Edited and Translated by David Sices and James B. Atkinson
Hanover: University Press of New England, 1985
408 pp., $27.50 (cloth), $14.00 (paper)
By Grant B. Mindle
Machiavelli is the author of three comedies: Andria, Mandragola (considered by many to be the greatest play in Italian literature), and Clizia.
The comedies are wholly political; as James B. Atkinson astutely observes, "one cannot derive pleasure from Machiavelli's plays without also having one's political values shaken" (Comedies of Machiavelli [CM], p. 2). In Andria, a son deceives his father, a servant his master, and a gentleman his friend; in Mandragola the trust between husband and wife, mother and daughter, priest and confessor, doctor and patient, and master and servant, is violated; and in Clizia an amorous rivalry between father and son leads father and son, mother and son, husband and wife, guardian and ward, and master and servant, to conspire against one another. In each of his plays, and to the delight of his audience, everyone prospers from the defeat morality suffers.
Deceit, conspiracy, and the unpunished violation of prevailing notions of justice, shame, and morality are the pillars of Machiavellian comedy. Comedies, Machiavelli tells us in the Prologue to his Clizia, "were invented to be of use and of delight to their audiences. It is indeed quite useful for any man, and particularly for young ones, to learn about the avarice of an old man, the frenzy of a lover, the deceit of a servant, the greed of a parasite, the indigence of the poor, the ambition of the rich, the wiles of a whore, and the bad faith of all men" (CM, p. 283).
But to what purpose does Machiavelli offer instruction in "the bad faith of all men" (emphasis added)? To reaffirm the preeminence of morality and the limits it decrees? Or to demonstrate the necessity and desirability of learning how "not to be good" (Prince, c. 15)? Consider, for example, the Mandragola where virtue, and not wickedness, is the principal obstacle to the happiness and ambition of each of the characters. Callimaco's passion for Madonna Lucrezia, Friar Timoteo's intemperate pursuit of alms, Lucrezia's desire to become a mother, her belated discovery of the superiority of the kisses of a younger lover and the aspirations her discovery engenders, would remain unsatisfied were it not for the wickedness of one and all. And let us not forget Messer Nicia who finally gets the son he so desperately desires (CM) p. 315). If Messer Nicia is indeed sterile, as everyone else in the play assumes, then it is through adultery and adultery alone that he is able to become a "father." The road to happiness, it seems, depends upon a prudent disregard for moral virtue.
As the audience laughs-and Machiavelli's conceits are so clever one cannot help but laugh-their moral corruption is advanced. Atkinson is wrong when he suggests "our laughter at [Nicia] or at any character who falls short of the ideal is not tantamount to our winking at the evil in the world of the play" (CM, p. 19). Were Machiavelli's purpose to arouse our moral indignation, he would not be so careful to say indecent things in "such a way as to let the ladies listen to it without blushing" (CM, p. 285). Just as Callimaco's conspiracy depends upon finding a way around the law forbidding adultery, so Machiavelli's depends upon getting around our sense of shame. In the Mandragola he goes so far as to express "the wish that [the audience] might be tricked as [Lucrezia] was"-a passage David Sices mistranslates (cf. CM, p. 159).
Comedy, at least as Machiavelli describes it, is inherently disrespectful, "for speeches which evoke laughter are either foolish, or insulting, or amorous" (CM, p. 283). In Andria, Mandragola, and Clizia, center stage is occupied by amorous young men overcome by sexual desire who are prudent enough to profess in public their respect for the nomos which stands in their way, and yet clever enough to satisfy their immoral longings surreptitiously. While the effects of the plays are political, the objects of the conspiracies their heroes devise are wholly private. Could love or erotic desire be the true paradigm for the political? Could public spiritedness, what the Greeks called thumos, be an illusion?
The man who said that lovers are like soldiers certainly was speaking the truth. The captain wants the soldiers to be young, women want their lovers not to be old. . . . Courage, faith, and secrecy are equally necessary in the military and in love: the perils are equal and the end is most often the same. (CM, p. 299)
Lest Cleandro's remarks in the Clizia, cited above, be dismissed too hastily-after all, Machiavelli need not agree with everything his characters say-one should observe the twenty-fifth chapter of The Prince where Machiavelli, speaking, in his own name, describes Fortune as a woman who "lets herself be won more by the impetuous than by those who proceed coldly. And so, also like a woman, she is the friend of the young . . ." (Mansfield [M], p. 101). As Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr. notes in a fine introductory essay, Machiavelli "makes the politics of the new prince appear in the image of rape" (M, xxiii).
In the comedies, love is politicized. Private desires are satisfied, but only through the reconstitution of a political convention-marriage, or in the case of the Mandragola, through the public perpetuation of the marriage of Messer Nicia to Madonna Lucrezia. Everyone's happiness depends upon the necessity that governs Callimaco's and Messer Nicia's behavior, forcing the former to become a public friend and private husband, and the latter a public husband and father. This development is reflected in The Prince where politics is reinvigorated, not through the resurrection of thumos, but rather by transforming politics into an erotic (or private) endeavor. It is no accident that conspiracy, the private activity par excellence, should be the subject of the work's longest chapter (Prince, c. 19; cf. Discourses III.6).
In his introductory essay to The Prince, Mansfield forces us to reconsider the nature of the political and its relation to "natural justice" or "natural law" (M, p. xii). The fact that Machiavelli never employs either of these phrases in The Prince or the Discourses only underscores the importance of the matter at hand: the status of morality.
The Prince, Mansfield tells us, is "the most famous book on politics ever written," at least "when politics is thought to be carried on for its own sake unlimited by anything above it" (M, p. vii). Indeed it need not and "should not accept rules of any kind or from any source where the object is not to win or prevail over others" (M, p. vii). It is then no accident that the most famous book on politics should also be the least respectful. It respects neither age nor authority, and its hero-the new prince in a new state-is a destroyer as much as a creator. Only by waging war against the ancestral, and by casting aside the familial and political ties which bind him to his family and friends, can the new prince found political life anew. Just how dubious the status of Machiavelli's Italian patriotism really is, is apparent by his "advising a French king in Chapter 3 how he might better invade Italy the next time" (M, p. ix). Machiavelli, it seems, is everyone's friend, and no one's ally (M, p. xxiv).
In The Prince the accent is on what we acquire for ourselves, not what we inherit from others (M, p. xv). And since no one can afford to forego the necessity to acquire, public behavior must ultimately be understood in the light of private necessity. When politics is paramount, as it is in Machiavelli's political science, when its subordination to philosophy or theology and the morality they decree is denied, the political is reduced to the subpolitical, the public to the private, or to put it bluntly, politics is apt to disappear. The political community is reduced to an abstraction, and its impersonality forces us to cast our eye upon the behavior of private men who are determined to manipulate the state for the sake of their own private advantage.
Machiavelli's political science then first appears as a resurrection of spiritedness, an attempt to awaken mankind from its lethargy, and impel each of us to march as individuals (not as citizens) into the political arena. But since the impulse to do so is inherently private or erotic, Machiavelli's "political" science is strangely philosophic. This is the foundation for the universality of Machiavelli's political science, for Machiavelli can appeal to the erotic as well as the spirited. The dichotomy between philosophy and the city, which so preoccupied classical political philosophy, is eliminated.
David Sices and James B. Atkinson are to be commended for their bilingual edition of the comedies of Machiavelli. Atkinson's extensive discussion in the introduction of the changes Machiavelli wrought in Terence's script (Andria is a translation of a play by Terence) is particularly helpful. The interpretation he offers of the plays themselves, however, is less persuasive. He credits Machiavelli with more moral fervor than I believe he should. Atkinson's translation of Andria is reasonably literal, and superior to Sices' translations of the Mandragola and the Clizia. Not only is Machiavelli's wish that the audience be deceived as Lucrezia was mistranslated, but durezza (hardness), onestissima (very honest), and savia (wise) are translated as "virtue," "completely virtuous," and "most virtuous" (CM, pp. 167, 231, and 249). Those who desire a more literal translation of the Mandragola will prefer the one by Mera J. Flaumenhaft.
Mansfield's translation of The Prince is particularly welcome. It is literal and more readable than the one by Leo Paul de Alvarez; the notes are not only conveniently located at the bottom of the page, but the cross references to the Discourses enhance our understanding of Machiavelli's text. Students and scholars will find the introductory essay provocative and enlightening.
Public Philosopher: Selected Letters of Walter Lippmann
Edited by John Morton Blum
New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1985
li + 652 pp., $29.95
By Ashley Morrissette
No other American journalist has reached the Olympian heights scaled by Walter Lippmann (1887-1974). Using the philosophic perspective articulated in his books to interpret everyday political events in his editorials (for The New Republic and The New York World) and syndicated column, Lippmann, in a career spanning the greater part of this century, established himself as the authoritative interpreter of public men and events. His official biographer, Ronald Steel, describes his unparalleled influence with these words: "Lippmann commanded a loyal and powerful constituency, some ten million of the most politically active and articulate people in America. Many of these people literally did not know what they ought to think about the issues of the day until they read what Walter Lippmann had said about them."
