56 I CHRONICLESntheme of betrayal in Fleming’s essay.nBut it was overshadowed by a perplexingnassault on what he repeatedly referrednto as “the enemy.” As one whonis presumably a member of the enemyncamp, I must say—I am trying to benpolite—that I found little correspondencenbetween Fleming’s rhetoric andnthe reality I see around me.n”For all the great success of then[Reagan] administration,” Flemingnwrites, “the important fact remainsnthat the enemy is still in undisputednpossession of the major institutionsnthat control the formation of attitudesnand the building of character: churches,nschools, ‘the arts,’ the press are allnenemy territory.”nIs that really a fact? Fleming identifiesn”the enemy” as “the radicalizednmainstream of American culture” andnlinks it to “the revolutionaries whonhave been reconstructing society sincenthe 1790’s.” One must go to the fictionnof Thomas Pynchon to find a morendurable or vile conspiracy.nSomething here just doesn’t add up.nWhy would revolutionaries want tonturn our schools into custodial institutionsnfor tractable subjects of the state,nendowed with only the minimal skillsnrequired by members of a robotizednwork force? How does that serve thencause of revolution? And why wouldnradicals maintain a press that dutifullynparrots the official line on all mattersngreat and small? How is the revolutionarynenterprise advanced by thosenbastions of authority, the churches, ornby arts that have been stripped of allnmeaning or humanity?nIt will probably astonish ThomasnAre there othernoptions to thenAIDSnISSUE?nFind out in “A SOUI^JDER ANTI-AIDS OPTION”nby John A. HowardnADDRESS •• STATEnSend this coupon and a check for $2.50 to:nOccasional Papers #16nThe Roclcford Instituten934 N. Main StreetnRoclcford, IL 61103nFleming that some of us on the leftnlisten to (or play) Bach partitas andnread (or recite) Eliot. We’re not thenones who have cluttered the campusesnwith corporate recruiters, the landscapenwith fast-food joints, and thenairwaves with MTV. Much as Flemingnwould like to disown those barbarousnaspects of our culture—and I cannsympathize with his plight—they havenbeen wished on us by his conservativenconstituents in the name of that greatnconservative institution, Americannfree enterprise. No revolutionariesnthere.n”Cultural conservatism,” Flemingnwrites, “will remain what it is at thisnpoint: a highly advertised parade thatnconsists of a piccolo player and a fewnfloats. We are still waiting for thenelephants.” Not to worry: The elephantsnare there, all right. I can hardlyncross the street without stepping intontangible proof of their presence.n—Erwin Knoll, EditornThe ProgressivenThe Editor RepliesnWith Prof Congdon’s argument, Inhave no quarrel, although I would saynthat there is a democratic-populistnstrain in American life, which—fromnthe very beginning—has militatednagainst anything like an Old Worldnsense of hierarchy. To the extent wenare a people with traditions worth preserving,nwe must beware of any foreignnideology—whether of the right or leftn—which would reduce ordinary citizensnto the ranks of serfs or welfarenstate subjects.nTo the cultural conservatives, I sayn”peace be on their house,” whether itnis a royal palace—as Mr. Lind suggests—nor a government buildingnerected by disgruntled social democrats.nSamuel Johnson and WalternScott both wrote political tracts, althoughneven in their propaganda theynwere not known to fudge on theirnprinciples or make common causenwith libertines and skeptics.nI suspect that Erwin Knoll and Inmay have lists of “enemies” that arennot entirely dissimilar. The revolutionariesnwho have worked the mischiefnI described are not, generally,nthe political radicals of the past fewnyears but the ideologues and bureau­nnncrats who have institutionalized a kindnof liberalism as the ruling orthodoxy. Inhave no hesitation in deploring thenfast-food industry which has not onlyncorrupted a nation’s eating habits butnhas worked to subvert the Americannfamily. It is no accident that NOWnreceives money from an industry thatnbenefits whenever economic necessityndrives a mother into the work force.nOn the question of Bach and Eliot,na European rightist wrote to the sameneffect as Mr. Knoll. Having a taste fornmusic and verse — which is surelynmore widespread on the left—is not,nhowever, the same thing as a fullbloodednappreciation of the civilizationnwe have inherited. Laying asidenthe question of capitalism or even freenenterprise, the troubling thing aboutnso many sincere radicals is their sensenof guilt and resentment toward thencommon past. America—whose historynis admittedly flawed—is reducednby radical rhetoric into a record ofnracism, intolerance, and exploitation,nand any mention of Greece or Rome isnsure to provoke a disquisition on thenevils of slavery. Radical scholars willnembrace any ideology—feminism,nMarxism, etc. —so long as it serves tonindict the past (and present). Theyndon’t like the U.S. in the here andnnow, repudiate the conservative nostalgianfor an agrarian past, and—sincenroughly 1940—they have also rejectednthe Soviet alternative, that is, thosenwho possess a drop of political integrity.nFinally, an honest man must confessnthat The Progressive’s editor hasnstruck one sore point. Under capitalism,nas Marx and Engels wrote, “allnthat is solid melts into air.” It hasnalways been and continues to be thengreat challenge for conservativenthought—how to tame the wild beastnof capitalism without imposing economicnand social tyranny. It was thenquestion asked, in one way or another,nby Eliot, by the agrarians, and by thenmost acute conservative politicalnminds of the last generation—JamesnBurnham, Frank Meyer, and JosephnSchumpeter. If Meyer’s attempt toncombine free enterprise individualismnwith traditional conservatism no longernserves, we shall have to find others,nat least those of us who are not bent onncreating a perfect world at the expensenof a habitable one.n