class and the neurotic class.” But in Mr.nLapham’s vision of American society,nthe equestrian class is neurotic as well.nIt invades small Southeast Asian countriesnand dabbles ineffectually in freeversencomposition; it has an unreflectingnfaith in the omnipotence of technologynand makes films celebrating a fashionablendespair about the possibility ofnprogress; it hunts foxes to the strainsnof Stockhausen.nSomething odd is clearly going on.nMr. Lapham is able to attribute inconsistenciesnamounting to schizophrenia tonthis class by means of a simple rhetoricalndevice: he treats all of its members—nfrom Jane Fonda to William Simon—asnmuch of a muchness. This mental habitnbecomes explicit in his revealing essaynon the Ford Foundation energy report,nwhere he describes a ferocious disagreementnbetween the head of Mobil Oil, Mr.nTavoulareas, and the project’s director,nMI. David Freeman, and goes on to commentnloftily:nI had assumed that all these gentlemennwould recognize a common, even a national,ninterest. Without exceptionnthey belonged to the American rulingnclass; they enjoyed equivalent degreesnof status and lived in the same welllightednsuburbs of Washington, NewnYork, Pittsburgh, Boston and SannFrancisco . . . yet so many of themnapparently had been reduced to callingneach other names, as if they had beennwalking around in the rain with politicalnplacards instead of sitting acrossnconference tables from one another.nxlere is a writer positively striving tonbe taken in by appearances. How do wenrecognize a member of his equestriannclass.” Quite simply. He has a secretary,nrides in a comfortable car, duly notes thenmemoranda that cross his desk and attendsncocktail parties where he discussesnrelief for Cambodia, the forthcomingnOPEC negotiations and other topics ofnthe day. If two such men fall to violentnargument over something, Mr. Laphamnthinks them guilty of the crass delusionnChronicles of Culturenthat some point of theory can be as importantnas the lifestyle that unites them.nBut the fallacy underlying this patriciannoutlook can be unearthed by a simplenquestion: how would Mr. Laphamnclassify Adolf Eichmann? He sat at andesk, dictated memoranda to his secretary,netc., etc. To anyone uninterestednin the purposes of those memoranda, henmust seem indistinguishable from a social-securitynclerk. Yet we would notnthink that a clerk who objected to thencomparison was simply looking at thingsnfrom the wrong end of his In-tray. Wenwould surely be more inclined to criticizenMr. Lapham for adopting a theorynof high superficiality. And he confirmsnthis charge when he remarks, from hisnpinnacle of superiority, that “PresidentnNixon … in his wooden-minded andnliteral way, believed that there was somethingnmore to government than the shiftingnof scenes.” Did he indeed, poor fellow.-‘nAnd we thought him so shrewd.nThere is, of course, something morento government than the shifting ofnscenes. As the boat people will testify,nthere is the shifting of people, for onenthing. Yet, at various points throughoutnthe book, Mr. Lapham retreats from seriousnargument and political controversyninto lofty paradoxes, into convenientnfictions, i.e. his equestrian class withnits manifest common interests, and, ofncourse, into the embrace of his all-encompassingnmetaphor.nIn the forthcoming issue of Chronicles of CulturenOur Eldersn•’On the third of Janiiarv I98I, the great stholar LricnVoeceiin passed his eighth decade The event was distiettKncelebrated bv the ‘mside circle” and b a second Felsihritlnwluth collects moie than rwcnu cssas m his honor Vet.ndespiff the general acclaim of his iieiii re. ‘cx.’ge!in is annambiguous philosophei, which is not laie among (jtmiannscholars and llunkeis- Hegc-1. Nu l/sc hi’ IIiMdi-cg< r haencie.Ucd contioversies aiound their thought, and thenndisciples have een splil into two camps, lett” and “right.”nI.e. nihihst vs. constriictisc. lealisl s cxistc-ntialisi “nfrom the guest editorialnby Thomas MolnarnAlso:nOpinions & Views—Commendables—In FocusnWaste of Money —PerceptiblesnThe American Proscenium—Stage—Screen—nArt—Music—Correspondence- Liberal CulturenJournalismnnn