The Churchesnand thenBettermentnHumannExistencenr”;”S.”V^”7″:nWhy are so many churchesntoday stepping to a worldlyndrumbeat, telling membersnhow to pursue a “good” lifenhere and now? In this hardhittingnbook Kenneth Hamiltonnmaintains that churches everywherenare making the mistakenof commending the gospel primarilynon the grounds of thenpersonal and social gbod it cannbring about on this earth. Henargues that abstract Utopianntheories and Gnostic.idealsnhave infiltrated and infectednthe modern church, underminingnits effectiveness.nHamilton’s critique of the modernnchurch is penetrating, andnhis analysis of the meaning ofntradition and modernity is clearnand thought-provoking.nPaper, $12.95nAt your bookstore, or colln800-633-9326nIn Michigan, call collectn616-459-4591nFAX 616-459-6540n_j.||^v WM. B. EERDMANSnPUBLISHING Co.n255 JEFFERSON AVE. S.E. / GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. 49503n42/CHRONrCLESnsystem. Fundamental reform requirednzakonost — the rule of law. This meantnthat the czar could not act arbitrarilynbut that he too was subject to highernlaws.nThe Judicial Reform Act of 1864nprovided for an independent judiciary.nJudges from then on were immunenfrom dismissal, even when their opinionsndispleased the czar. This actnprovided further for trial by peers,nexcept in political cases. Although Lincolnndoes not say so, it is apparent thatnone lesson of the great reform era to benapplied now is that Gorbachev and hisnparty cronies need zakonost, since liberalnand democratic reform, in thenclassic sense of those terms, is notnpossible to achieve by fiat from thencenter. It might be said that all of thenearlier reforms were an effort to movenfrom proizvol to a citizen societynwhereby zakonost and glasnost werenuniversalized. These developmentsnwould allow for economic innovation,ndecentralization, and the reduction ofnbureaucracy.nA major stumbling block remained:nserfdom. How was decentralizationnand self-government possible whenntwenty-two million illiterate Russiansnwere bound to the land as property ofnthe aristocracy? At Alexander’s requestna commission was established to plannfor emancipation. Who would compensatenthe owners for the loss of thenserfs? Could serfs own the land theynhad worked, and, if they could, hownwould they pay for it? What civic rightsnwould a former serf have? Thousandsnof meetings and hearings were heldnacross Russia to discuss these questionsnbrought about by the czar’s request.nThese discussions themselves were unusualnin Russian history. Long termnbuy-out agreements were discussednalong with land purchase agreementsn— some of which were to last into then1950’s! The eventual emancipationndocument was 361 pages long andnhighly complex. Serfs on the czar’snpersonal holdings were treated differentlynthan state serfs who, in turn, werentreated differently than those owned bynthe aristocracy. All had variations onnbuy-out and land-use agreements.nPeasant communes were formed thatnhad to repay the government for thenliberation of peasants in a 49-yearnpayback agreement, and peasantsncould not move. Some liberation.nnnWho would be responsible for thenignorant liberated serfs—local aristocratsnor government bureaucrats? Howncould roads, hospitals, schools, andnrailways get built when each local activitynrequired permission from St. Petersburg?nTraditional provincial leaders ornarmy generals enforced the will of thenczar, but this system was no longernadequate, especially after the emancipation.nIn 1864 laws were decreedncreating provincial and rural zemstvosn(councils) that represented nobles, taxpayers,nand peasants through a complexnmechanism of local elections.nWhile not clearly democratic, the intentnwas to move to greater decentralizationnand self-government. Nonetheless,nby I9I4 only 43 of 70 provincesnwere successful in creating functioningnzemstvos.nAlexander II was assassinated innMarch 1881 by a leftist fanatic fromnthe Narodnaia Volia (The People’snWill). It was the opinion of leftists innthe I860’s and 1870’s that the grantingnof partial freedoms was actually anneffort to slow down fundamentalnchanges while preserving Orthodoxy,nautocracy, and Russia. The growingnstudent population, in combinationnwith newspapers and other publications,nbegan to shape intellectual opinionnat variance with the czar and thenaristocracy. Rightist reaction hauntedneach reform, and when Alexander IIInassumed the throne in 1881 he toleratednlittle dissent. As Lincoln writes:n”For Russia’s emperor and the defendersnof autocracy, the duties of a subjectnsuperceded the responsibilities of ancitizen.”nAs for the current reforms in thenSoviet Union,” much of course remainsnto be seen. Are glasnost/perestroikanand the like really steps toward decentralizationnand self-government ornmerely ploys to let off steam, buy time,nand preserve the regime? No onenreally knows. Change still hangs in thenbalance. If history is any guide at all, itnshows that reform movements can failnif the regime pacifies reformers enoughnto remain in power. The old regimenthen determines the meaning of wordsnlike glasnost, proizvol, and zakonost,nand can make them mean anything itnlikes.nMichael Warder is the associatenpublisher of Chronicles.n