are occasional errors the main problem.nFleming, doubtless suffering the intellectualnostracism of the academy, had tonwork for long stretches without benefitnof a research library or research assistance.nThese situational liabilities unavoidablynleave their mark on his sweepingnforay through political theory,nsociobiology, psychology, and contemporarynlife, occasionally giving his booknthe voice of one who has been instructingnand talking to himself In this respect,nhis book resembles some of thengreat works of political thought that alsonbear the signs of their authors’ continuingnself-education, as well as the consumingndesire “to grasp the scheme ofnthings entire.”nLike his aspiring forebears, Flemingnalso seeks imaginatively to reshapenthe sorry world we know closer to hisnheart’s desire. In this quest, he brilliantlynseeks the salient causes of our mostnpressing woes in the corrosive and disintegratingntendencies of a radical individualismnthat abstracts from the specificitynof human nature. But, in so doing, henrisks falling into his own version of thenutopianism that he reproaches in sonmany others. In attempting to sidestepnpolitical philosophy’s exercises in abstraction,nFleming turns directly to thenevidence from sociobiology, thus effectivelynjumping over most of historynbetween the ancient Athenians and ournown time. To be sure, he locates thenimmediate origins of systematic individualismnin the 17th century, but he doesnnot associate it with any specific historicalndevelopments. Not for him thencomplications of the emergence of capitalismnand the rise and triumph of thenbourgeoisie. Presumably such questionsndetract from the elegant simplicity ofnthe story he wishes to tell. Presumablynalso, from his perspective, they countnfor little, since the human species hasnmaintained its basic attributes throughoutnthe vicissitudes of historical events.nFleming’s strategy serves his purposesnwell, but will not pass muster as anserious consideration of the issues thatnmost concern him. To cast the debate,nas he does, as one between biologicalnevolution and cultural evolution is tonpass in silence over precisely what isnmost central to our humanity—ournhistory. The contemporary ills thatnFleming so convincingly deplores cannotnbe attributed to biology, nor cann36/CHRONICLESnthey be attributed simply to the maliciousntheories of irresponsible philosophers.nFleming’s predecessors, likenFleming himself, developed their theoriesnas commentaries upon their ownnsocieties. Modern individualism, whichndid accompany the rise and triumph ofnthe bourgeoisie, did not begin with thenfall of Rome. It began with the rise andnexpansion of capitalism which has, sincenits inception, been a self-revolutionizingnsystem capable of penetrating the wallsnof even the best-governed householdsnand the minds of even the best-rearednchildren.nIn Virginia, in the 19th century,nGeorge Fitzhugh took the measurenof the problem. Recognizing the tendencynof the capitalist market to levelnhierarchies, sever children from theirnparents, wives from their husbands, andnservants from their masters, Fitzhughnunflinchingly proposed outright war onncapitalism. Give no quarter, he admonishednhis fellow slaveholders, for if younfail to resist the least capitalist incursionnupon the institutions you hold dear, younwill live to see them crumble beforenyou. The course we have pursued sincenFitzhugh’s day justifies his warning, ifnnot his proposed solution. In our ownntime, only the Soviets have been able tonopt out of the capitalist market that isnengulfing the world, and even they arenhaving to rethink their position. Thenrest of us, for better or worse, remainncondemned to deal with it directly or tonsuccumb to its suffocating embrace.nThe problem, as Fleming would benthe first to recognize, admits of no easynsolution. If, as he so insightfully argues,nmodern individualism has bequeathednus, in addition to its innumerable miseries,nthe blessing of individual moralnresponsibility, so has capitalism, in additionnto its miseries, afforded us thenability — should we choose to grasp it—nto save the peoples of the world fromnstarvation, to save women from death innchildbirth and infants from prematurendeath, to vanquish smallpox and syphilis,nand more. Perhaps Fleming wouldnprefer to forego these benefits in theninterests of restoring the integrity of thenfamily, but even he might blanch at anlife without heating or air-conditioning,nwithout braces and flouride and a polionvaccine. Whatever his preferences withnrespect to these and other matters, hencannot honestly duck the underiyingnnnproblem. I should be the first to agreenwith him that our society has woefullynfailed to contain the worst effects ofncapitalism to the detriment of our families,nour culture, our ethics; the first tonagree that our intellectual elite has tooneagerly swum with the current rathernthan erecting the necessary damsnagainst it. But I cannot follow him innpretending that our political philosophersnhave written in a vacuum.nPolitical philosophy alone is not responsiblenfor the large corporations thatnmove employees from place to place,nsevering generations from each other,nreducing communities to way stations innthe frantic climb to the top. Politicalnphilosophy alone cannot be expected tonwithstand the proliferation of commodities,nthe need for two incomes to supportnmost families, the explosion innnumbers of divorces and single parents,nthe necessity for protracted and frequentlyntechnical education, the destructionnof our environment, the wantonndissemination of pornography andndrugs. Indeed, next to the power of thencapitalist market, political philosophynlooks less like a monster than a wimp.nIdeas, as Richard Weaver insisted, donhave consequences. And our own, as henalso insisted, have moved too much innthe direction of abstraction, too far fromnthat rhetoric that would engage ournhistory and our condition. But Flemingnhimself, for all the perspicacity andnwisdom of his message, is in danger ofnabstracting from precisely’ that level ofnexperience which most directly affectsnour prospects. To have valuable consequences,nideas must also have appropriatentargets.’nAt the heart of Fleming’s discussionnlies the natural family, the incubatornof humanity. The findings of sociobiologynconfirm his instinctive commitmentnto the significance of thendifferences between men and women,nand fuel his attack on contemporarynfeminists who recklessly disregard nature’snplan. For the world to function asnit should women must embrace theirnnatural roles as nurturing mothers, leavingnto men the business of aggressionnand competition. But in our own time,nthe issue is not so much the biologicalndifferences between men and women asntheir appropriate social consequences.nAt his most insightful, Fleming fullynrecognizes that men’s natural aggres-n