fashionable circles the list extends to the entire feministnagenda, homosexual rights, and anything connected withnthe Third Worid. It is not simply that some positions arenaccepted as right or denounced as wrong, but that a mannwho plays devil’s advocate by criticizing Dr. King ornattacking women’s rights is read out of the human race, or atnleast that portion of it that includes all right-thinkingnAmericans.nThe real national pastime is not baseball but a morensophisticated game, which might be called “finding thencenter” or “where do you stand?” It is played by politicians,npurnalists, clergymen, and next-door neighbors, by anyonenwho is eager to locate his own position at the center bynshunting someone else to the periphery and beyond thenacceptable bounds of deviation. In religious circles the gamenis played with predictable zeal. Mainstream denominationsnare OK but not the evangelicals; or, the evangelicals are OKnbut not the television evangelists; or, even the TV preachersnare OK but not the Chalcedonian Calvinists (too apocalyptic)nor the Wisconsin Synod Lutherans (too rigid).nChurch is not the only place where orthodoxy is imposed.nIf I cut my grass twice a week in July, this means I willnaccept a man who cuts his grass only once a week, butnanyone who lets it grow for two weeks is beyond the pale.nHe is causing my property value to go down. He isnattracting vermin. He is obviously not a good neighbor andnprobably not a good American.nWhile this village mentality is a universal phenomenonnand unquestionably a very useful form of social regulation,nits influence on serious discourse is less obviously beneficial.nVillage life is democratic in the best sense of that abusednword, because it discourages those distinctions which disruptnthe social order. A man of ability who wants to become ansmall-town mayor had better learn to hide his light under anbushel, because eloquence or ambition are prima facienevidence of social deviance. But the life of the mind is bynnature antidemocratic. Any genuine poet or philosophernmust some day be willing to swim against the stream, tonthink his own thoughts, to speak his own words. His mottonmust be, “publish and be damned” — although not in thensense that Wellington intended.nThe fate of an honest writer in America is something likenthe fate of a Russian dissident. We don’t jail or beat up thosenwho hold extreme views; we simply refuse to publish theirnbooks or to give them tenure at a decent university. Wendon’t send them to Siberia, but we do send them tonCoventry. We congratulate ourselves upon the free circulationnof ideas, while at the same time set up a system ofneducation whose major function is to turn out the massproducednmentalities that pay their taxes and laugh at DavidnLetterman. It is as efficient a system of statist indoctrinationnas can be devised, and it works so well that few of us everncomplain. Our shoulders have bent themselves to fit thenyoke. John Dewey, not Lenin, was the greatest revolutionarynof this century, and it is no accident that Dewey came tonresent the Soviet system as a rival. He was neither the firstnnor the last totalitarian intellectual to tate refuge in anti-nCommunism.nIf we are still an essentially free country, it is because ansizable part of the population has built up a degree ofnimmunity against the educational propaganda to which theynhave been overexposed, in regular doses of civics classes andnnewspaper editorials. Since education has come to be littlenmore than indoctrination, the least-educated enjoy the mostnfreedom of opinion. In the great affairs of state, uneducatednAmericans are easy enough to manipulate. Who knows thenrights and wrongs of Central America policy or has sufficientntechnical background to judge the merits of SDI? Onnthese faraway subjects, most of us simply don’t care enoughnto disagree with Dan Rather, but on stories that hit close tonhome, we refuse to be bullied. It did not matter thatnvirtually every editorialist in the country told us thatnBernhard Goetz was a homicidal psychopath. Anyone whonhad ever spent five minutes in New York or Detroit or St.nLouis knew better.nIn a reasonably healthy community, the people maynunderstand very little of constitutional mechanics or internationalnaffairs. However, they are often able to size up theirnlocal leaders. Outside the major cities American voters oftennhave a fair idea of the strengths and weaknesses of mayors,naldermen, and local legislators who may live down the blocknor have married a cousin. In this light, it would make morensense for congressmen and Presidents to be elected bynlocally chosen electors — the very system established by thenauthors of the Constitution. Direct democracy, as ournancestors in New England town meetings and in thenparishes of the South were well aware, works best when thenparticipants have a face-to-face acquaintance. No kind ofndemocracy will ever work, so long as the people’s representativesnspend most of their time a thousand miles away fromntheir relatives and neighbors. The current system, for all thenboast of democracy, is a test of comparative wealth and annexercise in systematic bribery.nBut any discussion of indirect election will bring out thenlynch mob of global democrats, because in a “democracy”nthe one subject that may not be discussed honestly isndemocracy itself. This has not always been the case. Few ofnthe Founding Fathers of this republic viewed democracynwith anything but alarm, and even 25 years ago, Europeannrightists and their American disciples subjected democracynto a withering attack from their redoubt at National Review.nTo this day, they continue to trace all our woes to thenadministrations of Jefferson and Jackson.nWhat the European right refuses to recognize is thenconservative strain in the Jeffersonian tradition. NeithernJefferson nor Jackson were downright levelers, and all thatnmost Americans mean, when they boast of democracy, isnthat they have control over their own destinies. No one cannask to see their papers (at least, not yet), and no one cannforce them to revere a degenerate who happens to be rich ornto bear a noble name. We are spared the indignity of “HisnGrace, the Duke of Xanadu,” or “My Lord Kennedy.”nDemocracy in this sense has little to do with the principlenof one man/one vote, direct election, or with the millennianof speeches pronounced on the subject of equal rights.nDemocracy in the narrow, legalistic sense of a politicalnsystem is the sworn enemy of the American democracynTocqueville described and grudgingly admired. Thendemocratic-populist spirit cannot long coexist with proceduralndemocracy, because the latter makes war upon allnnatural institutions. In the name of procedural democracy,nfamilies are torn apart by feminist legislation and degrad-nnnJUIVE 198819n