Editor’s Commentncontinued from page 5nhow to live a rewarding life.” We live in the post 60’s-70’snAmerica; a killer tornado has demolished our cultural landscapenleaving empty spaces, ruined edifices, and a rubble ofndirectives for how to live twisted into caricatures. We mournnour missing valuables: smart integrity, practical optimism,ncheerful rectitude. But there’s the Woodstock generation outnthere paying dearly for the speciousness of radical incantations,nand we must address it with rationality, not dogmas. Annew stratum is emerging, perhaps the next American rulingnclass—^the sons and daughters of rednecks and ethnics who,nwhile melting in the pot, got burned by the alchemists of then60’s and were nauseated by chumming with the kids of thenwealthy, liberal elites on the campuses and in big cities. Theyngrew into media and computer mavens, and they now want tongo back and live by Merle Hazard lyrics without relinquishingnMasterpiece Theater. They don’t know how to reconcile bothnso we must tell them, for they are an expanding and explosivenconstituency that is only superficially acculturated to the officialnmodish cliches and not really convinced about the liberalnsyrup. To my mind, they are ready for a new, modified nationalism,na new manifest destiny. When talking to them we mustnnot confiise morality and mores—^as our less sophisticatednbrethren do and then wonder why so few will listen. We mustnmake it crystal clear that we can distinguish between progressnand change, freedom and liberation, past values and the permanencenof values, and why we do so. We must pledgenallegiance to legitimate and sensible human aspirations, andngentiy explain why we believe not in man’s perfectibility butnin his corrigibility. Whatever we have to say must be turnedninto an upbeat message that will put less emphasis onncapitalism’s merits, communism’s menace, antiabortion, andnschool prayer as the ultimate in patriotism, and insist more onnour ability to formulate a pattern for a meaningful existentialnfulfillment—^that is, a reevaluated philosophy of life. Once wenget that message across, it will occur to many that tve, not thenliberals, know more about peace of mind, priorities of emotions,nand criteria of both joy and dignity, and that our intellectaalncommodities are of higher cultural quality than what is rammedndown their throats by the liberal culmre. If we succeed innnnmaking our agonies a high drama, our wisdom a feshion, ournmoral order an elegance, our ethical concerns a snobbishness,nour quandaries an excitement, and our ambivalences a suavity—nwe will have our breakthrough in culture, and it is culturenwhich, more subtiy and enduringly than any other fector, determinesnpower in a democracy.nX hose who were enchanted with our triumph of 1980nand are now sorely disenchanted do not realize that it was justna political victory, frail and shallow by nature, not a revolutionnbut a tremor that merely shuffled furniture without changingnreality. If modem semiotics has it right, President Reagannseems to have forgotten that his election was a sign, and henseems unaware that he has now been badly desymbolized.nWho is to be blamed for his desymbolization? I don’t know; I’llnnever understand why he prefers to fi’aternize with the procommunistndemimonde of Hollywood or the assortednCronkites, rather than to invite Otto Scott, Henry Regnery, ornAnthony Harrigan for dinner. He ignores the fact that by doingnthe latter, he would help to shape our influence with badlynneeded exposure, which is of crucial significance for embellishingnhis own ideological image, not to mention a net intellectualnprofit from the conversation. Not long ago one couldnread an apt sentence in the Wall Street Journal: “Mrs. Thatchernand Mr. Reagan are in oflSce; they aren’t in power.” That’s right,nand they won’t ever be in power unless they address themselvesnto us, the workers in the fields of cultural sophistication,nfor only our influence and mediation can solidify their baUotngains into a sway over minds—^as was once done with FranklinnRoosevelt and John Kennedy.nNothing better symbolizes the liberal genius than its mostnsuccessful exhortation: “Go East, young man, marry annheiress, and found a journal of opinion—^for only a lot ofnmoney wiU assure the robustness of your liberal catechism.nThere’s a lot of power in doUars earned by the old, traditionalnvirtues, and then tamed into pernicious inteUectaaUty. Thenolder the money, the more madcap the socialism you’U benable to preach.” If conservative ideas are deficient in consequences,nperhaps it’s because we neglect to wangle moneynfrom heiresses (who would be willing to give it to us whennthey became infataated with our refined charms) and get itninstead from business people and politicians (who shortsightedlyndemand instant retams and dividends). After Reagan’snascent, there was a lot of talk about the freshness of our ideas.nAs we now can see, those ideas did not prevail. If they conquernin the fiitare, it wiU be because the liberal culture is already andustbin of moral routines and cognitive stereotypes, while wenare stiU moved by moral passions and by the cognitive revelationnthat things can be so dazzingly correct and profoundlynsimple. Once we succeed in translating this wisdom into thenlanguage of our time, we shaU be consequential winners.n—Leopold Tyrmandni^f 37nJuly 1983n