sion and competition has been moldednand even displaced with the developmentnof civilization. He is less willing tonconsider the ways in which civilizationnhas molded women. To be sure, hendraws upon the work of Carol Gilligannto argue the case for women’s discretenmoral sense. But he, like Gilligan, nevernconsiders that that moral sense derivesnfrom the experience of contemporarynwhite, middle-class women, not fromnnature.nFeminism — Gilligan’s as much asnthe versions Fleming deplores—is ansymptom of our times, not an originalncause of our ills. Feminism, whatever itsnintellectual failings and excesses, reflectsnwomen’s attempt to come to terms withntheir own situation in a world in whichnno father or brother can force a man tonsupport a woman and her children. Andnfeminism, even (as in Gilligan’s case)nwhen it most forcefully insists upon thenradical differences between men andnwomen, reflects the individualism thatnFleming so deplores. Capitalism hasndone more than undermine the integritynof families and push women into thenlabor force; it has radically reduced thensocial significance of the biological differencesnbetween women and men.nModem contraception permits womennto limit their fertility; modern medicinenpermits them to live safely through andnwell beyond their childbearing years.nModern technology reduces the relevancenof men’s physical strength to thenbusiness of eaming a living and runningnthe world. Fleming’s admirable attemptnto link politics to nature passes toonlightly over these changes, refusing tonaddress their possible consequences.nIronically, conservative thought inngeneral and Fleming’s work in particularnopen new ways to explore thesenconsequences. Fleming’s own vision ofnfederalism designates the household asnthe fundamental social unit, as indeed itnhas been for most of Western history,nsince the time of Aristotle. That traditionalnhousehold, as Fleming insists,nembodied within itself the ideals ofnhierarchy and inequality that characterizednWestern thought as a whole. It alsonembodied a commitment to family andnclass that transcended the specific differencesnbetween women and men. Obviouslynsexual difference played an importantnrole in delineating the expectednroles of women and men, but it nevernensured that women might not engagenin any given activity, it never regarded anwoman’s possibilities as coterminousnwith her biology. Traditional thoughtnviewed what we call representation asndelegation: the ability of a member ofnthe household — or community — tonspeak or act in the name of the whole.nAnd women were always, in the rightncircumstances, able to serve as delegatesnof their households, just as they werenable to participate in their basic heavynlabor and internal governance. It hasntaken modern individualistic thought tonreduce the concept of membership andnits attendant concept of delegation tonsimple identity. In this perspective, thenunilateral emphasis on the social significancenof biological difference can benrecognized as every bit as reductive asnthe abstractions of individualism.nIn this probing and thoughtful book,nThomas Fleming has begun to addressnthe principal challenge to ournsociety and polity. The individual freedomnin the name of which our republicnwas launched has unleashed unimag-nined consequences that threaten tontransform our polity from a federationnof households and communities intona great mass of undifferentiatednindividuals presided over by a sinisternleviathan. The capitalist market that,neven in the 18th century, linked householdsnto each other and the Atlanticnworld, has penetrated their interstices,ndissolving natural and social bonds. Thenworld of atomized individualism thatnFleming seeks to counteract stronglynresembles Thomas Hobbes’ view of thenstate of nature: the “warre of all againstnall.” More the product of history than ofnmisguided philosophical speculation,nthat world must be reformed on its ownnterrain — that of our specific historicalnmoment. Men — and women — donmake their own history, but not undernconditions of their own choosing. Thenconditions that constrain us assuredlyninclude biology and its attendant laws ofnhuman nature. They also include, asnFleming in another context so forcefullynargues, the real lives that we live innthe far from perfect world that we haveninherited.
nAMERICA BY THE THROAT:nTHE STRANGLEHOLD OF FEDERAL BUREAUCRACYn-BSPflS?’nTHROATnti^p^r^neeSi^eBocHenby George Rochen”A lucid, even entertaining, yet also brilliantnand penetrating diagnosis of the majornsocial disease of our time. A splendid booknthat deserves very wide readership.”nNobel [.aureate Milton FriedmannSenior Research Fellow.nHoover Institutionnf?rrtr?K^tiiV?lit.Jik<‘Ã‚Â«for Vptfl’iiEsfS^p^^g^nc*_yr*.OMi!’_ disJiLtc!. C_cof^’*j Ro’.-!!*jrfnaKes:.”.^’Vnthe problem frighteningly clear His book. . ‘ndisplays a keen understanding of this issue,nand carries an important message.”nWilliam r. SimonnFormer Secretary of the Treasuryn$5.00 PAPERBOUNDn$14.95 HARDBOUND (Michigan residents add 4% sales tax)nVISA AND MASTERCARD ORDERS 800-253-3200, EXT. 801n”Democracy will break down if the people do not soon become aware of whatnis being done in their name .’ . . tai
January 1975April 21, 2022By The Archive
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