natural instincts, put himself solidly behind the views ofnLocke and Helvetius: human beings enter the world asnmalleable clay that is molded by custom and circumstance.nUnlike Helvetius, Dewey realized that nature and customnwere formidable obstacles. To overcome them would requirena wholesale reformation of social institutions. This would bendifficult, he argued, but far from impossible.nDewey’s argument boils down to this: if mennare allowed to gratify their instincts on merenconsumption and enjoyment, they willngladly accept state ownership or, at least,ncontrol of land, resources, and goods.nTake the case of property. Unlike the Bolsheviks whonsimply confiscated the land, shot the farmers who resisted,nand starved the rest, Dewey recognized an instinct fornpossession. But since “consumption is the normal end ofnpossession,” he conceived of “a state of things in which thenproperty impulse will get full satisfaction by holding goods asnmine in just the degree in which they were visibly administerednfor a benefit in which a corporate community shared.”nTranslated into English, Dewey’s argument boils down tonthis: if men are allowed to gratify their instincts on merenconsumption and enjoyment, they will gladly accept statenownership or, at least, control of land, resources, and goods.nLet people enjoy their condo or apartment and they will notnwonder about who really owns it: the bank that gave thenmortgage or the government that stands behind the banknand is able to confiscate the property to build a highway or anbaseball stadium for the “corporate community.”nProperty is only the smallest part of the picture, andnDewey himself never understood more than a fractionnof what he and his co-revolutionaries were planning. Likenmost men who deny human nature, they worked by instinct,ndimly understanding that the road to a man’s heart isnthrough his stomach — and his glands.nImagine the sort of primitive state of nature in which thenhuman species slowly formed its character. Like othernanimals, the primary needs are related to survival andnprocreation, and he who lives to have the most children,nsucceeds in passing on his particular qualities to successivengenerations. “Men wanted,” the sign on every woman’sncave would read, “Self-sacrificing saints, sexless nerds,npacifists, and milktoasts need not apply.”nWinners in the competition for food and sex would havento have certain qualities. Intelligence, of course, good healthnand strength, but since men are rarely rational about thenthings that count toward their survival, they must rely onninstincts. The libido dominandi is an essential trait, becausenit drives one man to seek dominion over another and ensuresnthe winner greater access to what he wants. And what is it henwants? Food, for one thing, especially good red meat withnlots of protein and fats. In the wild, you can’t get enough ofnit, and it takes the prick of a particular hunger to send a mann12/CHRONICLESnnnoff hunting game, when he might just as well dig up thentubers under his feet. Sweets and salt are also in shortnsupply, and every human animal grows up craving steak andnpotato chips and candy.nWith his belly full, the young savage’s fancy turns tonthoughts of love, although it is certainly “love not takennlightly.” The winners in the genetic competiHon will notnhave been ethereal young men who liked to talk art andnpolitics in what they imagine to be British accents. (“Mennwanted: Manhattan conservatives need not apply.”) Annacute sensibility to feminine charm has always been andefining quality of the good man, even the good man whonhas been taught to confine his attentions to the mother of hisnchildren.nOf course, it is one thing to want women, another to getnthem, and even the most savage suitors had to facenprospective fathers-in-law who were looking for the samenkind of qualities that fathers-in-law always look for: theynwant a man who can provide for their little giri — and ensurenthe success of their own qualities in the great genetic lotterynthat produced human nature. A typical American teenagernwho divided his time between pigging out and making lewdnremarks may be straight on the basics, but he would not havenimpressed daddy Magog.nMen still, even in this century of democracy and progress,ncome into this world as paleolithic savages, with the samenappetites and inclinations as the sons of that African Evenwho is supposed to be “our general mother.” Try tonsuppress them, and our appetites will only find more deviousnchannels and outlets toward their gratification. You cannotnalter or suppress human nature, you can only warp itsnexpression. The great success of American democracy is itsnability to satisfy the most basic instincts of the human race,nwhile at the same time virtually eliminating its highestnqualities. We are the fly caught in honey that has hardenedninto amber.nMeals used to require the effort and talent of a hardworkingnwoman. Who needs a balanced diet or even good-tastingnfood, when he can slop up Big Macs, salted and sugarednfrench fries still dripping in grease, and wash them downnwith soft drinks invented to kill off diabetics? Oh, the goodntimes when “A woman who could still cook, still would”nmay not be over, as Merle Haggard fears, for good, andnthere are still a few people who practice what they calln”gourmet” cooking, but we are a long way from thenchildhood of Ezra Pound, who never put bad food in hisnmouth until he went to college.nFor most men, sexual gratification used to mean marriage,na commitment to one (or at most two or three)nwomen and the offspring they bore — for it was thisncommitment that daddy Magog stipulated as the price of hisndaughter. In a state of nature, Don Juan would either havento make himself chief or be killed by the first father ornhusband whose female property he damaged. But now, anyoung man of any quality can be assured of a steady supplynof willing girls. Today, boys of twelve and thirteen years arenbesieged on the telephone by a dazzling assortment ofnKimberleys, Heathers, and Taras. (I speak now as a father.)nThe situation hardly changes when they marry. Womennhave now sunk to the low, predatory level of men, and withnboth parties in a race to rack up the most extramarital points.n