and confirms his thesis, Willncites Crevecoeur’s view thatnAmerica cools the religious zealnof European immigrants. Had Willncondescended actually to minglenwith American conservatives, henwould have discovered thatnWestern religious fervor survivesnonly in America. Will believesnthat a “conservative welfire state”ncould strengthen churches andnfamilies, dismissing the antigovemmentnrhetoric of the right asnmere libertarianism. But why isnAmerican religion still vibrantnwhile the state churches ofnEurope (including Burke’snAnglicanism) are corpse-cold?nPrecisely because the FoundingnFathers presciendy understoodnthat to be strong, religion (likenfamilies) must be independent.nHence, rather than joining Willnin heaping opprobrium on thenFounders, inillions of conservativesnwhom he pretends do notnexist recognize that the real destroyersnof public virtue are thenirreligious Utopians of this centurynwho have hellishly pervertednour society by rendering tonCaesar feith that belongs only tonGod. (BC) DnAesthetics innthe AbyssnJoachim Maass: Kletst; Farrar,nStraus & Giroux; New York.n”The estimation of the value ofnart,” vsTote Leo Tolstoy, “… dependsnon men’s perception ofnthe meaning of life, depends onnwhat they consider to be thengood and the evil of life. And whatnis good and what is evU is definednby what are termed religions.” Innthe light of Tolstoy’s observation,nit is hardly surprising that the favorablenreevaluation now innprogress of German dramatist,nessayist, and short-story writernHeinrich von Kleist should benexplicable only in terms of shift­ning religious attitudes. The importancenand rm^tude of Heist’sntalent has been certified by suchneminent German artists as RUke,nWagner, Brahms, and Mann, butnduring his ovrai lifetime Kleist receivednonly limited acclaim,nGoethe responding to his worksnwith “horror and revulsion.” Tona large extent, the reason for thisnneglect was that his imaginativenpredilections for bizarre eroticism,nunsettling doubt, and bafflingnabsurdity were not congenialnto the Judeo-Christian heritagenstill pervasive, though fading, innearly 19th-century Germany.nAnd when Kleist simultaneouslynviolated two of the most sacrednprohibitions of Christendom bynfirst shooting another man’s terminallynill wife (albeit at her request)nthen killing himself, evennhis appreciative fiiend and supporternAdam Muller labeled itn”sacrilege.”nAccording to another modemndramatist of stature, WilliamnButier Yeats:nThe intellect of man is forcednto choosenPerfection of the life, or of thenwork.nAnd if it take the second mustnreftisenA heavenly mansion, raging innthe darknKleist would ippeac to illustratenYeats’s view perfectly; however,ncontemporary writers and scholarsnare determined to canonizenboth Heist’s work and his life. Itnis tempting to account for thisnsimply by pointing to an apparentnlack of something mentioned innYeats’s first line. But more importantnthan mindlessness to thenrising reverence for Heist is faithlessness.nIndeed, because the dilemmanposed by Yeats presupposesna potently skeptical premise,nit must be resolved to the culturalndisadvantage of religion.nThat is, if society is already certainnthat only those who turnnaway fi-om heavenly mansionsncan produce art worthy of beingnconsidered “perfect,” it cannotnlong prevent atheism and gloomnfi-om displacing faith and hope asnthe accepted standards againstnwhich both art and artists are tonbe measured. Consequently, then”imperfection” of a despairingnand self-destructive life mustnnecessarily metamorphose intonsaintUness for those whose highnculture is exclusively shaped bynmen “raging in the dark.” Hence,nJoachim Maass’s worshipfiil biographynof Heist, the first fiollnstudy of his life to be translatedninto English.nWhen explaining his subject,nMaass fl-ankly concedes that “atnthe bottom of his heart he was annihilist,” that “the destructivendrive was strong in him,” andnthat his actions were characterizednby “madness” and “a secretnsadism,” but his adoration for thenman seems all the more unrestrainednfor these very reasons.nHis eyes must have been wetnwith tears of devotion whennwriting about his idol’s murdersuicide:n”Did ever an artist’s actionnprove the truth of his worknmore strikingly?” For Maass, “thisndeath had meaning,” and Heist’snletters announcing it are “thenmost splendid ever written bynanyooe in the fece of death.” Perhapsnsuch pronouncements wiUnpass for truth among the congregationsnwho meet in fashionablenNew York salons. But manynreaders will remember a fer morensplendid letter written by thennnApostle Paul when his “time ofndeparture” was also at hand: henwrote sublimely of a good fightnfought, a courageous course finished,na profound fiiith kept, andnof a Galilean whose death was farnmore pregnant with meaningnthan his own or than that of a histrionicnsuicide. (BC) DnPerceptiblesnWill Morrisey: ReflecUons onnDe Gaulle: Political Foundingnin Modernity; universitynPress of America; Washington, D.C.nJust as a nickel can hide thensun if held close enough to theneye, the exclusive contemplationnof France’s currents* helmsmanncan obscure the greamess ofnmany of its past leaders. In hisnReflections on De Gaulle WillnMorrisey enhances our sense ofnperspective by reminding us thatn20th-century France previouslynfollowed a 6r superior statesmannOne need not wholly admire denGaulle’s haughty personality nornagree vklth all of his public actionsnto perceive his remarkable talentsnas a politician and his philosophicalnacuity as a historian and writer.nFor the nation he deeply loved,nhe repeatedly wrought miracles.nHis chief failure, as Mr. Morriseynpoints out, was his inability tontrain a new elite who could transcendnthe inadequacies of purelynmodem thought as he did and annew citizenry vs^ho would follownthem. Hence, M. Mitterrand.nJohn W. Whitehead: The Stealingnof America; Crossway Books;nWestchester, IL.nAs a committed Christian, JohnnWhitehead is an opponent of thenDevil. As he makes clear in ThenStealing of America, he is deeplyn^smaa^^nOctober 1983n