which can require considerable expense and can seem anythingrnbut “reasonable” to an employer sued by a disgruntled orrnrejected employee.rnWhen the ADA was passed, it was conceded that it mightrngive causes of action to more than 40 million Americans; as thisrngoes to press, the Supreme Court is trying to decide whether thernwearing oi eyeglasses might constitute a “disability” under thernAct and whether, even if other federal law would bar a disabledrnemployee from a job, the ADA trumps such legislation. Therernhave been holdings suggesting that virtually all mental diseasesrnor defects might qualify as disabilihes, and we will know in a fewrnmonths whetiier the Act is to be construed so broadly that morernAmericans can be considered “disabled” than are “able.” Fortunately,rnsome congressional efforts to regulate (the content ofrnthe Internet in particular) have foundered, but, to too great anrnextent. Congress seems shll to be following the maxim, “If itrnmoves, regulate it; if it doesn’t move, kick it; and then, when itrnmoes, regulate it.”rnWhole classes of victims have also been created by federalrnenvironmental legislation, which has promoted the multiplicationrnof claims against alleged polluters or their affiliated corporations.rnAt times, the protection offered by the corporate formrnitself has all but disappeared in the rush by sonie federal courtsrnto do awav with the shareholder protections of state corporaternlaw in the service of some purported federal legislative goal. Inrnthis particidar matter, the Supreme Court has rendered somernhelpful guidance, recently reaffirming that, absent express congressionalrndirectives, the traditional protections of state corporaternlaw should be left undisturbed. At this time, however, it isrnunclear whether the lower federal courts will heed the directivesrnof the Supreme Court.rnOddlv enough, much of the hope of reviving American idealsrnof cooperation and virtue may lie in the law of corporationsrnand of business enterprise. The law of corporations—a body ofrndoctrines, principally of state law, little understood by laymenrn— is one of the grcatAmeriean vehicles for the preservationrnof the law of property and contract. Individual or corporaternshareholders join together not only for inveshnent purposes,rnbut —espeeiallv in the ease of small, closely held corporationsrn—to create meaningful emplovment possibilities and tornimprove the economy and societ)-.rnState law has been particularly serendipitous in this regard,rnnot onlv in the formation and maintenance of corporations butrnalso in the invention of the newest business x-ehicle, the limitedrnliability company, which combines the limited liability andrncentralized management of the corporation with the tax advantagesrnof the partnership or sole proprietorship. Federal taxationrnof corporations—or “double taxation,” as it is properly called,rnsince the corporation is taxed and then dividends distributed tornshareholders are taxed a second time —has often driven corporaternpolicv in strange directions, significantly distorting both taxrnlaw and corporate enterprise. Academic study of the corporationrnhas focused almost exclusively on how it can be made torncompK’ with the plethora of new federal regulations or serve favoredrninterest groups rather than how it might better contributernto the promotion of community and productive enterprise. Butrnriiere are signs that this is beginning to change.rnAmericans have always valued individualism, but lately thernfederal courts, the federal legislature, the federal administrativernagencies, and the federal executive appear to have forgottenrnthat we valued American individualism because it led tornthe performance of individual acts of genius which would contributernto the overall welfare of the community. The pressuresrnfor eonformit) in American business and American life, particularlyrnwhere that conformity betrays our rich heritage of religion,rnmorals, and private enterprise, need to be resisted, but individualit}’rnof the kind suggested in the Casey “m’stery passage”rnis as dangerous and vacuous as unthinking conformity. It isrndoubtful whether the builders of local communities and grassrootsrnproductive enterprises can look to any branch of the federalrngovernment for much help.rnIt is alarming, then, that most Americans seem to have accepted,rnunquestioningly, the idea that the federal governmentrnis the source of salvation. Federal programs, benefits, civil servants,rnand politicians seem to be the only providers of resourcesrnor direction in American society. But federal court decisions,rnlegislation, and administrative practice have brought us to arnplace where we seem to be a nation of potential victims and litigants,rnwith our fabric of eommunit)’ alarmingly frayed.rnWe seem a nation of isolated individuals, united only in ourrnrelationship to a federal government that frequently appears asrnlost as we are. If there is a remedy for our condition, it lies in thernnourishing of local politics and intermediate associations betweenrncitizens and the federal government. At the very least,rnthis ought to mean paying more attention to communitv organizations,rnstate and local governmental bodies, and localrnschools and churches. We ought to be doing more to encouragerndivergent approaches through voucher programs, whichrnwould allow individuals to build communities by choosing particularrnreligious, ethnic, or regional approaches to education.rnWe might consider extending the voucher idea to encouragernparticipation in education and ehildcare by local businesses,rnboth as a means of providing for their employees and of providingrnservices to lielp communities in their work of revival and renewal.rnWe ought to rethink the nature of American government,rnand how we might rebuild our shattered structure of virtue-enhancingrninstitutions. The Internet offers a variety of differentrnapproaches to communication which might cultivate communitiesrnof productive endeavor of a kind that we can barciv conceivernnow. The last few months have seen the a])parent creationrnof billions of dollars of additional wealth because of thernstock-market boom, and if this is sustained, there should be additionalrnresources for venture-capital formation and for newrncompanies and corporations which can contribute to eommunit)’rnsolidarit)’ and individual creativity.rnSome sensible constitutional theorists have concluded thatrnwe need a new Constitutional Convention to return us to thernFramers’ wise design, but perhaps the lesson of the last few yearsrnis that we would do better to worry less about the federal governmentrn(which ought to be allowed to diminish a bit throughrnbenign neglect) and more about strengthening state and localrncommunities and businesses. We certainly should spend lessrntime tning to redistribute resources through litigation or legislationrnand more trying to lay the foundation for a renewal of localrnenterprise. Following the failure of the planned socialistrneconomies in Eastern Europe in the late 80’s and early 90’s,rncritical legal studies and feminism eventually concluded thatrnbold revolutionary strokes were impossible and that the way tornchange the world was little by little, as enlightened individualsrnsought to build better communities. This was Goethe’s insightrntoo, and here the right might productively learn from the left.rnOCTOBER 1999/17rnrnrn