Despite Locke’s occasional defenses ofrnproperty as a natural right, both the socialistrnJohn Rawls and the neoconservativernNathan Tarcov are justified whenrnthey refer to him as “our philosopher.”rnAs Richard Ashcraft has shown, Lockernappealed to English Levelers and to establishedrnpropertyholders, and he canrnbe and has been read as both a majoritarianrndemocrat and an advocate of acquisitivernindividualism. In any case, thernpreference displayed by social democratsrnof all kinds for Locke over Hobbes mayrnbe due to Locke’s optimistic, as well asrnantagonistic, materialism. Lockean manrnengages in what Leo Strauss called “thernjoyless pursuit of joy,” and this purelyrneconomic and remarkably docile being isrndepicted as already striving after materialrnfortune in Locke’s mythical state ofrnnature.rnMagnet is intuitively correct when hernlooks to Hobbes’s more qualified modernismrnfor political guidance. He isrnequally right in finding intimations ofrnsuch modernism among the FoundingrnFathers, despite their condemnation ofrnwhat thev thought of as Hobbesian absolutism.rnThe federal government asrnunderstood by the Founders exists torncurb violence and to ensure limited commercialrnand military cooperation amongrnthe previously feuding states. Politicalrnauthority in general was believed to bernnecessary because man is “neither beastrnnor angel,” in the words of James Madison.rnMen need sufficient government tornmaintain order, but not enough to destroyrntheir social institutions. Still andrnall, as Magnet notes, Americans wererntaught to revere their magistrates, not asrnthe extensions of a utilitarian state butrnas those who stood between them andrnchaos. Until recently, Americans regardedrnpolicemen, judges, and other publicrnservants with deference. Whatever limitsrnwere imposed on their powers, suchrnpresumed protectors of our liberties andrnpublic order enjoyed the deep respectrnHobbes associated with his mortal god.rnMagnet is troubled that the Americanrnfederal government and state administrations,rnvhich it controls, have forfeitedrnthe veneration due to a properly functioningrnLeviathan. Note that he doesrnnot defend our government, or claimrnthat it should be revered but is not.rnMagnet holds no brief for what thernAmerican government has become. Hernscolds it for rewarding the antisocial behaviorrnof the underclass, while being increasinglyrnindifferent to the claims ofrnlife and property. He ascribes this developmentrnto a cultural trend, the abandonmentrnof responsible standards of socialrnbehavior by the educated andrnwealthy. This privileged group, disproportionatelyrnrepresented in government,rnhas corrupted those below by encouragingrna susceptible proletariat to practicernits vices, and by leading the state to reflectrnits own sentimental self-indulgence.rnMy differences with Magnet concernrnproblems of omission, not the core ofrnhis argument, which I accept with only arnfew reservations. Above all. Magnet isrncorrect when he insists on the need forrnpolitical authority without offering a defensernof what presently passes for authority.rnI applaud his invocation ofrnHobbes’s Leviathan as a symbol of therntransitional nature of the American Republic,rnsuspended between Augustinianrngloom and the Enlightenment’s sciencernof politics. And the yuppie political culturernis indeed as unappealing as he suggests,rnparticularly when its projects arerngovernmentally imposed. Magnet, however,rnexaggerates the degree to whichrnthe underclass has taken its vices fromrnabove. Use of heroin among the lowerrnclasses began to soar in the 20’s with therngrowth of organized crime, and lowerclassrnblack and Puerto Rican males, fromrnpuberty into their 30’s, have a rate of violentrncrime that is not matched in thernmore affluent, predominantly white society.rnWhile Magnet properly blamesrnthe therapeutic state at least in part on irresponsiblernupper-class behavior, lowerclassrnvice cannot be explained entirely inrnterms of examples set by hippies andrnyuppies. Finally, Magnet goes too far inrnidentifying culture as the cause of politicalrnand social decay. “It did not all beginrnin the 60’s,” is the retort by paleos tornneocons lamenting the eruption of therncounterculture. The moral developmentsrndeplored by Magnet and otherrnneoconservatives are linked indissolublyrnto political ones. The managerial welfarernstate was in place by the 30’s, and hadrnexisted in rudimentary form since thernProgressive Era. It was inevitable that, asrnit continued to grow in alliance withrnmultinational corporations and a socialengineeringrnintelligentsia, this bureaucraticrnbehemoth would weaken traditionalrnmoral values and established waysrnof life.rnFederal power has never been valueneutral,rnand welfare states, as Max Weberrnpointed out, generally function tornthe detriment of ancestral community.rnIn America the federal government hasrnsimply engulfed state and local governments,rnobtaining most of the revenuesrnfor domestic expenses; controlling thernfranchise; and applying the Bill of Rightsrnagainst the states, for whose benefit itrnwas originally enacted. Magnet does notrndeal adequately with the impact of politicsrnon culture; in this respect he bearsrnsome resemblance to postwar traditionalistsrnwho seemed to believe that politicalrninstitutions would take care of themselvesrnonce we attended to aesthetic andrnmoral issues. Murray Rothbard got thernpriorities straight when he said, “No culturalrndiscussion will get us anywhere unlessrnthis bureaucratic monster that rulesrnover us is first smothered.” Magnet himselfrnmakes much of the fact that the politicalrnclass incorporated much of therncounterculture. More to the point, itrndid so selectively, in order to enhance itsrnpower. Thus it took from the New Leftrnthe science of victimology and theoriesrnof economic collectivization, but notrnideas about communal self-government.rnOne does not have to be a structuralrndeterminist to recognize the obvious inrnthis case: the American regime did notrnarise ab ovo, nor is it entirely derivative ofrnchanged cultural attitudes. An intrusiverngovernment has increasinglv meddled inrnour lives throughout the 20th centuryrnand is likely to grow more intrusive yet.rnLargely unrestricted immigration sincernthe 60’s has provided government agenciesrnwith new clients and foot soldiers,rnand these have become the pretext inrnthe midst of cultural confusion for herdingrnus closer to the global village; it isrnhard to see how a return to self-governmentrnand nontherapeutic authority canrnoccur together with the continued influxrnof Third World proletarians.rnMagnet may not be pessimisticrnenough in his appraisal of American institutions,rnbut he has faced up to our socialrnand political situation with morernhonesty than have many of his encomiasts.rnUnlike them, he has no illusionsrnthat American society has become morernjust, or that what ails it can be curedrnthrough federal programs in “values.” Arnscholar of English Victorian literature.rnMagnet has brought to the study of ourrntroubled age both insight and concern.rnLongtime residency in New York Cityrnhas been for him a sobering experience.rnOne assumes that Magnet does not haverna chauffeur-driven limousine, and thatrnhe descends often into the subway.rnFEBRUARY 1994/29rnrnrn