Furthermore, Lippmann's influence did not end with his death. Indeed, as I have shown elsewhere, if any man is responsible for our contemporary terms of political discourse (as Thomas Jefferson was responsible for the political language of our first century and a half), that man is Walter Lippmann. Have you ever wondered how politics came to be the handmaiden of something called "the economy"; how public concerns became divided up into "economic" and "social" issues; how the love of peace was transformed into pacifism; and how prudence became "pragmatism," "pragmatism" came to be synonymous with "moderation," and "moderation" synonymous with a preoccupation with "the economy"? If so, you would do well to study the writings of Walter Lippmann. In so doing, you would, I believe, come to understand why Clinton Rossiter and James Lare were guilty of understatement when they proclaimed Lippmann to be "perhaps the most important political thinker of the twentieth century."
The reader who comes to this collection of letters by Walter Lippmann hoping to become better acquainted with the private man behind the celebrated journalist will be disappointed. John Morton Blum has titled the book Public Philosopher, and the first word of the title indicates the fundamental principle of selection employed by Professor Blum in making his compilation. All of the letters, without exception, deal with items of public interest. Since a fine regard for the distinction between public and private things is an essential characteristic of civilized life, Public Philosopher is, in that sense at least, an eminently civilized book.
Of course, one expects civility from any book by or about Walter Lippmann, and especially from a volume the title of which is derived from Lippmann's last book, The Public Philosophy, for The Public Philosophy was an attempt to answer that "poignant question," as Lippmann put it, "whether, and, if so, how modern man could make vital contact with the lost traditions of civility."
But statements like the foregoing reveal much more than Walter Lippmann's concern for civility. By addressing questions confronting "modern man," Lippmann laid claim to the second word in the title of Professor Slum's collection, the word "philosopher." And this collection of letters provides additional evidence, if any were needed, that Lippmann's activity as a "public philosopher" antedates by far The Public Philosophy. Indeed, a quarter century before the publication of that work, we find the following succinct description of himself as political philosopher in a letter from Lippmann to Robert P. Ludlum, an aspiring journalist:
. . . I have learned to realize that what really matters in the long run is not the fate of particular notions that we may have, but the development of the habit and tradition of trying to speak truthfully about public affairs. (January 7, 1931)
That is an admirable ambition, admirably expressed. Not surprisingly, there are many other statements to admire in this collection. Who can argue, for example, with the ideas expressed in the following letter to John M. Avent, a high school principal on Staten Island?
Our social life depends on the presence of enough people who can tell different things apart and discern identities where they exist. It depends, therefore, on people who use words without confusion as to their meaning, to whom the name of this and that is the name of this and that, and not of half a dozen vaguely related things as well. (May 18, 1922)
In these homiletic letters to Ludlum and Avent, we find Lippmann pledging allegiance, as a "public philosopher" should, to Truth in general, and to linguistic precision in particular. Unfortunately, as this collection of correspondence reveals, when Lippmann left the realm of homily and descended into the real world of his own regime, these standards were largely ignored.
Keeping in mind Lippmann's admonition to Avent about "telling different things apart," consider the following letter to Donna M. Reichel, a student activist at the University of Maryland.
The question you are asking yourselves is whether "revolution" is not the only way of achieving the good life. . . . My conclusions have come . . . from a study of the great revolutions of the past, notably the French, the English and the American. These revolutions have always begun with the belief that they would create new men in a new society and none of the revolutions were ever radical enough and creative enough to achieve such a transformation of men and their social world. (December 15, 1969)
These words provide a veritable case study of the fatal effect of linguistic imprecision on truth. By failing to "tell different things apart," Lippmann fails to discern how "radical," and how successful, the American Revolution was. Furthermore, it was successful precisely because of the very characteristic which it did not share with its supposed counterpart, the French Revolution. Where the French aspired to be "creative," to "transform" men and society, we Americans sought to build a new order for the ages on the basis of our status as "creatures" ("created equal"), not "creators."
We begin to see that the Reichel letter is more than merely imprecise, that it points the way to a discovery of the cause of its author's imprecision, for in that letter, Lippmann not only fails to "tell different things apart," he also puts opposite things together and then actually looks at one of those opposites from the point of view of the other. By looking at a revolution inspired by John Locke from the perspective of one guided by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Lippmann transforms the truth about our revolution into fiction, while revealing the identity of his ultimate philosophic mentor.
In the Reichel letter, then, we have an imprecise use of words leading inevitably to a subversion of the truth. But in that letter, at least, the exaltation of fiction is implicit, and apparently inadvertent. There is no evidence that Lippmann has abandoned the standard, announced in the Ludlum letter, of speaking "truthfully about public affairs." Other letters do, however, proclaim an intentional and explicit preference for fiction.
Like any journalist worthy of the name, Lippmann opposed prohibition and advocated the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment. Until the early 1930s, however, prospects for repeal were extremely dim. Lippmann's response to this unsatisfactory state of affairs was to embrace an updated brand of nullification, modeled after the South's heretofore successful attempts to circumvent the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments. Nullification was necessary, as Lippmann pointed out to a Philadelphia supporter of the Eighteenth Amendment named F. E. Hyslop, because of ". . . a very serious defect in the amending clause of the Constitution." Lippmann went on:
The historic American remedy for such a defect is to nullify, by the use of legal fictions, and I am prepared to go further and argue . . . that one of the most important methods by which our Anglo-American law has grown is by the use of just such fictions. (March 3, 1927)
Lippmann's willingness to resort to "fictions" in order to avert the politically undesirable was not limited to the prohibition controversy. Writing to his former Harvard teacher, the British social critic Graham Wallas, during the Scopes trial, Lippmann observed:
Bryan has, as you know, based his case on the right of the majority of a legislature to determine the character of teaching in the schools for which it votes the money. This is a difficult principle to controvert. Personally, I am pretty well persuaded that it's necessary to controvert it. But in doing so, it will be necessary to invent some sort of constitutional theory under which public education is rendered rather more independent of the legislature than it is at present. . . . It seems to me that majority rule is after all only a limited political device and that where some great interest like education comes into conflict with it, we are justified in trying to set up defenses against the majority. (June 11, 1925)
Legal fictions. Constitutional theories. Majority rule as a limited political device. Let's let some sunshine and fresh air into these discussions by recalling what President Lincoln had to say about the Constitution and majority rule.
. . . no organic law can ever be framed with a provision specifically applicable to every question which may occur in practical administration. No foresight can anticipate, nor any document of reasonable length contain express provisions for all possible questions. . . . From questions of this class spring all our constitutional controversies, and we divide upon them into majorities and minorities. If the minority will not acquiesce, the majority must, or the government must cease. There is no other alternative. . . .
. . . I do not forget the position assumed by some, that constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court. . . . [But] the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government, upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, . . . the people will have ceased, to be their own rulers, having, to that extent, practically resigned their government, into the hands of that eminent tribunal. (First Inaugural)
Walter Lippmann wrote as if Abraham Lincoln had never lived. Indeed, despite his frequent allusions to "the great traditions of the West," the reader of this volume is left with the strange impression that all human life, certainly all American life, began for Lippmann somewhere around his birthday in 1889. The only members of the Founding generation for whom he has praise are "the authors of the Federalist" (in a January 13, 1939, letter to Arthur N. Holcombe) in general, and Alexander Hamilton in particular. In a letter to the editor of the Rochester (N.Y.) Democratic Chronicle, Lippmann referred to Hamilton as "the greatest constructive statesman that this country has produced" (April 26, 1919).
But for the next half-century, Lippmann wrote as if he were taking his bearings from the Hamilton who inhabited Thomas Jefferson's worst nightmares. Lippmann was content to operate within that twentieth century cliché which views the Constitution as a betrayal of the Revolution, rather than as its fulfillment. The only difference between Lippmann and the original proponents of that view is that they pretended to deplore that fictional betrayal, while he eventually embraced it.
This collection of letters strongly reinforces an unsettling impression that one receives after a careful reading of Walter Lippmann's books. In the most general sense, on the most abstract level, Lippmann says all the right things. He is at his best, for example, when he is delivering fine-sounding lectures on the grave responsibilities of journalists and high school English teachers. But when you look a little closer, when you listen to Lippmann talk about the things which concern the actual citizen of this particular constitutional republic, it is dismaying to discover that the speaker is the mirror-image of what an American public philosopher (or a great American political journalist) should be. Like the figure in the mirror, our "public philosopher" is not only all form and no substance. Worse yet, that form is a perfectly precise inversion of the substance.
A MILITARY FOR AMERICA
For the Common Defense: A Military History of the United States of America
Allan R. Millett and Peter Maslowski
New York: The Free Press, 1985
621 pp., $24.95
Citizens and Soldiers: The Dilemmas of Military Service
Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985
227 pp., $22.50
By Mackubin T. Owens
In the early part of the movie Patton, Field Marshall Erwin Rommel is about to board a plane for a flight from his Tunisian base to Berlin for consultation with Hitler. Nearby is a POW compound filled with American soldiers captured in the German victory at the Kasserine Pass, Rommel's aide, trying to raise his commander's dark spirits, comments that in that battle the Allies had to overcome the worst of conditions imaginable: American soldiers fighting under overall British command. Rommel reminds the aide that a British general has driven the Germans halfway across North Africa, and that under better generalship the Americans will only improve. As he passes the captured Americans to board the waiting aircraft, Rommel salutes them.
