scendants today. Diversity did not have to be abolished. Onrnthe contrary, the common good was seen to entail respect forrnand adjustment to the legitimate needs and interests of individuals,rngroups, localities, and regions. Diversity would bernmade compatible with unity through self-restraint and considerationrnfor others—again, not merely in theory but in actualrnconduct.rnToday the virtue of moral self-discipline and effort is beingrnreplaced by the ever more brazen self-gratification of individualsrnand groups. People who shy away from the rigors ofrnthe old virtue of character but who still would like to think ofrnthemselves as moral have available to them new conceptionsrnof “virtue.” These have the convenience of not demandingrnany difficult improvement of self. It is now possible to qualifyrnas virtuous either by emoting sweet benevolence or byrnkeeping the right ideas in one’s head. These modes of moralityrnoften blend in one and the same person. The more sentimentalrnvirtue is altruistic sympathy, tearful “compassion” forrnfavored suffering groups. The more rationalistic form consistsrnof incessant talk about “justice” and “rights.” Both formsrnevade the need to shape character and thus neglect the mostrnbasic requirement of civilized life.rnContinued neglect or mishandling of acuternsocial problems may produce more explosivernfragmentation. The day could come, even inrnthe United States, when power-seekingrndemagogues focus the resulting popularrnresentments on immigrants and outsiders andrnpropose drastic measures to ‘save’ society.rnThe problem of order and freedom was summed up by EdmundrnBurke: “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportionrnto their disposition to put moral chains upon theirrnown appetites. . . . Society cannot exist unless a controllingrnpower upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and thernless of it there is within, the more there must be without.”rnLack of self-discipline among society’s members increasesrnthe need for externally imposed controls. The present is clearlyrna time of weakening internal checks. The tidal wave ofrncrime is only the most obvious example. To the great strain onrnsocial order is now added cultural separatism and large-scalernimmigration, legal and illegal. The conclusion seems inescapable:rnsocial cohesion will increasingly have to be imposedrnfrom without.rnThe current problems of the United States were anticipatedrnwith remarkable prescience and precision three-quartersrnof a century ago by Irving Babbitt. (It is a national misfortunernthat Americans have paid less attention to one of their ownrntruly great thinkers than to lesser European lights.) Babbittrneven took up the problems of immigration and multiculturalism.rnIn 1924 he wrote in characteristic style: “We are assuredrn. . . that the highly heterogeneous elements that enter into ourrnpopulation will, like various instruments in an orchestra, merelyrnresult in a richer harmony; they will, one may reply, providedrnthat, like an orchestra, they be properly led. Otherwisernthe outcome may be an unexampled cacophony.”rnBabbitt’s erudite and realistic analysis of the moral circumstancesrnof the modern world offers invaluable insight intornthe prerequisites of order in a culturally more diverse America.rnHe addressed the needs of an era in which Christianityrnwould retreat as a disciplining and harmonizing influencernand in which a shrinking world would create growing interactionrnbetween different populations. He formulated the centralrnproblem as follows: “The special danger of the presentrntime would seem to be an increasing material contact betweenrnnational and racial groups that remain spiritually alien.”rnThese circumstances require special moral and cultural effort,rnincluding identification and cultivation of the ecumenicalrnelement in the higher religions and ethical traditions. Nobodyrncould be more critical than Babbitt of sentimental andrnabstract universalism. Unmistakably and unabashedly American,rnBabbitt represents a cosmopolitanism that would respectrnand seek the common ground with other cultures withoutrntrying to efface existing identities.rnAvery different and currently fashionable view of how tornachieve social and political unity confuses civilized consensusrnwith ideological unity. Order is supposed to resultrnwhen all are taught the same allegedly universal democraticrnideas. According to this view—which may be called the civicsrnapproach to social order—not even porous borders need presentrnany serious problem, provided that the new arrivals arernproperly instructed.rnThe civics approach fails to understand the nature and socialrnand political importance of personal character. It underestimatesrnthe extent to which moral and social order evolvernhistorically. The civics approach seems to hold great appealrnfor such commentators as William Bennett, Chester Finn,rnand the late Allan Bloom who view law and order and civilizedrnlife as flowing from proper instruction and thinking. But in realityrnthey emerge from the protracted effort and cooperationrnof many generations. Social order derives in very large measurernfrom cultural continuity, from the careful absorptionrnand cultivation, in practice as well as theory, of the best of thernhistorical heritage. A living past helps inspire and structure thernpresent. A slow initiation into civilized life comprising a broadrnrange of human concerns is not the same as learning to mouthrncertain “principles” said to contain “the wisdom of the West.”rnA failure to understand society as a historically evolvingrncommunity marks the thinking of John Locke. For him orderrnand freedom rest on the rationality of the individuals whornlive at a particular time. Locke has little sense of the degree tornwhich peaceful conditions presuppose strength of characterrnand other civilized dispositions in individuals and of howrnmuch these traits owe to the efforts of earlier generations asrntransmitted through living traditions.rnFor Locke, order and freedom have their source in abstract,rnahistorical rationality. He does not recognize that the abilityrnto reason is itself historically and socially evolved and thatrnreason is very far from being some purely individual faculty.rnLocke simply places rationality and other civilized preferencesrnamong the natural attributes of an imaginary, pre-social, discreternindividual. The particular self, as it exists outside ofrnevery cultural context, is assumed to have the resources necessaryrnfor an ordered existence. Individuals become sociallyrn22/CHRONICLESrnrnrn