misguided history as a species. They arennot—as Freud, for example, assumedn— the very essence of the human condition,nbut rather the results of ourndeviation from the laws of nature. Thenquest to understand both human naturenand human beings’ denial of it leadsnFleming from political theory to sociobiology,nfrom the record of how wenhave imagined ourselves and our communitiesnto the evidence of what wenreally are. Admitting that there are fewnuniversals in the record of human societies,nhe nonetheless insists that we havenpaid too little attention to those therenare. The modern view, that humannsocieties obey the laws of cultural rathernthan biological evolution, has blinded usnto our inescapable biological roots.nRather than constantly struggling tonescape nature, we should harken to itsnfundamental law, which must be soughtnnot in “a set of ethical precepts derivednfrom reason or revelation,” but in “thenactual behavior and conditions of humannlife.” The records of human societiesndo, in fact, contain the data ofnnatural law in those customs and institutionsnthat appear universal, notably malendominance and the incest taboo.nFleming continually insists that thenrecord of actual human behaviornfar outweighs any abstract models of thenstate of nature and, on this basis, categoricallynrejects the myth so dear tonbourgeois political theorists, that mannwas born free. Evoking Joseph denMaistre with approval he maintains thatn’man has never been free.'” If mannhas any “natural rights,” they assuredlyndo not derive from some original statenof independence. “Our rights come notnfrom nature but from our nature, humannnature, and that natural law is thenbehavioral code of the human species.”nAll evidence suggests that the humannspecies has never been composed ofnsolitary beings, but of families that arenfrequently part of larger collectives andnthat are invariably dominated by men.nIn effect, male-dominated householdsnconstitute the building blocks of anynsocial system, and relations among mennconstitute the principles of social relations.nFleming finds ample evidencenthat the relations among men are naturallyncharacterized by both competitionnand cooperation. Almost from the beginningnof human societies, he argues,n”rivalry and competition for power andnauthority play an important role innestablishing and maintaining social order.”nYet cooperation is no less important:nexchange of all forms — not merelynthe ecoriomic exchange of profit andnloss — also binds humans together, frequentlynfor altmistic reasons.nThese and related arguments buildnto Fleming’s central assertion:n”Society is natural”; “our social nature”nis not a matter of choice, “it is a given.”nThe essence of that given lies in men’snobligation to take care of women andnchildren, for that obligation derives fromnthe special relations of marriage and thenfamily that lie at the root of all socialnorder. “Without these primary, naturalnobligations, no other form of rights ornduties makes any sense.” In Fleming’snthought, the family persists — or shouldnpersist—throughout history as the fundamentalnsocial unit. Families cohere inncommunities, communities in towns,ntowns in states, and so forth. But undernno circumstances should the coherencenbe permitted to undermine the internalnrelations of the aggregate units. FollowingnTbnnies, Fleming emphasizes thendecisive difference between communitynand society, and insists that our socialnand political health require the protectionnof communitas in all its forms. Onnthis basis, natural male aggression cannsafely and appropriately be channeledninto the ritualized political and militaryncontests characteristic of society.nGovernance, in Fleming’s view, isnprimarily a matter internal to familiesnand communities. We live with a statenthat illegitimately intrudes itself intonthe affairs of families, intervening betweennparents and children, corrodingnthe natural bonds of the family unit. Innstark contrast to what we know, Flemingnproposes a return to a genuinenfederalism of the kind advocated bynAlthusius at the dawn of the 16thncentury. In this model, society is organizedninto a pyramid of units, beginningnwith families, and proceedingnthrough corporations, towns, and provinces,nup to the state itself. The constituentnmembers of the state are notnindividuals but these corporate politicalnunits. At every level, discrete units arenrepresented by individuals who bandntogether to form the next unit. Fathers,n”the judges and foreign ministers ofntheir families,” represent their householdsnto the next larger unit, and sonforth. Government, Fleming approvinglynquotes Althusius, “is held togethernby sovereignty (imperium) [and]nsubjection.” But, and here lies thenheart of the matter, the sovereignty andnsubjection should be exercised throughna federated political structure along thenlines of the great chain of being. Conflictsnwithin families should be resolvednwithin families, conflicts within neighborhoodsnwithin neighborhoods, andnon up the scale. Never should the statenbe allowed to intervene in matters bestnsetded by the direct participants. In ournaccelerating departure from the laws ofnour own nature, we are creating anmonster that will level us all in thenname of a chimerical and unnaturalnequality. By accepting the view ofnourselves as atomized individuals, wenare inviting the destruction of our verynhumanity.nFleming’s vision has many attractivenand compelling features, especiallynhis insistence that we recognize thenbiological or material foundations of ournhumanity and his plea for a new federalismnthat tailors government to the measurenof human communities. But therenare problems. His sneering references tonMarxists and radical feminists, whichndisfigure and demean an otherwise seriousndiscussion, deserve no more thannpassing reference. He clearly betrays hisnlack of interest in either Marxism ornfeminism by confusing the Eighteenthnwith the Nineteenth Amendment andnby citing Marx’s famous dictum thatnmen make their own history withoutnadding the qualification, “but not undernconditions of their own choosing.” NornM O V I N G ?nLET US KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!nTo assure uninterrupted delivery ofnChronicles, please notify us in advance.nSend change of addressionnthis form with the mailing label fromnyour latest issue of Chronicles to:nSubscription Department, Chronicles,nP.O. Box 800, Mount Morris, Illinoisn61054.nNamenAddress .nCitynnnState ^ip_nJANUARY 1989/35n