put “Paris’s last ism” into focus. Therenare discouraging as well as hopefulnresults. Let us distinguish three.n1) The new philosophers are incisiventhinkers, sharp stylists, inventors of hardnhitting phrases. At times, in a flash, theynplunge down to the Mindanao deep ofnwisdom and surface with a pearl. Butnthe pearl may be surrounded with barnaclesnand debris. For example: in spite ofntheir encounter with Solzhenitsyn,nthey have mistakenly distilled fromnthe events of 1968 and from the Gulagnstory a fear of the State, a nearanarchistic,nlibertarian allergy to powernand authority. They write that 1968nwas a rebellion against the State’snomnipotence, and that the Gulag isnprefigured in imperial Rome, in thenpapacy, in the reign of Louis XIV. Thisnis, of course, nonsense, and shows howneven good minds are buffeted betweennleft-Utopia and right-utopia, with humannnature and the nature of politics ignored.nGlucksmann, like Robert Nozick in thisncountry, rises against the State becausensome States, expropriated by a politicalnparty or by a barbarous chieftain, behavenabnormally. (Nozick even wonders ifnthose who favor a strong State are notnsick with fear of independent thought—nthe usual “father-figure” notion ofnauthority. Glucksmann, Nozick, Levynused to be leftists; is there such a thingnas an over-reaction here?)n2) Levy’s conclusion is the pessimismnof the Stoics, almost exactly modelednon that of Camus. “… The king has nonuse for the sage . . . the masses remainnindifferent to the light of reason, andnReason’s rule is a long abuse of thenmasses . . . All we have left against thenbarbarians’ advance are the weapons ofnlanguage and some lonely shelters. Let’snbear witness to the unspeakable and let’sndelay the coming of horrors . .. We willnnot remake the world, but let’s watchnthat it does not disintegrate.” Lost illusionsnafter the lights of 1968 went out. . .nYet, it is also Levy, in the wake ofnDostoyevski, Malraux, yes, of Camus too,nand now Clavel, who sees life in thenshadow of the Gulag as the consequencenZnChronicles of Culturenof society’s loss of its ultimate “referent.”nNot that “God is dead,” which is wherenthe Enlightenment came in; Levy merelynnotes that the world has seen alreadynnations without art and literature, andnsocieties without history. There has nevernbeen a community of men that couldnexist without being “pegged on thendivine.” And the twilight of the gods is anprelude to that of man.nClavel goes much farther. His returnnto faith, chronicled in a tumultuous bestseller,nCe queje crois, was that of a typicalnintellectual who burns the idols he previouslynadored. Now he misses nonopportunity to castigate the Church fornher post-Vatican II false worldliness, herncrowding on the socialist-humanist bandwagon.nClavel is then not a neo-Stoic, anposition which seems to be the horizonnof so many ex-leftists “choosing freedom:”nhe sees the cleavage, either Godnor Nothingness, tertium non datur. AndnGod means for Clavel the Church withnevery one of her dogmas, doctrines, andnpractices. Like Maurice Barres somenseventy years ago, Clavel answers whennqueried what he believes: “Go and asknRome!” The intriguing questions nownin Paris is whether Glucksmann andnLevy, Jews, will see the logic of theirnitinerary in conversion. After all, intellectualsnoften reach that port throughnarguments, with grace superadded at onenof the later stages. But this is anothernstory.n3) What the nouveaux philosophesnnow discover has been written down longnbefore their books came to stun thennotables of Left-Bank orthodoxy. Thatnthe Enlightenment, with its German andnFrench components, that the liberalismnof the nineteenth century, that twentiethcenturynsocialism have the same roots—nhas been so amply explained and demonstratednthat the new philosophers, repeatingnthe obvious, may too be soon forgotten.nIf their fame survives for a while,nthe reason will be the timing: as if theynwere agents of a right-wing conspiracyn(this is actually intimated in a furiousnbooklet by Aubral and Delcourt, twonauthors of the left), the nouveaux philosophesnarrived in time to shatter at leastnnnthe theoretical respectability of thenMitterrand-Marchais deal. But there wasnof course more. Levy could write that innthe nice, snuggy world of the liberalsocialist-communistncontinuum the Nazincamps appeared as a monstrous exception,nan atavistic throwback to thenNeanderthal; but are the camps in Russiana Russian or a Marxist product.” ThenNazis were just one of the crowd, thentotalitarian “exceptions” are obviouslynoutcrowding the humanist-socialistn”rule.” In other words, not Stalinism,nbut Marxism is the evil, the last blacknfruit of a poisonous tree with roots innthe Renaissance. From our point of viewnit is regrettable that with the marxisttotalitariannaberration the principle of anstrong and purposeful State is thrownnout too. As said before, this is the libertarianncomponent in the awakening mindnof shocked ex-leftists. The balance maynbe later restored.nRestored, particularly, sincenSolzhenitsyn will hardly be forgotten.nThe Paris intelligentsia, ever since PierrenAbelard, entertains the cult of brilliantnand eloquent minds, and a foreign guest,nnot speaking French, is not as a rulennoticed. If Solzhenitsyn was, it is becausenseeing him people exclaim in the depthnof their soul: Ecce Homo .’The crucifiedngulag inmate who fought back; who wonnthe battle against the KGB; in whomnthe martyrs live on. What learned treatisesnand political arguments century-longncould not achieve, namely to unmasknMarx and with him the horrors of allnUtopia, the man dropped from the sky byna KGB plane, a miraculous appearance,naccomplished. The good news of thensoul’s triumph was again announced, thenrest of the work belongs to the disciples.nThe real significance of the new philosophers’noeuvre is that the soul and mindnof men remain redeemable.nThe question could now be this:nwill the works of the nouveaux philosophesnbe translated and published innthese United States, so proud of catchingnthe latest wave in the Paris art-novel-n