live in Utopia. At best, we might make weekend visits and returnrnwith glowing reports on universal literacy and constitutionsrnoudawing the death penalty.. ..rnOvert repression breeds dissent, but a religion that thrivesrnon persecution may fall into decay as an establishment.rn(Consider only the case of the Church of England.) Lenin,rnStalin, and Brezhnev controlled the press, attacked the churches,rnand outlawed rival political parties. The result was samizdatrnpublication, clandestine piety, and the monumental work ofrnSolzhenitsyn. During the same period in the United States, thernpress has been free (or at least up for grabs to the highest bidder),rnreligion unfettered, and political parties of every type (except,rnfor a brief period, revolutionary movements) tolerated,rnand the result is the narrowest spectrum of opinion that can bernobserved in any civilized country. The greatest political debatesrnin the United States are the mutual recriminations of left liberalsrnand center liberals over whether or not affirmative actionrnpolicies really help minorities to achieve equality. A goal thatrnwould have been mocked and despised by most politicalrnphilosophers and virtually every sensible person in Europe andrnthe United States is now held aloft as the highest ideal, unchallengedrnby dissent. Since the 1930’s, there have been no Amer-rn”ican dissidents to criticize the fundamental assumptions of thernregime. There is no American equivalent of From Under thernRubble. Why? Is it because our system is so perfect that it is immunernto criticism or because our culture is so servile that nornone with anv’thing to risk has the courage to go into opposition?rnSoviet communism had its Marx and Lenin, but for Americanrnsocial democracy there is no one ideologue, no one revolutionar)’rnwho midwifed and gave birth to the system. The politicalrnleaders responsible were many, but Wilson, Hoover, and thernRoosevelts are the most important. As for the ideologues, theirrnname is legion, from Locke to Rawls, but it is the Lockean traditionrnculminating in the prosaic figure of John Dewey that hasrnslowly and inexorably created the ideological regime that hasrnstolen the name “democracy.”rnThe features of that regime are so familiar that, like a manrnwho unexpectedly catches sight of himself in a mirror, we are almostrnincapable of recognizing them. I can only list a few ofrnthem: first and foremost, the elevation of the state to a pagan divinitv’.rnIf there are wrongs in the world—a man beating his wife,rnan employer insulting his hireling—then the state will redressrntiiem. Most of the alleged wrongs have something to do with inec|rnualit)’, of wealth, status, power, intelligence, opportunities, orrneven good looks. . . . We live this absurd comedy every day andrncan no longer laugh at lonesco or shudder at Orwell. Modernrnsociet}’ has already overtaken and surpassed their most bitterrnfantasies. The real question is why there is so little serious opposition,rneven from the right, particidarly from the right.rnI’he answer, in a nutshell, is that John Dewey, who couldn’trnwrite a decent English sentence and whose knowledge of histon’rnand literature was a string of platitudes, was right on a fundamentalrnpoint that escaped the brilliant and learned Marx. Thisrnvital point is expressed in the old proverb: You can catch morernflies with honey than with gall (or vinegar). .. .rnA Puritan Vermonter, Dewey lost his religious faith andrnceased to attend the Congregational Church some time in hisrn?()’s. He was, nonetheless, a deeply religious man who regardedrnhimself as the prophet of the faith that would replace Christianity,rnthat is democracy. Like the fabled Jesuits of everyrnProtestant’s nightmare, Dewey knew it was important to startrnearly. Children had to be weaned away from their parents’ particularities,rntheir superstitions and prejudices, if a new and betterrnhuman society was to be created.rnEvery political theory is a theor’ of human nature in disguise,rnand Dewey, while conceding the existence of natural instincts,rnput himself solidly behind the views of Locke and Helvetius:rnHuman beings enter the world as malleable clay that is moldedrnby custom and circumstance. Unlike Helvetius, Dewey realizedrnthat nature and custom were formidable obstacles. Tornovercome them would require a wholesale reformation of socialrninstitutions. This would be difficult, he argued, but farrnfrom impossible.rnTake the case of property. Unlike flie Bolsheviks who simplyrnconfiscated the land, shot the farmers who resisted, and stan’cdrnthe rest, Dewey recognized an instinct for possession. But sincern”consumption is the normal end of possession,” he conceivedrnof “a state of things in which the property impulse will get fullrnsatisfaction by holding goods as mine in just the degree inrnwhich they were visibly administered for a benefit in which arncorporate community shared.” Pranslated into English,rnDewey’s argument boils down to this: If men are allowed torngratify their instincts on mere consumption and enjoyment,rnthey will gladly accept state ownership or, at least, control ofrnland, resources, and goods. Let people enjoy their condo orrnapartment, and they will not wonder about who really owns it:rnthe bank that gave the mortgage or the government that standsrnbehind the bank and is able to confiscate the property to buildrna highway or a baseball stadium for the “corporate community.”rnPropert}’ is only the smallest part of the picture, and Deweyrnhimself never understood more than a fraction of what hernand his corevolutionaries were planning. Like most men whorndeny human nature, they worked by instinct, dimly understandingrnthat the road to a man’s heart is through his stomach —rnand his glands.rnImagine the sort of primitive state of nature in which the humanrnspecies slowly formed its character. Like other animals,rnthe primary needs are related to survival and procreation, andrnhe who lives to have the most children succeeds in passing onrnhis particular qualities to successive generations… .rnWinners in the competition for food and sex would have tornhave certain qualities. Intelligence, of course, good health andrnstrength, but since men are rarely rational about the things tiiatrncount toward their survival, fliey must rely on instincts. The libidorndominandi is an essential trait, because it drives one man tornseek dominion over another and ensures the winner greater accessrnto what he wants. And what is it he wants? Food, for onernthing, especially good red meat with lots of protein and fats. Inrnthe wild, you can’t get enough of it, and it takes the prick of arnparticular hunger to send a man off hunting game, when hernmight just as well dig up the tubers under his feet. Sweets andrnsalt are also in short supply, and ever)’ human animal grows uprncraving steak and potato chips and candy.rnWith his belly full, the young savage’s fancy turns to flioughtsrnof love, although it is certainly “love not taken lightiy.” Thernwinners in the genetic competition will not have been etherealrnyoung men who liked to talk art and politics in what they imaginernto be British accents. . . . An acute sensibility to femininerncharm has always been a defining quality of the good man, evenrnthe good man who has been taught to confine his attentions tornthe mother of his children.rnOf course, it is one thing to want women, another to getrnlULY 2001/11rnrnrn