The critics and the viewing public, as they frequently do, saw different things in Patton. The former interpreted the movie as an antiwar offering, a condemnation of American militarism and jingoism. What kind of a monster, after all, viewing the carnage of a battlefield, could utter, as Patton does in the movie, "I love it. God help me, I love it so." The general public saw things differently, rather like Rommel: When American soldiers are properly led, no army, not even the dreaded Wehrmacht, can withstand them. If the United States had lost the recent Vietnam War, the fault must be with someone other than the men who had gone there to fight.
Like Rommel's aide, foreign military observers frequently exhibit contempt for the American fighting man. A European observer of the American Civil War described that struggle as a brawl between two armed mobs. And only two years ago there were newspaper reports that German commanders expressed little confidence in the fighting abilities of their American allies in the event of a Soviet attack on NATO's Central Front.
American military commentators, on the other hand, tend to blame U.S. defense deficiencies on structure and strategy. A spate of books, beginning several years ago with James Fallows's National Defense and including more recently, Edward Luttwak's The Pentagon and the Art of War, and James Coates and Michael Killian's Heavy Losses places the blame for U.S. military failures squarely on American organizational defects and the consequent problems. A recent study done by the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee lays the basis for a major legislative overhaul of the U.S. defense establishment. The House of Representatives for the second year in a row has passed a bill reorganizing the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), and its Armed Services Committee is currently holding hearings on a more comprehensive reorganization of the U.S. defense establishment. The thrust of the reformers' argument is best summarized by Luttwak: Despite the patriotism, dedication, and individual excellence of American military men, the U.S. defense establishment has suffered one failure after another.
On the surface these two approaches to U.S. military affairs seem to be at odds. After all, three generations of American males drafted into the U.S. military have a vested interest in believing that they were much smarter than the "lifers" who could not make it on the outside. Thus their inclination to give credence to the view, expressed in such books as Heavy Losses, that the American soldier is usually the victim of military bureaucratic incompetence, which results from poor or indifferent organization.
But, in fact, many of the commentators who seem to attribute U.S. military deficiencies to organizational or strategic shortcomings rather than to the vices of the American soldier are just as disdainful of American military virtue as the Rommel aide in Patton. Many of the most respected "military reformers" (such as Luttwak, Steven Canby, Bill Lind, and Martin Van Crevald) have, despite their protestations to the contrary, at one time or other disparaged the American military ethic relative to that of their European or Israeli favorites. All of these commentators have been criticized for their overbearing arrogance or their lack of military experience (applicable to all but Canby). But these criticisms miss the point. The real weakness of these reformers is their failure to understand American political institutions. These institutions after all are the central influence on the "American Way of War" (and preparation for war), as authors from Samuel Huntington to Russell Weigley to Colonel Harry Summers have recognized.
One can understand neither the strengths nor the weaknesses of the American national security system without understanding the American political tradition. After all, reform does not take place in a vacuum. Any reform that does not take account of general factors (such as the nature of the military in a liberal democracy, or particular ones, such as the character of the people or their institutions of government) is doomed to failure. More importantly, any reforms put into effect which do not take account of these factors will only make things worse. Unfortunately, too few of the current reformers take account of what, following Ken Booth, Colin Gray, and Carnes Lord, might be called the "American strategic culture." In Lord's words, the strategic culture of a nation comprises the "fundamental assumptions governing the constitution of military power and the ends they are intended to serve," which in turn are shaped by the social, political, economic, and ideological characteristics of a people. The assumptions which form the strategic culture "establish the basic framework for, if they do not determine in detail the nature of, military forces and military operations." Too many of the reformers take their bearings from European strategic culture, denigrating the different political goals, traditions, and institutions that shape the way military force is to be used in defense of the American Republic. Those who wish to understand the dynamics of American strategic culture could ask for no better introduction than Allan R. Millett and Peter Maslowski's For the Common Defense. One learns from this excellent work that, while military reform is hardly new to the American experience, successful military reforms have always followed successful societal reforms, and further, that while American political institutions do not encourage rapid adoption and implementation of good ideas, they at least protect citizens against truly bad ones.
The authors define military policy as the aggregate of the assumptions, plans, programs, and actions taken by the citizens of a nation through their government to achieve security against external military threats and domestic insurrection. Military policy manifests itself in two ways: through the instrumentalities by which military forces are organized and controlled, and through the development and implementation of military strategy. While other books have dealt competently with one or the other of these manifestations, the great strength of For the Common Defense is the way in which it treats both, always with an eye to the overarching American strategic culture.
Above all, For the Common Defense is an outstanding examination of the evolution of U.S. military policy in the light of changing circumstances, national goals, and most importantly, the constraints imposed by the political institutions and strategic culture of the nation. Indeed, Millett and Maslowski illuminate again and again the central problems of American military policy: how to defend the Republic against threats to its security while remaining true to the principles and character of the American regime. Debates such as those concerning standing armies versus militia, volunteer forces versus conscription, domestic constabulatory forces versus war-fighting forces, a coastal defense navy based on gunboats versus a "bluewater" navy capable of offensive action on the high seas, which raged during the first century after Independence, right down to contemporary issues such as those concerning defense organization and acquisition policy must be understood in the context of American institutions and the character of the American people.
Two of the themes that Millett and Maslowski suggest place U.S. military history within the broad context of American history as a whole are frequently forgotten or ignored by contemporary reformers. First, "national military considerations alone have barely shaped military policies and programs. The political system, the availability of finite . . . resources and manpower, and societal values have all imposed constraints on defense matters." Second, "the nation's firm commitment to civilian control of military policy requires careful attention to civil-military relations. The commitment to civilian control makes military policy a paramount function of the federal government where the executive branch and Congress vie to shape policy."
Would-be reformers have ignored these principles at their peril. A case in point was Emory Upton. In words that could just as easily apply to contemporary reformers such as Luttwak, Canby, and Lind, the authors describe Upton's failure to achieve his Prussian-style reforms in the U.S. Army in the 1870s:
Nor did Upton understand that policy cannot be judged by any absolute standard, it reflects a nation's characteristics, habits of thought, geographic location, and historical development. Built upon the genius, traditions, and location of Germany, the system he admired could not be grafted onto America. In essence, Upton wrote in a vacuum. He began with a fixed view of the policy he thought the U.S. needed, and he wanted the rest of society to change to meet his demands, which it sensibly declined to do.
The American political system has been surprisingly capable of adapting military policy to the threat within the constraints of limited resources and the American character. That system has done a creditable job of providing for the defense of the Republic and its principles while comprehending the limits to power. As the authors demonstrate, despite the popular belief that the U.S. has generally been unprepared for war, policymakers have done remarkably well in preserving the nation's security by taking advantage of such things as geographic distance from dangerous adversaries, the European balance of power, and America's own potential to mobilize materiel and manpower.
When gauging America's strength against potential enemies, policymakers realized that the nation could devote its energies and financial resources to internal development rather than to maintaining a large and expensive peacetime military establishment. However, mobilizing simultaneously with a war's outbreak has extracted high costs in terms of speed and ease with each new mobilization.
Since the end of World War II of course, changed geopolitical realities, as manifested in the growth of a militarily powerful and ideologically hostile Soviet Union and the increasing importance of nuclear weapons, have dictated that U.S. military policy be substantially changed. The peacetime establishment has grown, and the U.S. has become a major international power. Yet, even in these dangerous times, military policy must be developed and implemented within certain constraints. These constraints may not please the purists among the military reformers, but it is precisely the U.S. political system that has created conditions necessary for tremendous economic growth, and it is the economic potential of the nation that has, in the past and at present, undergirded its military might.
At the same time, the American political system has generally produced courageous, clever, and adaptable soldiers. American soldiers, backed by the economic power of the nation and employed to achieve clear war aims and political objectives, have generally performed well. Their procurement is the topic of Eliot Cohen's Citizens and Soldiers.
Cohen, like Millet and Maslowski, takes the American political tradition and the institutions arising therefrom seriously, eschewing the ahistorical, apolitical, and consequently barren mode of economic analysis that has characterized so much recent literature on American military manpower policy. In the words of St. Cyr, whom Cohen quotes in the epigraph of the book, "Les lois sur le recrutement sont des institutions" (the laws governing military recruitment are political institutions).
Citizens and Soldiers is particularly timely given recent rumblings among military planners that seem to presage the renewal of the debate over conscription which has up to now been postponed by favorable (though temporary) recruiting trends over the past two years and the antidraft preferences of the current administration. Changing demographics and economic conditions bode ill, it is said, for the future of the present voluntary system. Without a return to some form of compulsory service, most analysts agree that the gap between American commitments abroad and the manpower resources necessary to meet them will continue to grow.
