free people. That virtu, as we all know, followed the frontiernand passed to Spain, to England, to Holland, and to France,nand ultimately to the Americas, where it was extinguished innthe course of the 20th century.nAm I arguing that America and Western Europe are lockednonto the wheel of fate, that since our day has come and gone,nwe should sit under the trees, drinking wine, reading old poetry,nand catching the occasional trout? There are worse waysnto live, of course, but—as the old saying goes—fortune doesn’tnclose one door without opening another. If there is anynstrength to these observations, then the main challenge tonmodern states is to discover challenges. For a time it seemednthat the exploration of space was “the final frontier,” but thatnhope fizzled out long before the Challenger disaster that exposednthe frailty of our commitment to space exploration.nFor the most part, space exploration has become just anothernbusiness.nIf space is not the frontier, could the exploration of innernspace provide the challenge? Pisa, ruined by military defeatnand depopulated by malaria, devoted much of the town’s surplusnenergies to its university, and in a more general way, thenItalians learned to carry on their wars “by other means,” confiningnthemselves to a merely cultural aggression. But even ifnpolitical impotence can be mitigated by aesthetic strength, ifnthe success of Rossini and Bellini can assuage national vanity,nthe idea of a cultural frontier can only apply to a rare class ofnsylphs—“if he’s content with a vegetable love, which wouldncertainly not suit me, why what a most particularly pure youngnman, this pure young man must be.”nBesides, even the artist grows febrile and innervated in anpolitically emasculated society. Eighteenth-century Italiannpoetry is generally dreadful, and when a great poet did comenalong in the person of Leopardi, the rest of the world was contentnto discount him as a freak or even to ignore his existencen(at least until recently, since there appears to be some sort ofntransactionn14/CHRONICLESnLeopardi revival going on).nI would wish my people to escape the fate of the Lydiansnwho were saved for a life of pleasure. One of Professor Turner’snolder contemporaries, William James, wrote of the need innmodern societies for a “moral equivalent of war,” but so far nonone has found the moral equivalent for any of the most basicnhuman affections and institutions—competition and war, privatenproperty and the free market, marriage and family. Wenhave tried to replace all of them in the course of this century,nand the finest result was the Soviet Empire so recently broughtnto its knees.nThe collapse of communism and the disintegration of thenSoviet Union inflicted a shock to the world system—somethingnlike a hole punched into the pressured cabin of a high-altitudenaircraft. Nature abhors a vacuum, and despite all ournflailing and floundering efforts, the United States is not goingnto fill any of the voids—military, economic, ideological, cultural—thatnhave been created. There are opportunities fornWestern businesses, it goes without saying, but in the NewnWorld of the East, America will be only one of the players, perhapsnnot the most important.nThe frontier, which had been moving westward since the fallnof Constantinople has now, with the liberation of the ThirdnRome, reappeared in the East. There is now a united Germany,nonce again, and if we strain our ears we can begin to detectnthe whispered demands for a pan-German state. Meanwhile,nthe hybrid states of Versailles are breaking up likenoverloaded ships in heavy seas. Even the shipwreck survivors,nclinging to the flotsam and jetsam, seem bent on destroyingneach other, and yet, what all this violence conceals, is the factnthat a new Europe is being born, and it may not matter muchnwhat sort of arrangements the bureaucrats in Brussels engineer.nThe Wild West is now the Wild East, and Americansnwill have to work very hard, if they want to be in on the action.nLearned, thoughtful, and superblynwritten …. ^ ^ ^ ^ -RotenNisbetn^y^y NATIONAL REVIEWnn this probing and thoughful book, ThomasnFlenning has begun to address the principalnchallenge to our society and polity.”n-Elizabeth Fox-GenovesenCHRONICLESn”A thoughtful conservative of the old school.n. .. Progressives and radicals could benefitnfrom grappling with Fleming’s intellectuallynstimulating presentation.”nTHE PROGRESSIVEnISBN: 0-88738-189-8 (cloth) 276 pp. $32.95nMajor credit cards accepted. Call (201) 932-2280nSend prepaid orders to:ntransaction publishersn[7 I Department FLnnnElntransactionn*-‘-‘ Rutgers-The State UniversitynNew Brunswick, N.J. 08903n