moval, maintaining roads and utilities;nthe programs to cut are those imposednon them by the other two levels, and innEnglish Canada the one that stands outnis the artificial provision of Frenchlanguagenservices for the relatively fewnresidents whose mother tongue may benFrench but for whom, like the residentsnof all other extractions, the workingnlanguage is English.nLast November in Ontario, where anprovincial law requires provincial governmentnagencies in 22 designatedncenters to provide a range of Frenchlanguagenservices, local governmentsnreacted with legislation of their own.nBy March 1990, 5 3 local governmentsn(out of some 800) had adopted motionsndeclaring that their official businessnwould be conducted in Englishnonly.nBecause the language issue is sonexplosive, the reaction of those Ontarionmunicipalities has attracted nationwidenattention. It is also drawing attention tonthe danger of letting political power getninto too few hands. While the politicalnelites in Ottawa are free from thenexcesses perpetrated by the fallen idolsnof communism, they are by no meansnfree from the corruption that attendsnall power. Majority views as expressednin opinion polls are simply ignored.nThe elites’ views prevail as if the pollsnhad never been taken.nThus the Canadian voter has noninfluence whatsoever on such issues asnofficial bilingualism, the criminal justicensystem, immigration and its off^nshoot, multiculturalism, so-called “paynequity” and “affirmative action” programs,ngovernment-funded advocacyngroups, or the government spendingnthat takes 52 percent of the averagenCanadian’s income in taxes.nTaxes equal money equals spendingnpower equals control. All the power isnat the top. Ottawa controls provincialngovernments by making them dependentnon money it transfers to them. Innturn, provincial governments use somenof that money, plus some from theirnown sources, to make local governmentsndependent on transfers, too.nIn short, the spending power innCanada is upside down: most in Ottawa;nless in the provincial governments;nand least of all in the local governmentsnthat are closest to the citizens.nIt is ironic that Pierre Trudeau’snpreoccupation with official bilingual­n46/CHRONICLESnism should be the spark to ignite anrevolt against the style of top-downngovernment he imposed on EnglishnCanada, but the evidence is there. AsnThunder Bay Alderman John Polhillnput it: “We’re getting sick and tired ofngetting legislated tax increases we havenno say about.”nOn the divisive issue of official bilingualism,nCanadians have gone throughnthe fire to satisfy the predilections ofnone man: Pierre Trudeau. Many arenBRIEF MENTIONSnnow hoping that unrest over the languagenissue will lead to a renewednunderstanding of federalism’s capacitynto reconcile order with freedom, andnthe need to restructure governmentnaccordingly.nKenneth McDonald’s third book onnCanadian poUtics, Keeping CanadanTogether, is being published thisnmonth. He lives in Toronto.nCLASSICAL SPARTA: TECHNIQUES BEHIND THE SUCCESSnEdited by Anton PowellnNorman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press; 196 pp., $32.50nHELLENISTIC AND ROMAN SPARTA: A TALE OF TWO CITIESnby Paul Cartledge and Antony SpaworthnLondon and New York: Routledge; 304 pp., $35.00nThe nations of Europe and America have always looked at themselves in thenmirror of Greece and Rome. Of the many Greek city-states, two have served tondefine the usable past of antiquity: Athens, the home of democracy andnbirthplace of tragedy and comedy; and Sparta, a city who entrusted her defensento men, not walls. Like the United States, the classical Greek wodd attemptednsuicide in a war between the two communities that served as cultural poles.nSparta has been in bad odor for some time. Victor Ehrenburg compared thenharsh Spartan regime with the Nazi state, and that comparison has beennrepeated ad nauseam by scholars and vulgarizers who have neither Ehrenburg’snerudition nor his excuse (he was a German). Two recent books have attemptednto assess the secrets of the Spartan success on the way up and on the way downnfrom the pinnacle of power she reached in the fifth century. Classical Sparta,nunfortunately, does not entirely live up to the subtitle, although StephennHodkinson’s essay on marriage and inheritance is an important reworking of anfamiliar question, and the book contains an interesting discussion of socialndrinking.nHellenistic and Roman Sparta, on the other hand, is a fresh look at a topicnthat has received comparatively little attention. What happens to a highlyndeveloped community like Sparta, after it has been conquered and subsumednfirst by the Macedonians and then the Romans? Cartledge and Spaworth do angood job of wrestling with the evidence, which for much of the period is largelynnonliterary. What emerges is a Spartan people with the usual ups and downs ofnfortune, but whose vision of their classical past gave them an identity thatnpersisted down to the fifth century A.D. In the Roman period, Sparta became ansort of living museum, like Sienna, to which wealthy tourists flocked to observenthe quaint customs and the harshness of the famous agoge (their system of maleneducation). However artificial Spartan traditionalism may have been, it gave thenSpartans a local identity and local patriotism that partly explain its comparativenstability and success. As America enters upon its own period of decline, wencould do worse than to take a page out of the book of another people draggednunwillingly into empire and ruin.n— Thomas FlemingnJohn Shelton Reed’s “Letter From the Lower Right” will not appear this month.nnn