Several alternative responses to this situation suggest themselves. First, the U.S. could reduce its foreign policy commitments. Such a response has been proposed by a number of responsible analysts, whose particular plans are as numerous as their various authors. Senator Sam Nunn would reduce the U.S. commitment to NATO. So would Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz. So would Jeffrey Record. Robert Komer and Edward Luttwak would curtail the growth of the Navy in order to provide more resources for NATO. The Libertarian neo-isolationist Earl Ravenal would reduce all U.S. defense commitments. Such a retrenchment, in general terms at least, may be required if the U.S. refuses to address the manpower problem, although thoughtful strategists point out the severe geopolitical costs of such a step.
Second, the nation could continue its current practice of putting off the hard decisions into the future. The danger of this approach was brought into stark relief by the Vietnam War, the costs of which to the foreign policy and social fabric of the U.S. are still being paid, as we attempted to fight that war with a manpower policy totally inappropriate to the enterprise. Yet that system had been maintained by inertia and default as the Congress extended selective service (a system admirably designed to prosecute total war) into peacetime while rejecting Universal Military Training (UMT) in 1948.
Third, the U.S. could reopen the draft debate in a way certain to result in the rejection of conscription. This could be done by ignoring the broad context of American politics and by restricting the argument to narrow economic terms. By rejecting all discussion but that based on the calculus of cost and benefit, policymakers could defeat their own purpose beforehand with the likely result of turmoil at home and defeat abroad.
Or, finally, the nation could begin a broad reexamination of military manpower within the context of the American regime, recognizing the constraints of necessity and choice as manifest in the imperatives of geopolitics, political philosophy and tradition, and wars, both large and small. This is the approach that Cohen offers.
Cohen observes that the dilemmas of U.S. military manpower policy are rooted in the nature of the American regime and America's geopolitical situation. To begin with, the American regime is at once liberal and egalitarian. There is a tension between these strains of thought that manifests itself in debates over military manpower. "Anglo-Saxon liberalism" and "democratic egalitarianism" accord with very different varieties of peacetime service, while both traditions are at odds with the forms of military service that are best suited for large-scale war.
In addition, the U.S., by virtue of its status as a great power, must prepare for two completely different kinds of war. On the one hand, the nation must maintain a large standing force for all-out conventional war on the NATO Central Front. On the other, the U.S. must prepare to fight what Colonel C. E. Callwell in 1906 called "small wars." The forces necessary to fight these wars are, for political and military reasons, two quite different kinds of armies.
These dilemmas of political culture and political-military necessity have prevented the U.S. from settling on a durable system of military service. In addition, claims Cohen, these dilemmas are intractable: In other words, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to create a system of military service that the American regime could live with for decades. In many other countries this is not the case: Canada, Switzerland, Great Britain, and France, to cite several examples, have all retained their types of peacetime military service for nearly a century.
Cohen is to be commended for taking a broad view of the issue of military manpower. His approach allows him to transcend the narrow question of "the draft." He addresses instead the real issues that are missed by so many in the recent debate over conscription or the draft. He asks instead: What is the nature of obligation within the American political tradition? How does the obligation of the citizen relate to that of the soldier? What is the place of compulsion in the American system of military manpower? What is the claim of military necessity? How should the nation select some for service and not others? How do methods of recruitment affect foreign policy, domestic politics, and the performance of a nation's forces in battle?
In treating the military manpower problem the way he does, Cohen rehabilitates the venerable notion, one at least as old as Aristotle and Polybius and stated succinctly by St. Cyr, which held that systems of military service are an integral part of a regime's institutions, since they have a powerful and permanent influence on the central principles of the regime. This tradition has been superseded by an approach based on economics or systems analysis: What is the least costly way of obtaining X number of persons having such and such characteristics for a fixed period of time (given, of course, that any departure from the principle of voluntarism is suspect)? As Cohen observes, the economic approach denigrates statesmanship and citizenship, and slights the philosophical, political, and even military aspects of the question which are not susceptible to quantitative analysis.
Cohen concludes that a successful American military manpower policy must meet certain criteria. First, it must be consistent with both liberalism and egalitarianism: Service should be brief and limited but as universal as possible. Second, it must produce forces that are capable of meeting the requirements of both total and small wars: The standing army must consist of volunteers. Finally, the system must not be excessively costly, nor can it place excessive manpower and organizational burdens on the armed forces. Cohen's proposed policy, which provides for a durable system of service consistent with the central principles of the American regime and one that is best suited to meet the entire spectrum of threats to American security interest, is modeled upon the plans advanced by George Washington and Alexander Hamilton in "Sentiments on a Peace Establishment": compulsory universal militia service.
Such a system would create a large and potentially effective reserve army while spurring enlistments in the regular establishment, ensuring that the standing force was a voluntary one. It would be in accord with American traditions and institutions. And it would be durable. There would, of course, be serious practical problems, not the least of which would be the need to permanently federalize the National Guard. But no system is without problems. Cohen observes that those that beset the militia system he proposes can be overcome by that combination of political courage, adroitness, and the mastery of political rhetoric we call statesmanship-itself very much in the American tradition.
To be sure, neither For the Common Defense nor Citizens and Soldiers is without flaws. Careful readers will find many things to criticize in both books. But Millett and Maslowski, and Cohen have rendered a great service by reestablishing the political context of military policy, a context that has been notably absent in so many recent analyses. And both books can help policymakers in their attempt to judge correctly the delicate balance between the internal constraints on American power and the imperatives of geopolitics which still so often require the exercise of military power. The dangers will not disappear, nor will the political responsibility to face them.
ON THE NATURE OF EVIL
Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages
Jeffrey Burton Russell
Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984
356 pp., $24.95
By James V. Schall
No topic is more intellectually fascinating, perplexing, or agonizing than that of evil. "But choice of a mean is not possible in every action or every feeling," Aristotle wrote in Book II of the Ethics. "The very names of some have an immediate connotation of evil." Modernity has often been a brave thesis which, so it hoped with its belief in progress, promised a more perfect, more charitable human estate. But on arriving at this better world in which reason or science replaces faith, we suddenly find our children terrorized in grammar schools by "peace" studies graphically picturing "doomsday," "The Day After." "Apocalypse" is now a "secular enterprise." The fires of hell are the daily fare of modern ideologies. At times, religion itself appears so tame by comparison that even clerics seem to have become vocal pacifists so they would not be outdone on the descriptive terror front.
No examined life is worth living unless it includes an account of evil as a part of its own history, beginning with itself and extending to that of the cosmos. Yet evil remains a maddening mystery, however careful we are to clarify its core. Even if we should know of evil by our own "doing" of it, we should still "know" it by intelligent reflection on our own deeds. The cost of misconceiving evil, moreover, is heavy. When we minimize its presence, we end up by trivializing human (and divine) actions and standards so that nothing makes any difference anyhow. Belsen, thus, differs from Mother Teresa's Calcutta by virtue of more than subjective preference or mere external power. When we hypostatize evil, however, in the noble hope of ridding ourselves forever of it, we tend to identify it with specific persons, nations, classes, or even angelic beings, to justify their eradication in order to eliminate evil completely so that our own lives may be pure. The classic doctrine that evil was rather a "privation" than a substance was designed, in part, to prevent this dangerous result.
On the other hand, experience suggests that Gulags bother some of us very little, while others seek to remove, say, South Africa from the face of the earth. Indeed, one of the things that strikes us about discussions of evil in modern times, as opposed to medieval treatises and traditions, is that evil is today more and more political, while for the medievals it was personal and spiritual. In any case, we are not so made that we can easily leave this topic of evil alone, even if we must, in our logic, eventually accuse the divinity of having made the world rather poorly because of the amount of evil evidently found within it. In fact, this latter seems to be the conclusion to which Professor Russell's remarkable book leads, albeit reluctantly.
Lucifer is the fourth of a series of studies on the history of evil by Professor Russell, who is currently at the University of California at Santa Barbara. (His previous books were: Witchcraft in the Middle Ages; The Devil; Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity; and Satan: the Early Christian Tradition.) One naturally hesitates to suggest that "witchcraft" is again in vogue, but these studies at least suggest that supernatural evil remains a live topic, one which can lead us to abiding questions fundamental to our existence. Professor Russell's erudition is most commendable, while his concern for the subject itself is almost anguished.
One cannot help but wonder at times whether Russell's studies in the history of evil are not themselves manifestations of his own ruminations over this basic "problem" of reality. The manner in which he works his own "logic" into his conclusions makes this book seem not so much like a "history" of evil but rather a kind of scholarly autobiography about how one man accepts or rejects the various explanations of evil that have arisen during the course of history. There is nothing wrong with this, of course, but it does give a slant, even a certain poignancy, to his work. In the end, Russell seems to leave himself with the unsettling conclusion that this world ought not to have existed at all if it is going to be as it is.
The burden of Russell's intellectual agony is precisely a creation in which it is possible both to suffer and to give thanks. "God remains responsible," Russell concluded, "for a world in which the amount of suffering greatly exceeds that necessary for the existence of human free will" (p. 309). Just how we are to calculate this "amount" remains itself obscure. And on the hypothesis of free will we might hesitate to prefer nothingness or, even less, an alternate creation in which it is precisely our kind who could not erupt into being at all.
