tion” of the I4th Amendment,nMs. Baer’s argument for equalitynunder the Constitution is actuallynthe elevation of leftist propagandanfar above the Constitution.nIn her procrustean “reclamation”nof the legislative intentnand the philosophic underpinningsnof the amendment at issue,nMs. Baer evades, trashes, andntruncates more than she reclaims.nFor instance, she choosesnto “stick to the eighteenth century”nin interpreting life as ann”inalienable right” so that she canndodge the abortion issue asnmerely “vexing” (and antitheticalnto her feminist agenda), butnthen she opens “the pursuit ofnhappiness” into a veritable cornucopianof Federal protections forn20th-century aberrations abominablento 18th-century sensibilities.n(Thomas Jefferson wouldnbe more than mildly surprised tonfind his phrase hijacked into andefense of legalized sodomy.)nSimilarly, Ms. Baer cites thenChristian doctrine of the equalitynof souls before God as the historicalnbasis of “equal respect” as anlegal right of every American, butndismisses as irrelevant to our agenevery Christian conception ofnsexual ethics or familial integrity.nWith “equal respect” for thenaspirations to power of everyonenon the far left, and utter contemptnfor the sane reasoning ofnmost jurists, philosophers, andnscholars located anywhere elsenon the continuum, she stoops tonthe same kind of tendentiousndisingenuity in her analysis ofnaffirmative action. After bewailingnthe past discriminationnagainst minorities and women,nshe incredibly posits the equitynof quotified “benign discrimination”nas superior to the “confusednand arbitrary” practice ofnawarding employment and educationalnopportunities solely onnthe basis of merit, as manifest inntest scores and grades. She convenientlynfails to note that Federalnregulations specifying justnwhat fraction of one’s geneologynmust be black (or Eskimo) innorder to warrant preferentialntreatment are disturbingly similarnto the nazi “Jew Laws” definingnjust what degree of racialnpurity kept one out of the gasnchambers. Though Ms. Baernterms the practice “benign discrimination,”nit has actually castnthe malevolent shadow of unfairnadvantage on all women andnminorities whose talent andnintelligence do not need governmentalninflation, whilenspawning many bitter jokesnamong white males about dyeingntheir skin dark and getting a sexchangenoperation so they can getninto medical, law, or graduatenschool. Certainly, after finishingnMs. Baer’s book it is hard not tonthink that whoever admitted hernto graduate school employed thenmost “benign” discriminationnpossible, far removed from thenmost rudimentary standards ofnmerit or intelligence. ( BC ) DnOf Criticismnand CredosnChris Baldick: The SocialnMission of English Criticism,n1848-1932; Clarendon/OxfordnUniversity Press; New York.nAmong major religions, Marxismnis remarkable for its popularitynamong Western intellectuals.nOfficially, of course, Marxismnrepresents itself as an atheisticnscience. Nonetheless, it featuresnmany strikingly religious charac-nteristics: its canonization ofnsaints (St. Karl, St. Lenin, St. Mao,netc.) to whom numerous miraclesnare attributed and to whomniconic shrines are erected; itsnenforced orthodoxy of dogma;nits zealous army of missionariesnpreaching the regeneration ofnprofit-sinning humankind in thensocialist “new man”; and itsnanticipation of an apocalypticn”end of history” ushering in annew heaven and new earth.nGiven Marxism’s actual performancenwherever it has beennimplemented, it might evennproperly be called an otherworldlynreligion, a pie-in-the-skynfaith. Nonetheless, Marxism doesnoffer its devotees somethingnincreasingly hard to find in thenWest: a doctrine larger than thenself. Such a doctrine can makenpossible a sense of purpose, anwillingness to sacrifice, and anfeeling of oneness with othersnlikewise devoted. Because itnprescribes a well-defined set ofnstandards by which aU of life is tonbe evaluated, it can also makenpossible a systematic and rigorousnliterary criticism.nThough Christian ethics andndoctrine formed an acceptednbedrock in the criticism of Dryden,nAddison and Steele, andnJohnson, no such creedal foundationnis visible in most Englishncriticism since Matthew Arnoldndeclared that Poetry itself was tonbe modern man’s religion. As anMarxist critic, Chris Baldick willnhave no other gods before DialecticalnMaterialism and its onlynbegotten son, Class Struggle;ntherefore, he rejects the Amoldiannfaith. Indeed, in The SocialnMission of English Criticism,n1848-1932, Dr. Baldick provesnthat despite Arnold’s professedn”disinterestedness” the doctrinalnamorphousness of his new religionnforced him and his followers—thenearly T. S. Eliot, I. A.nnnRichards, and the Leavises—intonirreconcilable contradictionsnand groundless subjectivism.nMuch of what these critics stoodnfor in thefr fight for cultural andnsocial continuity was quitenvaluable, but lacking any undergirdingnmetaphysic, they couldnjustify their critical pronouncementsnonly by reference to “thenwell-rounded personality,” “thenhealth of the mind,” “flexibility,”nand other equally vague abstractions.nThus, even as these writersndemanded more cultural powernfor the critic-priest as an antidotento mass culture and social disintegration,nthe terms in whichnthey appealed for communalnreverence became increasinglynprivate, arbitrary, and opaque.nFor a well-catechized Marxist,nsuch critics make an easy marknfor a radical jUiad; accordingly.nDr. Baldick has little troublenexposing, the logical holes in thenrobes of this competing criticalnpriesthood. But what Dr. Baldickndoes not attack is actuaUy morenrevealing than what he does. Hisntreatment of Eliot leaves untouchednthe older, “reactionary”nEliot, who came to realize afternhis conversion to Anglo-Catholicismnthat literary criticism mustnhave a theological componentnand that religion not art (andnemphatically not communism)nmust provide the basis for overcomingnsocial antagonisms. Dr.nBaldick is no fool: he knows thatnMarxist evangelists can rush innonly where angels do not tread.n(BC) nnYou Are WhatnYou WearnWalter Isaacson: Pro andnCon; G. p. Putnam’s Sons; New York.nFew people since the time ofnSwift and Pope have taken intonaccount the correlation betweennmatters sartorial and cerebral.n•HHi29nJune 1984n