A PRUDENT PROGRESSIVE by Leopold TynnandnThe year of the yuppie?nIt seems so, if you read Newsweek.nEvery poHtical season and every decadencan be characterized by the emergencenof some subclass: its very coalescenceninto a social phenomenonnattracts attention. Every year belongsnto this or that mobile or active sectionnof society and the circumstance thatnthe so-called yuppies (a sobriquet asngood as any; its accuracy is more phoneticnthan semantic) are numericallynsubstantial and economically significantndoes not actually account for theirnimpact on the historical moment.nRather, the intriguing questions are:n”Who is going to have them?” andn”Did they evolve a sense of commonnpurpose?”nThese questions are directly connectednto the obvious ideological polarizationnof the American society andnpolitics. By “who” we understand thenideological competitors for America’snsoul. One must admit that in order tonconfuse everybody, the yuppies behavenwith frolicsome coquetry: cliche-pronennewspapermen tend to call them fiscalnconservatives and cultural liberals—asnif such a mongrelization of attitudes isnpossible. Yet, Mr. Hart, their firstnpatron saint, got massive support fornhis insouciant syncretism; later, in thenReagan-Mondale showdown, they unabashedlynsupported the former who,nconsidering their “lifestyle” philosophy,nshould have been for them annobject of derision—if only for the waynhe combs his hair. For some, “Who isngoing to have them?” means “Fornwhom are they going to vote in thenforeseeable future?” These observersnseem to believe that political destiny,nor, at least, political preference, prescribesna generation’s soul. As yuppiesnabove all are a generational occurrence,nthe natural answer should be:nthey probably will vote for those whonwill try to find a way to their soul—benit collective, or symbolic, or the consciousnessnof each human individual.nTo credit them as a whole with ancohesive philosophy is pure rubbish.nThese are people who in their lifetimenhave cruised from the placidity of thenEisenhower years, through the surrealismnof the 1960’s, to the hystericalnnarrow-mindedness of the 1970’s, tonthe neosobriety of the Reagan era. Innfact, they should be credited with anpsychological resilience: to passnthrough this revolving door to arrive atna sort of truce between Zeitgeist andnfree will is a glorious achievement.nThe propagandists, who descendednupon them during 1984 like buzzards,ncall them “the best educated . . .ngeneration in American history,” anstrange way to describe a generation ofndropouts which marched to the electronicsnindustry and Wall Street vianpsychedelic boutiques and which nownlooks for guidance from Esquire or then”Styles” section of the Sunday paper.nThe thing is that they are up forngrabs. Any philosophy, ideology, politicalncreed, trend, fashion, school, ornstyle, of thinking can have them,nprovided that it can give them theirnown sense of value, which they cravenand which they must retrieve fromnunder the rubble of our civilization’snshattered sense of normalcy. Howevernstriking may have been their professionalnor financial success at forty,ntheir life must nevertheless be fillednwith something more than what theynfind in rock videos. It’s naive to try tonexplain them through sociology andnstatistics and then forecast their futurenpolitical sympathies. The perceptionnthat the road to their political favorsnleads through economic satisfactionsnand promise is faulty: as a matter ofnfact, to make them a social force and,nconsequently, a powerful political factor,na coherent vision of their collectivendestinies is mandatory. This cannbe achieved only through culture. Notnbefore they produce their own Hemingway,nwho will give them their literarynlanguage; their Scott Fitzgerald,nwho will depict their life and reflect onntheir bearing, posturing, and grooming;ntheir Faulkner, who will drill theirnconsciences, express their hidden pas­nsions, cast them against the good andnevil and teach them the profundity of anmoral paradox—in other words: notnbefore they see themselves in the mirrornof genuine cultural creativity cannany speculation about their politicalnrole in history have validity. Withoutnthis sort of catalysis, they’ll soon turnninto a socially meaningless sound, likenthe Okies, whom we only remembernfor one novel and one movie, or thenhippies, who were unable to produceneven such meager distinction.nDemocracy is supposed to reflect thenfree will of the people. Many of democracy’snmost thoughtful defendersn—Alcibiades, Burke, Adams, Tocqueville,nDisraeli, to name a few—hadnsome doubts whether it is exactly so.nThis disbelief never made them eitherncondemn or abandon democracy. Accordingnto Churchill, democracy is thenworst of political systems, except that itnwas superior to every alternative. Itnseems to me, at this date in America,nthat we know even more and betternthan Churchill how perfidious democracynmay be, but we still stick to it.nThank God. ccnFREE with this coupon:n1984 and “nThe Modern MmdnPlease rush me your colorful review ofnThe Center on Religion & Society, ThenIngersoU Prizes in Literature and thenHumanities, and the other exciting programsnof The Rockford Institute.nNamenAcklress_nCitynnnLnStiite_ .Zip_nSend to: The Kockford Instituten934 North Main StreetnRocktbrd, Illinois GU()3nAPRIL 1985/39n