Russell's thesis begins, on the surface, rather like several short stories of Flannery O'Connor, with a vivid newspaper account of several wanton instances of sadism and uncontrolled slaughter. Violence is described for its own sake and seems to result from a perverted will. Russell uses this sort of account to accuse the modern mind of superficiality, of neglecting to face honestly the vast amount of evil that evidently exists in the world before our very eyes, often by our own hands. Russell does not imply that such accounts of evil do not get on the police records or in the press, but that they are simply explained away, so that they have little or no effect on our sensibilities. Our academic theories have made as dull to the depth of evil in the world. In a sense, our anthropomorphic theories have so made us think we could get rid of evil by ourselves that we have refused to face the fact that we have not.
Thus, Russell proposes that such violence, which he seems to take as itself a sign of evil, along with such popular culprits as nuclear weapons, ought to force us to refocus ourselves on the reality of evil. This time, however, evil is not something spiritual or abstract, as it supposedly was in earlier eras, but something in our very midst. In this context, however, Russell has recognized that the discussion about evil is a very ancient one in ail societies, so that our age, if anything, is peculiar in not recognizing the necessity to account for evil. Russell argues that evil has a concrete "history," one we must know and respect (devils, witches, and all) before we can adequately confront both the abidingness of evil in human history and the presumed inadequacies of its previous, satanic representations.
In the end, however, Russell is no Machiavellian who tells us to lower our sights before the human enterprise of goodness, but he does maintain a lawyer's brief against God about His responsibility for evil. "The idea of the Devil is a metaphor; so is the idea of God, in the sense that anyone's view of God-Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or whatever-is a metaphor for that which passes understanding" (p. 307). If it is any consolation, Russell holds that "physics too is a metaphor." But all of this leads us to wonder "what then is a metaphor" to bear such a burden? All of this makes the older metaphysics seem rather more attractive by comparison. When Augustine and Aquinas called evil a real lack of a good, they did not intend a metaphor, however exalted.
No matter how he argues and views the tradition, Russell keeps coming back to the same conclusion, namely, that God is responsible. The main concern is clearly contained in Russell's concluding chapter, "The Existence of the Devil":
The Devil is a metaphor for the evil in the cosmos, an evil that is both in God and opposed by God: he represents the transconscious, transpersonal evil that exceeds the individual human evil will; he is the sign of the radical, unmanageable, yet ultimately transcendable evil in the cosmos. We may well be in need of another name for this force. Let it be so, if one can be found. But let it be one that does not evade, blur, or trivialize suffering. (p. 311)
This conclusion takes us back to the real problem in Russell's own theory-to wit, the identification of evil with suffering or pain. Strictly speaking, Russell's "devil" may not, as he is described, have anything to do with "evil" at all.
The question is not, then, whether God ought to have created a cosmos in which there was genuine free will-its denial, in one sense, even in the Deity, resolves the problem of "responsibility"-but one in which there was little or no suffering. Russell, in fact, seems intent on saying that there should be less evil rather than none at all (p. 309). Meanwhile, "violence can be understood as the evil infliction of suffering" (p. 20). Russell acknowledges the surgeon's knife to be legitimate, but also calls "floods" and "muscular dystrophy" "examples of violence" (p. 21). The operative definition seems to be, "The conscious and deliberate inflicting of suffering is the heart of violence and moral evil" (p. 21).
Russell carefully surveys the theories of evil that seek to relate free will and divine omnipotence and knowledge. His analysis of Aquinas and the general tradition of redemption by a Suffering Servant or a Man-God is again governed by the principle, "cancer is an evil because it causes suffering" (p. 196). If evil is a lack of good in what ought to exist, God still seems to will a world in which such a lack can appear and continue (p. 197). This is the accusation:
Thomas' God, then, does not will natural evil, but he accepts it as the necessary price for the existence of the cosmos. Is that existence worth so much suffering or is so much suffering compatible with the idea of a good God? Thomas assumed so. Not everyone would agree. (p. 198)
Professor Russell himself is one of those who would not agree. On what grounds? On the grounds that Thomas's "privation answer" fails to offer an explanation for natural evil. Why? Because "it is possible to conceive of a diverse cosmos that contains and limits suffering to a much greater extent than does this cosmos" (p, 198). As an example of this position, Russell uses this somewhat curious, sacrificial example: "The mouse, for example, might not have to suffer fear or pain but instead finds happiness in offering itself up to a weasel." That is to say, when spelled out, Russell evidently suggests, in refutation of Thomas, that if a mouse were created to be a being capable of voluntary self-sacrifice, it would be a better universe. But if a mouse could "by nature" do such a thing, it would be, in fact, a "rational being": A "mouse"-Aeschylus would grasp that it learns "by suffering." Russell, in other words, has "re-created" the world that already exists in order to reject this very same world that does exist.
We return to the initial question: Is there anything other than God? If we grant that two gods are intrinsically contradictory and unthinkable, we must grant that to exist, finite creatures other than God must bear their own limited being.
The "accusation" continually rephrased by Russell is that this particular world ought not to have existed. Or if it does, God cannot be God. God is thus "responsible" for any "suffering," whether moral or natural, because He made this world which "might" have been made otherwise. I am quite willing to grant the possibility of some other cosmos or some other redemption. The old argument about whether this is "the best possible world" need not detain us except to enable us to grant that this is a "possible" world because obviously it is.
We have to assume, therefore, that the "amount" of actual suffering in human and cosmic existence was not a surprise to an omniscient being. What was the real alternative that exists about this particular world? It is either no existence at all, or existence with the kind of beings and capacities we possess, ones which by their working out result often in suffering. And to remove human suffering caused by human freedom, we would have to demand a world in which this autonomous freedom did not exist. That is, we would demand a world in which there were no real human beings. Does this mean then that the "cause" of evil is God, especially since God is the origin of all beings, including fallen angels? It means rather, I think, what Aquinas thought it meant: God is the cause of all "being" and that "evil" is a privation, not an entity or a source in God.
How is all this admitted suffering redeemed? In blaming God for creation in the first place? In demanding another form of "being" after the genetic engineers or the philosophical revolutionaries? Or are we beings born to immortality, as Plato thought, whose very existence ought to lead to the choice of the highest things? It is possible to imagine, following Russell's remark, not only a world in which there would be "less" suffering, but a world which is "evil" with no suffering. This seems to be more or less how the fallen angelic world was conceived to be by the great scholastics. But if we are to concentrate on suffering, then of course we must ask a different kind of question, namely, does suffering lead to the highest things?
In conclusion, we could say that Russell's Lucifer is but another treatise not on evil, as it seems initially to be, or even on suffering, but on the relation of reason and revelation. The problem of evil is, no doubt, one of the central themes that mankind has agonized about over the ages. Civilizations define themselves by what they believe about evil. Professor Russell does us an inestimable service to trace this record of how evil was looked upon in our tradition. But I think that Chesterton's Wesleyan grandfather was closer to the heart of things when he was willing to thank God for existence even were he a lost soul. The concern that I have for Professor Russell's most stimulating and worthy study of evil is that by concentrating on "suffering" instead of evil he has made suffering into an accusation against God, only to have lost the real question of evil which Lucifer originally brought up-that is the possibility of a free creature choosing itself over a higher good, a choice with its own necessary consequences not only for itself but for the whole cosmos.
The nature of the person who receives or does good or evil, not the nature of God, is the locus for the proper thinking about evil and suffering. Whether it would be better for the recipient not to exist is the real theme of Lucifer. Yet in classical thought Lucifer is a being who remains, even in his own choice of himself, as Aquinas held, substantially good. All "evil" is dependent on what is good, on simply what is. The only real alternative to what is, is what is not, not some other form of creation in which there might or might not be less suffering.
The Lecherous Professor: Sexual Harassment on Campus
Billie Wright Dzeich and Linda Weiner
Boston: Beacon Press, 1984
Viii + 219 pp., $16.95
Stanley and the Women
London: Hutchinson, 1984; Colorado Springs, Colorado: Summit, 1985
256 pp., $16.95
By G.B. Tennyson
A year or so ago in Harper's Magazine there was a Tom Wolfe cartoon showing a rumpled-looking poet type at a lectern in a college auditorium; while presumably lecturing or reading his poetry he was also surveying the audience and thinking to himself something like (I no longer have the cartoon, so the words are approximate): "Afterwards, shall it be the redhead in the tight skirt or the big-busted blonde in the first row?" However the exact words went, it was clear that here was a lecturer on the academic circuit plotting his one-night stand even at the moment he was delivering himself of the higher learning. The cartoon was, I am sure, designed to be ironic and humorous, not a feminist cry. Indeed, it reminded me of an academic I once knew whose chief claim to fame was that he [sic] had been seduced by W. H. Auden following a poetry reading. But things may have gone so far now that the Wolfe cartoon could not be printed (much as Kingsley Amis's Stanley and the Women could not find a major American publishing house to release it in this country once the word got out after publication in Britain that the novel was "anti-women"); for feminists have now identified a new victimized female subgroup-namely, female college students. It is another notch on the rifle barrel of the new science of victimology.
