Anyhow, if Mr. Hodsoll were thenczar (commissar?) that Mr. Kostelanetznsays he is, Mr. Kostelanetz shouldnbe afraid to say so, especially since, ifnmy memory serves, Mr. Kostelanetznhimself has enjoyed Arts Endowmentnsupport—with the chairman’s full assent.n—]acob NeusnernProvidence, RInOn ‘CulturalnConservation’nThomas Fleming is right when henobserves that “there is no sign of annEliot on the horizon” {Chronicles, Julyn1987). Why, one wonders, has Westernnculture not produced a majornvoice—an Eliot, a Pound, a ThomasnMann—since 1945? Is it, perhaps,nbecause we have come to take democracyntoo literally? It is one thing, afternall, to accede, a la Tocqueville, tonuniversal suffrage. But it is quite anothernto suppose that all voters arencompetent to make political judgments.nYet many people appear tonbelieve just that. Worse, they extrapolatenfrom the egalitarian political principle;nbefore long they oppose all ordersnof rank, all forms of “elitism.”nOver time, this assault on the principlenof hierarchy has taken its toll. It hasndestroyed our willingness and even ourncapacity to make distinctions of anynsort. That is why so many of our fellowncitizens assert without fear of contradictionnthat all “life-styles” and allnforms of cultural expression are ofnequal worth, matters of individualntaste not subject to higher appeal.nRead, if you are able, the personalsnin The New York Review of Books.nThey are almost always written bynpeople seeking people who professnequal enthusiasm for Mozart andnWoody Allen, vintage wine and nachos.nOr listen as university professorsnexplain why it is impossible to compilena list of great books. Who, they asknwith a patronizing smile, is to judge?nDespite such false modesty—false becausenthey speak with authority againstnauthority—they and other membersnof our cultural establishment lavishnpraise on movies, television shows,nrock music, and other bearers of then”popular culture.” At the same time.nthey affirm the value of art that celebratesnthat which is common, undistinguished,ndemocratic. Dr. Flemingnreports that even the draft statementnon “Cultural Conservatism” declaresn”explicitly that the most importantncomponent of culture is not high culturenbut the values of ordinary people.”nWilly-nilly then, its authors arencontributing to the leveling. Far fromnrecognizing any responsibility to extendna tradition that is nothing if notndiscriminating, they conspire to destroynit.nIn Democracy and Poetry, his brilliantnJefferson lecture, Robert PennnWarren sounded the alarm. He urgednus not to forget that “the making ofndistinctions in the nature of experience,nin the nature of life as lived, is atnthe center of any art.” Poetry, hencontinued, provides “the Archimedeannpoint from which we can makendistinctions, from which we can considernthe world of technology and,nindeed, of democracy.” No one, henknew, who insists that all discriminationsnare arbitrary, is likely to give usngreat art, art that enlarges and modifiesnthe tradition in which it is deeplynrooted. Precisely this, the defense andndevelopment of our tradition, constitutesnthe essence of “cultural conservatism.”n—Lee CongdonnHarrisonburg, VAnWe at the Institute for Cultural Conservatismnvery much appreciate yournthoughtful article “Cultural Conservation”nin the July issue of Chronicles,nalthough as a practicing monarchist Inwas somewhat amused to be describednas a neoliberal Democrat. Perhapsnmost satisfying to us was your commentnthat “We might die happy ifneither party incorporated these prescriptionsninto its platform.” The draftnagenda is a political rather than annacademic or “high philosophical” document,nalthough we have certainlynstriven to make it sound philosophically.nOur goal is to forge a basis onnwhich a broad, majority coalition cannbe built, a coalition dedicated to thenrestoration of traditional Western culture.nUnder current conditions that is,nnecessarily, a political task.nWe agree with you that the draftnagenda is deficient in its treatment ofnnnthe high arts. We wrestled at greatnlength with the treatment of that subjectnand ultimately brought forth, asnyou note, a mouse: a short discussionnof aesthetics that focuses on architecture.nAs elsewhere in the draft, wenneed and welcome outside assistance.nWe would be most grateful for anynhelp you could give us in improvingnthe document in this critical respect.nIn your comments, there is, I think,none possible misunderstanding. Wenwelcome justification of Western culturenin terms of religion and naturalnlaw. But, since our goal is building thenwidest possible coalition to supportnthat culture politically, we also welcomenthose who support it on otherngrounds. In order to build a coalition,nwe want the broadest possible definitionnof a cultural conservative. Thatnseems to be one who supports traditionalnWestern culture—for whatevernpersonal reasons.nFinally, I must note that two of thenindividuals you mention are the principalnreasons I count myself a culturalnconservative: Russell Kirk and SamuelnJohnson. The former has been so kindnas to tell us he supports our efforts; Inlike to think, a la Beerbohm’s In thenShades, the latter does as well.n—William S. Lind, DirectornInstitute for Cultural ConservatismnI prefer Chronicles to the other conservativenperiodicals I see from time tontime because I have come to expectnfrom your publication a degree of intellectualnrigor that is, unfortunately,nall too rarely found on the Americannright. More than most of your ideologicalncomrades-in-arms, you shun theneasy cliches of mean-spirited reactionnand maudlin state-chauvinism.nTherefore, I can well understandnthe cri de coeur raised by ThomasnFleming in his disquisition on “CulturalnConservation” in the July issue.nHe is, after all, by no means the firstnconservative to lament “O temporal Onmores!”nI expected to find a jeremiad againstnFleming’s fellow conservatives —nparticularly in the Reagan administrationnand the upper echelons of Americanncapitalism—who have renderednsuch gross disservice to the quality ofnculture and civil discourse in ourncountry. Indeed, I did find that subtlenSEPTEMBER 1987155n