If abandoning the defensive warrnagainst homosexual rights was a ploy tornwin votes, Mr. Bennett ought to reflectrnthat he is running the risk of offendingrnfar greater numbers by criticizingrndivorces.rnDivorce is harming more childrenrnthan homosexuality. It is also true that,rnin the race for public acceptance, divorcernhad something of a head start onrnsodomy. But homosexuality seems tornbe catching up, particularly at the partiesrnof New York conservatives where, as “gaycon”rnBruce Bawer observes, the atmospherernis that of a gay bar.rnWe might wonder how much else isrnexplained by Mr. Bawer’s observation:rnDavid Brock’s obsessive tabloid piecesrnon Anita Hill and Bill Clinton’s womanizing;rnRepublican welfare-reform packagesrnthat drive mothers into the workforcernand offer no tax relief for families;rnthe continued popularity of the New Republicrnin conservative “households”;rnand—most disturbing of all—the perversernidea that the federal governmentrnhas the right to protect “minorities” fromrncommunity discrimination. Should Mr.rnBennett wish to distance himself fromrnthis crowd, he might reissue his bookrnand include a chapter on chastity.rn—Christopher CheckrnEDWARD MACDOWELL, the composerrnand pianist, founded with his wifernMarian (also a fine pianist) the Mac-rnDowell Colony in Peterborough, NewrnHampshire, for the purpose of providingrnseclusion, privacy, and leisure to artistsrnand writers, who inhabit small cabinsrnscattered through the wooded hills ofrnthe former MacDowell property. For almostrn60 years, that is what happened.rnBut in recent years the management hasrnundergone a change, with the result thatrna New York crowd with politically correctrnnotions and perverse aesthetic values hasrnmoved in and taken over. Although NewrnHampshire citizens continue faithfullyrnto support the colony, it seems to have arnpolicy of excluding artists and writersrnwho actually dwell in New Hampshire.rnLast year, for example, the annual awardrnfor artistic achievement went to JasperrnJohns, a South Carolina expatriate livingrnin New York. You could have attendedrnthe award ceremony by following therndirections printed on the invitation:rnPeterborough is west of Keene and eastrnof Manchester. Unfortunately, Peterboroughrnis exactly the other way around,rneast of Keene and west of Manchester.rnIn geography as in aesthetics the colony,rnit would seem, continues to steer 180rndegrees wrong.rn—William F. RickenbackerrnWITH CHRISTOPHER LASCH’Srndeath last March, our society lost a probingrnand principled critic. According tornone by now standard biography, Laschrnstarted his career as an antiwar activistrnand Marxist-Freudian synthesizer and byrnthe end of his life had moved to the rightrnwith a defense of traditional communities.rnThere is truth in this account, asrnanyone who knew and read Lasch canrntestify, but equally important, there werernstriking continuities in his work. Whateverrnelse Lasch was, he fought relentlesslyrnagainst the liberal tradition. Andrnby that tradition he understood notrnonly the latest p.c. outrage but the beliefsrnin individual gratification and the profitrnmotive as the foundations of social life.rnIn a cascade of books from the 70’s on,rnincluding The Minimal’Self, The Culturernof Narcissism, and The True and OnlyrnHeaven, Lasch lamented the liberal presuppositionsrnof American politics andrnculture. Americans, he maintained, hadrnsacrificed the value of community tornpursue self-centered pleasure and mate-rnLIBERAL ARTSrnMmy^'”rn’ The lMcdSUte&govemm(»)£i!OttHhue«to-»$ettSe Iraqi POWs as R ^ ^rn’ t^Sedj^iAK, » p ( Â¥ ^ Bmdtr Weft last nsnineT. Pespke prote^ £roti;;’ineiRbers ofrnCcaigKss and vetexans gioiqw, searly a ^ho^aaitd Iraqi soldiers wen proved for lesetdoiiaentmrn1994. at a cost iifiat may run gs h^ aS’$70 million: theb refugee statusrn^tStSs^theni to fuS welfare bsaiefiis. WhSe c^l^iak maii^ain that most of niese IraqirnPOVVs did-sc^ in^-ade Vjatvfut or fi|^t Aibsrijaift’troops. the>- hav» iSiot adequatelyrnBCre»HMi.them to detertntne the .ecact nstuse <^ their role in the Qiilf Wir.rnrial riches. Our greatest writers, he explained,rnhad observed this problem, andrnsome had come to view it as anrninescapable fate. In his later writings,rnparticularly in a spirited piece for Harper’s,rnLasch had also gone after the feminists;rnand in his last book, he even daredrnto castigate an icon for both liberals andrnconservatives, neoconservative herornMartin Luther King, Jr., for demandingrnthat the federal government alter thernresidential patterns of urban ethnics.rnBut all of these strictures, especiallyrnthose directed against the alliance of bigrnbusiness and the managerial state, reflectrna premise found in Lasch’s earlyrnwork, that liberal individualism sapsrncommunal life and prepares the way forrnadministrative, therapeutic tyranny.rnLasch became a personal friend ofrnmine, despite the untoward circumstancesrnof our first meeting. As a candidaternfor an associate professorship at thernUniversity of Rochester more than 20rnyears ago, I encountered him as an illustriousrnsenior member of the history department.rnLasch opposed my candidacy,rnseeing in me a potential instrument ofrnan enemy faction. (His political judgmentrnwas, by the way, entirely correct.)rnWhen we met again in what turned outrnto be the twilight of his career, we discussedrnhis fateful opposition to me. I assuredrnhim that he had quite properlyrnacted in self-defense, though his actionrnhad ended for me any possibility of professionalrnadvancement. Lasch disagreed.rnHe spoke of the need to turn enemies intornfriends, and he noted that our friendshiprnmight have begun sooner if he hadrnsupported rather than opposed me.rnBalancing his feistiness was the otherrnside of Lasch’s personality, his proverbialrnkindliness toward family members,rnfriends, and students. A warm dispositionrnwas the characteristic that thosernclosest to him remember best. Andrnthough descended from a distinguishedrnSt. Louis publishing family and the sonin-rnlaw of the historian Henry SteelernCommager, Lasch reveled in the companyrnof working stiffs. He was a populistrnnot only in his politics but also in hisrngenuine appreciation of unabashed MiddlernAmericans. Unlike those ersatz communitariansrnwho wish to construct victim-rnfriendly settings with the aid ofrngovernment agencies, Lasch did not lookrnto coercive sensitizers to restore the socialrngood. By community he meant whatrnthe Germans call Gemeinschaft, organicrnassociations derived from kinship and arn6/CHRONICLESrnrnrn