One of the many byproducts of the decline of religious, and most particularly Christian, belief and the concomitant rise of Marxist social thought has been the exponential increase of victims and victim groups. The pattern, if not the substance, of Christianity has been retained but transferred to groups and classes, the only human categories that have any reality for the modern mind. From a Victorian cottage industry dominated by bluestockings and earnest reformers concerned with the plight of child laborers or mill workers, the practice of seeking out and identifying victims of various, kinds of social abuse has become a mega-business of the intelligentsia and the media. Who cannot recite the litany? Racial and ethnic minorities head the list, of course, but there are also short people, fat people, the handicapped, the elderly, teenagers, to say nothing of alcoholics, bag ladies, convicts, dyslexics, epicenes, farmers, garment workers, homosexuals, illegal immigrants, junkies, kindergartners, latch-key children, migrant workers, necrophiliacs, onanists, pedophiles, Quakers, Rastafarians, seals, toads, Utopians, vultures, welfare mothers -well, Phil Donahue can fill in the Y-Y-Zs. Presumably it is the faceless majority that oppresses all these minorities, though even that is in doubt now that militant feminism has proclaimed as victims that portion of American society that is largest in numbers, richest in investments, healthiest and longest-lived-women. All women, by virtue of gender.
By now we have grown accustomed to such bizarre notions as that women are to be regarded as an oppressed minority, hence that no generic sentence can be formulated without the obligatory "he/she" ("Whoever wants to go to the restroom, let him or her raise his or her hand and he or she may leave his or her seat and proceed to the door marked "His" or "Hers"), and that women are at once indistinguishable from men (thus suitable heavyweight boxers, football players, and, one presumes, fathers), and at the same time especially endowed by their Creator (creatrix?) with unique feminine characteristics beyond the capacity of anyone but another woman to understand. In short, women must be allowed to stand at the urinal while whispering secrets of their female otherness to each other.
But all that is yesterday's news. Victimology feeds on the neoterical, so feminist victimology has turned to unearthing female subgroups that are more oppressed than even women in general. The one at hand is college women. According to statistics in The Lecherous Professor, there are (as of 1982) 6,374,005 women enrolled in colleges and universities in this country; and according to the same source, 20 to 30 percent of these women are regularly subject to sexual harassment. As the authors write: "If only one percent of all college women experienced sexual harassment, there would be 63,740 women victims. Twenty percent equals 1,274,800 women. And every year a new group of women enrolls in college to become part of the problem. Higher education faces a problem of epidemic proportion." Indeed it does: The problem is where higher education is to get sufficient numbers of lecherous male faculty members to harass 1,274,800 women. Since even the authors admit that only a small fraction of male faculty is guilty of sexual harassment, it may become necessary to draft harassers simply to keep the statistics up, to say nothing of the waning potency of a largely middle-aged faculty. The military and the traditionally sexist craft and trades unions would seem the appropriate places to start the levy.
But of course, with the definition of sexual harassment used in The Lecherous Professor, only a small number of faculty is required, for sexual harassment includes the legalistic definition of the Office of Civil Rights (U.S. Department of Education), the broader definition of the National Advisory Council on Women's Education, and the "gender harassment" definition promulgated by the Commission on the Status of Women in the Profession of the Modern Language Association. These run as follows and are quoted in the original jargon:
Sexual harassment consists of verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, imposed on the basis of sex, by an employee or agent of a recipient that denies, limits, provides different, or conditions the provision of aid, benefits, services or treatment protected under Title IX.
- Office of Civil Rights
[Sexual harassment is] objectionable emphasis on the sexuality or sexual identity of a student by (or with the acquiescence of) an agent of an educational institution when (1) the objectionable acts are directed toward students of only one gender: and (2) the intent or effect of the objectionable acts is to limit or deny full and equal participation in educational services, opportunities, or benefits on the basis of sex; or (3) the intent or effect of the objectionable acts is to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive academic environment for the members of one sex. . . . Academic sexual harassment is the use of authority to emphasize the sexuality or sexual identity of a student in a manner which prevents or impairs that student's full enjoyment of education benefits, climate, or opportunities. . . .
[Sexual harassment may be described as] (1) generalized sexist remarks or behavior, (2) inappropriate and offensive, but essentially sanction-free sexual advances: (3) solicitation of sexual activity or other sex-linked behavior by promise of rewards: (4) coercion of sexual activity by threat of punishment; and (5) assaults.
- National Advisory Council
Gender harassment is considerably less dramatic in its manifestations than sexual harassment, but because it is more widespread, it seems more pernicious. It consists of discriminatory behavior directed against individuals
who belong to a gender group that the aggressor considers inferior. . . . The forms are often verbal-statements and jokes that reveal stereotypical discriminatory attitudes.
- Modern Language Association
In other words, should an offended party seek to level the charge of sexual harassment, there's no hiding place up there in the ivory tower. As the authors put it: "If sexual harassment is to be identified, reported, and confronted, students must understand when the label applies. They need to know that for behavior to be sexual harassment, it does not have to be repeated; one time can be enough. Students need to understand that harassment does not have to be of a particular type or intensity; sexual innuendoes in class are as inappropriate as invitations to bed." The bulk of this book is given over to identifying and reporting cases of sexual harassment thus understood, though of course it is the sensational cases of seduction and forcing sexual favors that the authors dwell upon. The authors have culled the burgeoning literature on the subject, taken surveys, recorded their own interviews, consulted college and university offices specifically set up to deal with the matter, and they have reported their findings in detail and with abundant citation from first-person accounts. These latter constitute, at a rough guess, about half of the total text of this book. They range from the real to merely silly, but that there are real cases of sexual harassment is what gives this study any claim to attention.
Let us grant that some professors will try to gain sexual favors in exchange for good grades, just as some students will try to offer sexual favors for good grades. (This latter circumstance is conceded by the authors but dismissed as "sexual hassle" by virtue of the "power differentiation" between the two parties. What happens should rejected "sexual hassle" turn into false allegations of sexual harassment is not considered in the book.) Confining the issue to sexual harassment by faculty of female students (the issue of harassment of male students is also not the subject of this book), one does not have to agree with the authors' delirious picture of one-and-a-quarter million women quadrennially harassed by male faculty to acknowledge that there are cases of genuine misuse of the trust placed in faculty members. The questions that arise from such a circumstance are many and varied, but the most important would seem to be: How widespread is it, why does it occur, what can be done about it? The authors rightly ask these questions but mostly wrongly answer them.
As to the extent of sexual harassment, by extending the definition so broadly Dzeich and Weiner greatly overstate the case as well as misrepresent just what is going on by the very title of their book. In their analysis of why sexual harassment occurs, the authors fall into the now-classic jargon of feminism. It occurs because of the power imbalance between students and faculty and because society assumes that men cannot restrain their sexual appetites. The fault is all on one side. And as for what is to be done about it, the authors want, of course, more regulation, more grievance committees, more punishment, more women faculty members to give support, more women faculty, period, but ultimately something that in fact used to be there and that has fled precisely with the rise of things like feminism: They want a taboo against such conduct.
The thinking of Dzeich and Weiner is well illustrated by their comments following one of the countless stories of sexual harassment:
Well, my freshman year I took a class. I didn't understand all of the readings, and by the time the final came around I found myself with an F. So I asked him if I could talk to him about grades in his office. So I went to his office and he gave me a choice-either be with him or take the F. I was attracted to him a little, but there was no way I could take the F. So I met him at his house, and I spent three hours with him in his bed. I had to close my eyes and pretend that 1 was with my boyfriend. I felt dirty, but I didn't get the F. He gave me a D. Was it worth it? Yes and no. I felt it was something I had to do to save myself.
The author's comment:
There are those for whom this college sophomore exemplifies the "loose" morality that they fear is driving society and helpless scholars toward ruin. They see her as someone willing to sell herself for a grade or a recommendation, just as prostitutes sell their bodies for money. For others, who know her and thousands like her, she is the victim of a world so confusingly competitive that it dictates bad choices to resolve seemingly worse dilemmas. In the midst of her terror over grades, three hours of unwanted sex somehow seemed less punitive, less humiliating than the omnipotent F she dreaded. Going to bed with a stranger was "something she had to do to save herself."
The student's description is simple but deserves close scrutiny. She resigns herself to the only alternative given her and takes responsibility for the choice. She does not question its fairness and does not think of seeking help from the institution. She does not condemn the professor. His demands are, to her, perfectly predictable, logical, and acceptable. He is a man. He is a teacher. She is a student with an F. If she goes to bed with him, she can pass the course. It is a matter-of-fact, possibly even familiar scenario to her. She feels dirty; the adjective applies more logically to him, but that does not occur to her.
Close scrutiny the story does indeed deserve, but perhaps of a different kind from that the authors have given it. Why is it that the authors complacently assume that it may have been a repeated scenario, and yet each time assume that the fault lies not with the student? Why did a student who "didn't understand all of the readings" wait until grade time to talk to the instructor? Was this student fit to be in college in the first place? And what kind of a slouch could extract only a D out of her three hours of prostitution? Such questions are irreverent in the world of feminist victimology, of course, for the operating assumption is the total innocence of the victim. That is, after all, what a victim means, and our investigators are determined to find victims. But with "victims" like the anonymous sophomore, who needs predators?
