These qualities, whether good or bad,ndon’t really explain our present discontents.nTo refine his analysis of thesenphenomena he should read the Chroniclesnof Culture editorials.nMore importantly, our present socialnsituation cannot accurately be describednas one of permissiveness, despite thenfondness of many conservatives for thisnsuperficial notion. It is true that manynnormal aspects of traditional social disciplinenare breaking down. Rising crime,nrampant drug use. the arrogance and vulgaritynof the mass media and entertainmentnindustries, illegal strikes, publicndisorders, pornography, etc. wouldnseem, at first, to justify the complaintnabout “permissiveness.” But when onenlooksat other aspects of these things, andnthe people who defend or exemplifynthem, a different picture emerges. Ournera is far from being a time of unfetterednfreedom or hedonism, and the exponentsnof “permissiveness” manifest not a joyousnsense of freedom but a frantic compulsiveness,na dreadful conformity tonantisocial, even suicidal ideas. Our eranmay be the first in which enslaving andnpoisoning oneself with heroin is “explained”nas a result of “peer-group” pressure.nThe civil-liberty fanatics who havendone their best to cripple law-enforcementnagencies and to protect violencenprone extremists from Berkeley to Skokie,nand who so zealously protect then”rights” of the creatures who producenchild pornography, are notoriously pronento sympathizing with totalitarian rengimes. Whatever the real motives of anman like William Kunstler are, an indulgentn”permissiveness” is not one of them.nIntellectuals and opinion-formingngroups in particular, while lenient towardntraditionally tabooed or forbiddennbehavior, are willing, even eager, tonstrait jacket their own and other people’snconduct. It is a curious sort of permissivenessnthat constantly seeks to increasenthe areas of bureaucratic andnjudicial authority, and aims to tailornevery area of life according to ideologicalnnotions. The disintegration of traditionalnstandards is only one side ofnU ^ ^ ^ H M H i ^nChronicles of Culturenthe coin; it draws the eye because it isnbathed in a glaring, unpleasant light.nThe other, darker, side of the coin isna frantic effort to shackle and regimentnhumanity in ways far surpassing anynof the traditional restraints that societiesnhave evolved over the centuries—nindeed, in ways even more extreme, innsome cases, than those thus far used byntotalitarian states. Professor Handlin,nhaving a good opportunity to obser’enand comment with the skills of a distinguishednhistorian, somehow missednhis chance with this book. DnIn the forthcoming issue of Chronicles of Culture: •,nThe Southern Ethos and the Rest of Us fjj’r^’ ^^Waste of Monej;;—Pprfceptibles—The .Ajnierii?«in-4jFi-i%»^-:’^iP«>scemum-Stagq-Sfree^nnn