Far too many of the case histories and stories in The Lecherous Professor raise the kinds of questions asked above but not asked in the book. As for solutions, the call for more regulation is knee-jerkingly predictable. There will be more regulation, of course. In fact, grievance committees and councils and administrative memos are already regular features of most large campuses. Their visible achievements will be nugatory, but they will probably have a long-term effect on making faculty yet more fearful of what can be said, from the classroom to the men's room. Which is to say, there will be more consciousness-raising than ever before. But most of this is to be done by others than the offenders themselves. It is the women students who are urged to keep records of offenses ("Dear Sexual Harassment Diary: Today he said. . . ."), to boycott lechers, to seek out counselors, and the like; it is administrators and staff who are urged to operate grievance procedures, issue guidelines, pursue and punish malefactors. What of the guilty themselves? For these the authors want to see put into effect that which must bemuse all but an ardent feminist. They want what they call, following Margaret Mead, "a new taboo." No doubt Miss Mead was still trading in her dubious South Seas currency when she decided to apply the term "new taboo" to the world of business, after a lifetime of telling us that taboos, especially sexual ones, were just what we had too many of; but the term is not out of place here. If, that is, you believe in taboos in the first place, which, alas, only the unreconstructed still do. The taboo Dzeich and Weiner want is, in reality, the old taboo against sexual exploitation of anyone by virtue of one person's position of power or authority over another. Well, of course. That is and always was unethical, immoral. It even used to fall under the dread category of moral turpitude and was grounds for dismissal. Have we come all this way to learn that? The answer is yes.
These same authors who celebrate the fact that the old, idyllic picture of college life was shattered by the campus protests of the Sixties want at the same time at least one of the old restraints and taboos to return. But how are we to get it, especially in view of the fact that most professors now teaching came out of the academic culture of the Sixties and Seventies? Dzeich and Weiner put one in the mind of the story of the college president at one of those overnight postwar campuses who, surveying his spanking new buildings and a new fountain in the center quad, felt something lacking; so he caused to have the following notice posted by the fountain: "Henceforth it will be a tradition for students to toss a coin in the fountain as they pass." Henceforth indeed. Henceforth it will be a tradition . . .; henceforth it will be a taboo. . . . But that is not how traditions and taboos are made. Margaret Mead, of all people ought to have known that. But it is a mark of modern reformers not to know the most elementary things. They suppose they can conjure taboos and traditions into being by arguing passionately or by merely expressing a desire for them. A society that teaches junior high school students how to experiment with positions for sexual intercourse simply does not have the moral finger to wag at professors who choose to pay for prostitution with grades instead of money, and perhaps not even at professors who pressure the unwary into their beds. Eighteen-year-olds are now adults, the doctrine of in loco parentis has faded utterly away, and campus health services generously dispense contraceptives. This is not an atmosphere out of which to coax taboos.
Taboos do work, but only when they spring from a shared culture and shared values. The principle is illustrated when the authors quote one of their informants: "Any woman who goes in for higher education, unless she goes to Bob Jones University, is bound to tangle sexually with a professor." Not only Bob Jones University but the feminists themselves illustrate the need for there to be shared values before taboos can work. Although details are not known, it has been widely reported that militant feminists, operating in a kind of Old Girl network, tried to prevent and succeeded in delaying the American publication of Kingsley Amis's Stanley and the Women. There a "taboo" was successfully imposed, though one suspects more out of fear and cowardice on the part of the men involved in the decisions than out of agreement with the objections. This is the kind of taboo that may well be imposed in college life. If it looks more like thought control and censorship, it will not be out of place on the modern campus where far more of that goes on-always in the name of some higher value-than the general public is aware of. But are these the kinds of taboos we want? And who shall watch over the taboo-makers?
As for Stanley and the Women, how justified was the suppression? Oddly, the novel hardly seems to deserve the outrage that led to its American publishing tribulations. The notoriety itself may have done the book more good than harm as far as arousing interest is concerned, a lesson that the left has repeatedly extracted from fulminations of the right but apparently forgot when its own ox was gored. My interest is a case in point. I note from the verso of the half-title page of Stanley and the Women that Kingsley Amis has now published some fifteen novels and about an equal number of volumes of stories, poems, and nonfiction. Of the novels I have read but three and of the other works four or five. Everyone in academe still treasures Amis's brilliant first novel, Lucky Jim, and clearly sufficient numbers of readers have been found for the many novels that came afterward, but Amis has not been essential reading for all, and until the furor over Stanley and the Women, I had managed to let most of his novels slip by. The current one, however, seemed to promise some of the excitement and vitality of Lucky Jim and to deserve being read for the sake of the curiosity about the outrage it had provoked. But at the time the book was unavailable in the United States, so I sent off to England for it and eventually became the first on my block to encounter the supposed anti-female tract. (Of course I carried the offending volume in plain wrapper. No heroics here.)
Alas, another Lucky Jim this novel is not. It is only rarely funny, and often it is not even very entertaining. Nor does it seem to this reader to be in any programmatic way anti-women, although by the end of the book its protagonist could be so called. Note, however, that I say "its protagonist." Feminist opponents of the novel may have made the fundamental error of students in Introduction to Literature courses of assuming that whatever appears in print under an author's name expresses the author's own sentiments in some kind of immediate one-to-one relationship. Perhaps the opponents of Stanley and the Women were being seduced or trying to drop the course to escape seduction when they came to the section dealing with matters of interpreting the meaning of a literary work, authorial intention, character consistency, and so on; certainly they have made a simplistic equation if they think that Amis is identical with his first-person character Stanley. At least I hope so, for Stanley is a nerd and only marginally more appealing than the admittedly vile women who inhabit his world. Amis should sue the Old Girl network for slander.
The story of Stanley and the Women is the account of Stanley's dealings With an ex-wife, a current wife, a female psychiatrist, and an accommodating woman journalist during a period of personal stress brought on by the mental breakdown of his late-teenaged, young-adult son. It is an altogether disagreeable story of life in the contemporary world of middle-class professionals and middle-aged Bohemians. As such it rings true enough. Amis has captured the dreary side of the tone, the language, and the values of the world of Fleet Street, Golden Square, Hampstead, and the fringes of Chelsea. Certainly the women are monsters. One, the psychiatrist, is a very virago (which term, coincidentally, a group of feminists has proudly taken as the title of a publishing house dedicated to reprinting minor novels by women, suggesting that some feminists think being a virago is an admirable calling). Another of Stanley's women, the ex-wife and actress, is a self-obsessed, irresponsible bloodsucker. The current wife, seemingly so sympathetic for much of the novel, is finally exposed as a spoiled "Daddy's little gel" (to use Amis's rendition of upper-class British "girl"), capable of (perhaps) staging a false assault as a means of ousting the troubled son (himself a lout) and then capable of walking out on Stanley and going home to mother when her word is questioned. But the men are not greatly better. They range from the smarmy to the insane to the inept, with poor Stanley heading the cast of the latter. Stanley tends to generalize from his experiences with his harpy-women to women overall. But where exactly Amis stands is a much subtler issue.
We cannot answer the question of Amis's stance merely by quoting Stanley as spokesman for the author, but neither can it be sidestepped by saying that Stanley is "only a character in a story." Shakespeare is not Hamlet, but Hamlet created by Shakespeare makes a substantial contribution to how we perceive what Shakespeare is saying overall in Hamlet, the play. The same is true for any literary work. My own reading of the novel is that its point is not simple misogyny, any more than the point of Macbeth is to indict womankind in the person of Lady Macbeth. Probably Shakespeare did intend to show the peculiarly horrible way in which women can become, as Lady Macbeth explicitly sought to become, "unsexed" by the lust for power. But the play hardly points to Macbeth himself or any man or men in general as models. The play transcends questions of gender posed so naively. Likewise, Stanley and the Women, through no Hamlet or Macbeth, transcends such simple questions as whether women are nicer than men. The indictment made by the novel, to the extent there is one, is of the world Amis's characters inhabit. It is a petty little world, riddled by class and intellectual anxieties, captive of some of the most mind-numbing humbug of our time, like psychiatry (psychiatrists, not women, should be howling against Amis), with little to interest it but one's next drink (Stanley is here the most scarifying exhibit; none of the women flee to alcohol as he does) or one's next sexual encounter (here too the men are the greater sinners). To be sure, Stanley emerges as something of a victim, both of his society and of-sshhh!-his women. And that may be the real problem.
Reasonable people may disagree with my interpretation or my emphases. That is the business of criticism. But whose business is it to certify victims? Whose business is it to impose new taboos? And whose to obey them? To ideological feminism some victims are not only more equal than others, some other victims are not victims at all. Reality will not be allowed to interfere. Stanley and the Women may bring too much reality to bear on the science of victimology. Men can be victimized by women just as college students can be victimized by professors. We should not have to have a federal department of victimology to tell us so. Common sense will do.
A TRIBE OF DWORKINS AGAINST THE LAW
God Save This Honorable Court: How the Choice of Supreme Court Justices Shapes Our History
Laurence H. Tribe
New York: Random House, 1985
xix + 131 pp., $17.95
Laurence H. Tribe
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985
xiv + 458 pp., $29.95
A Matter of Principle
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985
428 pp., $25.00
By Glen E. Thurow
The title of the first of these books, God Save This Honorable Court, is a wry prayer from one of America's foremost authorities on Constitutional law. Its never-stated petition is that the lives of the sitting Supreme Court Justices be preserved until a more liberal President should come to power. However, because God moves in mysterious ways and does not always answer prayers, Professor Tribe means to set up a second and more reliable defense against the specter of Reagan appointments to fill the vacancies which the laws of nature promise to exact among an aging Court. (The current Court will soon become the oldest Court in American history, with five of its Justices reaching 80 or older before the next presidential election.) The book, rushed into print in the wake of Reagan's reelection, seeks to persuade the Senate that it may legitimately save what God might choose to destroy.
Tribe seeks to make it constitutionally and intellectually respectable for the Senate to reject a nominee not only on the grounds of incompetence, lack of integrity, or failure to adhere to the Constitution, but for a host of other reasons as well. Nominees, according to Tribe, should also be rejected on the grounds that they disagree with some recent important decisions of the Court (the late Justice Frankfurter would be outside the ranks of legitimate nominees today unless he recanted his opposition to the reapportionment decisions); that they do not see that our Constitution has lurched too dangerously in the direction of presidential power; that they do not contribute to a proper balance of political opinion on the Court (which is in danger of tipping too far toward conservatism); that their views are not sufficiently defended, and perhaps even that they are of the wrong ethnic group.
Although Tribe states his opposition to narrow partisanship and asserts that the Court should not be "merely a snapshot of the presently predominant social and political philosophies," the partisan bottom line of his argument is, to put it gently, blatant. Indeed, that seems inevitable given his understanding of the work of judges. According to Tribe, judges cannot avoid choosing among "competing social and political visions," and hence we (and the Senate) must examine nominees closely to be sure that their "choices will reflect our values." Such a standard would raise the Court above narrow partisanship only if "our values" are not-narrowly partisan. But many of our values have been, are, and always will be, narrowly partisan-the clash of faction and party is the very breath of our politics.
We must choose among "our values" to find some that are not simply partisan. Which are they? Traditionally the answer was the true principles of republican government as found embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. When the Court upheld the Constitution against our values, we might find in its reasoning the higher principles we had forgotten in our partisan haste. Thus the Court might even contribute to our having principles that were not simply partisan.
But this way to reach the deeper principles of our political life is rejected by Tribe, Dworkin, and today's legal scholars generally. As Tribe and Dworkin see it, the Constitution is full of inconsistencies and indeterminate words, such as "unreasonable search" and "due process." Like some freshman's composition, it often expresses very poorly what it wishes to say (read "no one" for "Congress" in the First Amendment). We must look for principles behind the words, but the text is so incomplete and vague that it provides little guidance toward seeing what those principles are.
If the words of the Constitution cannot guide us to the principles that ought to rule us, neither can the intentions of the Founders. According to these two scholars, it is not only difficult to say what the intention of a collective body such as the Constitutional Convention or the state ratifying conventions is, but even could we determine this, "Why should we permit others to rule us from the grave?" Dworkin and Tribe prefer their rulers live, a preference whose merits are perhaps not quite as obvious as they think. Although technical arguments about whether it is possible to understand the past are often given to support these positions, at root they rest upon the belief that the American Founders did not understand the proper political order very well. Tribe has such little regard for the Founders that he is fond of belittling them by innuendo. At least three times in God Save This Honorable Court he reminds us, tsk, tsk, that the Founders did not even allow women to vote, as though anyone so benighted could hardly have anything to teach us. "Better Tribe or Dworkin than Madison" would be a cry endorsed by both Tribe and Dworkin.
Yet both men, along with the bulk of their professional colleagues, think that the Court should be guided by principle. And everyone agrees that the guiding principle should be equality. We find in these books, as in the dominant legal scholarship generally, some variation in emphasis. Tribe's plural title, Constitutional Choices, reflects his concern with working out choices case by case in various areas of law. On the other hand, Dworkin's singular title, A Matter of Principle, indicates his desire for the reign of the principle of equality. Yet both agree that the principle of the Constitution is equality, and, even more importantly, both understand equality in essentially the same way. Together with many others, they do not see the connection between a proper understanding of equality and an understanding of the limitations of human nature. Consequently they understand equality and its role in our law in a way that is not only independent of the requirements of republican government, but even contrary to them.
The original understanding of equality in the United States was both rooted in an understanding of nature and attentive to the requirements of self-government. It is too little noted that the Declaration of Independence is less directly concerned with individual rights than it is with establishing public rights and purposes. The principle that all men are created equal is not merely a statement about the nature of one particular human being, but a statement about the relationship of one human being to another. As Jefferson put it, it means that "the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, or a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately by the grace of God." This equality is compatible with inequalities among men, for that we are equal in the right to govern ourselves does not specify what kind of self we have to govern. When we exercise our rights, we find that some are good speakers, others not; some have deep faith, others do not; some are capable entrepreneurs, others not. Furthermore, our inability to govern ourselves effectively-our inability to keep our rights secure from the deprivations of others-means that our effective self-government requires the assistance of a common government over us all. But government means not only inequality between the governors and the governed, but the public recognition of that inequality which enables some men to be good Senators and Presidents, and others bad. Our consent is required to government because we must artificially establish an inequality not definitively established, but required, by our nature.
The work of republican government is complex, because it must foster the sense of equality upon which it is based, but at the same time, it must allow, and indeed foster, the inequalities permitted in the exercise of one's rights and required for good government. The complicated structure of our government with its federalism, separation of powers, checks and balances, and so on, is meant to help bring about that reconciliation. The institution of judicial review itself serves the same end and can hardly be justified simply on the grounds of equality, even though it may sometimes serve the end of equality. The lordly judge presiding in his court is not, after all, a convincing picture of human equality.
This understanding of equality and its relationship to our political life is rejected by Tribe, Dworkin, and legal scholarship generally. The equality Tribe recognizes is not that which sees that by nature there are no rulers among men, His conception of equality is not rooted in nature, but nature itself is to be judged and, when found wanting, to be captured and changed. Speaking of the issue of sexual equality, Professor Tribe argues that the law cannot justly take account of differences between the sexes except to ensure that those differences do not require a different way of life. If the consequence of sexual intercourse is motherhood for women, but not for men, then it is the duty of the law to see that that burdensome state need not be the consequence. Otherwise something is required of women not required of men. Men and women are not to be regarded as human beings with distinctive bodies, but as entities who are unjustly imprisoned in different bodies. It is the duty of the state to liberate them from those bodily limitations. Although this legal theory continues to use the language of rights, the rights are no longer those possessed by actual human beings with all their human differences and limitations, but those possessed by the equal entities it would create. Consequently, government may direct our lives not only to protect the rights of others and the common good, but to make us equal in our abilities to exercise our rights.
Dworkin argues that the proper realm of judicial judgment is that of principle rather than policy. According to him, principled decisions are ones about the rights people have which stem from the "root principle that government must treat people as equals." Equality looks not to the qualities possessed by actual people, but to the attitude of the onlooker. To treat people equally means to treat them with "equal concern and respect," regardless of the sort of persons they are or the kind of lives they live. Whether a way of life is good or bad should have nothing to do with the concern and respect government must show its practitioners. This view leads him to the conclusion that there is nothing unconstitutional about affirmative action because there is no lack of concern and respect for the white workers who are admittedly its discriminatory victims. Discrimination against blacks, on the other hand, is unconstitutional because it is based upon prejudice against blacks. Similarly laws against homosexuality are unconstitutional because they are rooted in contempt for the homosexual lifestyle. "We can only harm others if we have a good will" might be Dworkin's Kantian motto.
One wonders whether this view provides a solid basis for our law, quite apart from even greater concerns. Can one be so sure that affirmative action is free of contempt for the formerly oppressive class? Is it so clear that the majority argument in Plessy v. Ferguson, which rested on the premise that blacks do not need to regard legal separation as a sign of inferiority, shows contempt for blacks? Perhaps, to the contrary, it expected too much from them. To base the constitutionality of our laws on the quality of the attitudes and emotions they allegedly contain seems a slippery slope indeed.
For Dworkin there are no principles of republican government; rather, all decisions of principle are decisions of right against government. Government has no dignity for him because its dignity is to be found in our peculiarly human nature, and his understanding of equality is divorced from that nature. As Aristotle taught, it is in politics that the uniquely human ability to discriminate the just and the unjust comes to fruition through speech. This speech distinguishes men from beasts who know nothing of justice, on the one hand, and from the Deity whose wisdom requires no discussion on the other. Politics is a realm in which men grope for justice and hence it embodies both the dignity and the limitations of human nature. When equality is understood as the judge and master of our being, rather than a reflection of our nature, we become unable to make the necessary distinctions of civilized, political life. We cannot see, as Dworkin does not see, that republican government requires that concern for all be tempered by respect for those who use their rights well or show the qualities of excellence our common life requires. We become unable to distinguish the beasts who have assumed human form among us, and hence we cannot appreciate those who are truly self-governing. And without studying human nature we cannot appreciate and preserve the principles, integrity, and reason of the Constitution.