direction, a group of software engineersnand aging hippies get together tonsing the old Primitive Baptist shapenotenmusic. There are weekend subculturesnof witches, nudists, skateboarders,nand owners of Amiga computers—neach with its own computernbulletin board.nThose of us whose development wasnarrested in the 50’s can listen tonKOFY, 1050 AM, a radio station thatnplays only songs from that era. (Onenlistener called in to say that his 20-yearyoungernwife loves the music he grewnup with and “it turns her on in thenmost delicious way.”) We can drivenaround in fender-skirted ’57 Cheviesnwith bumper stickers that say “ThenHeartbeat of America — Yesterday’snChevrolet,” and we can go to Saturday-morningngatherings of other enthusiasts.nOn Saturday night, we cannswing by the Peninsula Creamery for anchocolate malt; only the prices havenchanged since 1958 (but, boy, haventhey ever). Or we can dance the nightnaway at ShBoom, a club in San Josenthat plays only old rock and roll. Or wencan stay home and watch Channel 20’sn”Dance Party,” sort of an AmericannBandstand for the dental floss set,nwhere people our age put on their oldnletter sweaters and poodle skirts andnshow the youngsters how it ought to bendone. And this is Northern California.nThis is partly an urban thing, ofncourse. Georg Simmel wrote about it.nIt also requires general levels of affluencenand leisure that once belongednexclusively to an aristocracy. TomnWolfe has written about that.nBut there’s a California overlay onnall of this, an “I’m OK, You’re OK”nethic of hedonism and tolerance, couplednwith an almost complete absencenof noblesse oblige. I’ll let you drawnyour own conclusions about whethernthis is wholesome libertarianism or anbreakdown in society’s immune systemn(if you’ll excuse the unfortunate metaphor),nbut it is something like whatnRobert Bellah and his colleague wrotenabout in Habits of the Heart. Thatnbook troubled me because it didn’tndescribe any America I knew, but nownI see where it’s coming from — literally.nThese California professors did ansurvey in the Bay Area and thoughtnthey were talking about America. Well,nthey weren’t. Not yet, anyway.nGuess I got into the meaning of itn44/CHRONICLESnall, after all, didn’t I? Sorry about that.nIt’s time to go home.nJohn Shelton Reed’s home is innChapel Hill, North Carolina, but henhas been spending the year in the Baynarea.nLetter From NewnRomenby William R. HawkinsnThe Sun Never SetsnAn Anglo-Indian force of 24,000 mennunder General Sir Hugh Cough attackedna Sikh army of 52,000 at Gujaratnin the Punjab on Febmary 21, 1849. Innthe words of Byron Farwell, the Sikhsnhad “a splendid army. Its equipmentnwas modern and it had the largestnartillery park in Asia. The Sikhs madenfine soldiers and they had been trainednby mercenary European officers.” Yetnthe British routed the Sikhs, losing onlyn96 killed in the process. Three weeksnlater the Sikh leaders made a generalnsurrender and the Punjab was annexednto British India.nThe Age of Imperialism was full ofnsuch lopsided victories where Europeansndefeated larger “native” armiesnon the way to dividing the world intoncolonies, protectorates, and spheres ofninfluence. Leftists have long condemnednthe West for imposing itself onnthe rest of the worid, and they havenhailed such turning points as the “revival”nof China under Chairman Maonand the “defeat” of the United States bynVietnamese peasants as marking thencollapse of the West’s ability to dominatenthe Third World. Then in thendesert a coalition force spearheaded bynAmerican troops, literally taking upnwhere the British left off, routed a largernIraqi army. Coalition casualties werenabout the same as Imperial loses atnGujarat even though the forces engagednon both sides were an order of magnitudenhigher. For every coalition soldiernlost, one thousand Iraqis fell. The Iraqisnhad modern weapons with more tanksnand artillery than the coalition. Theynhad been trained by the Russians as thenSikhs had been trained by the French.nSome “bean counters” credited Iraqnnnwith having the fourth largest militarynmachine in the world, one that wasnbattle-hardened from the war with Iran.nYet it was still a Third World army,nmilitaristic rather than professional; unpreparednfor combat with First Worldnlegions.nTechnology played a critical role, butncannot in itself explain the totality of thencoalition victory. The Iraqis had accessnto technology, but could not use it—nthe prime example being the Soviet andnFrench fighters that the Iraqis could notnfly. Technology is a system encompassingnboth those who develop it and thosenwho use it. It is a manifestation of thatnmatrix of aptitudes, philosophy, experiences,nand spirit that form a civilization.nAnd I do mean “civilization,” notnmere “culture” as the p.c. academicsnwould have it. The current “multicultural”nfad is not new, just more blatant.nAs a graduate student in the mid-nI970’s, I had an avowedly Marxistnprofessor of economic history whonstressed the variety of economic organizationnfound in other societies andnother times, the point being that capitalismnwas not “normal,” let alone “natural.”nI earned the unofficial title “residentnfascist” by pointing out that thesenother cultures had not accomplishednvery much compared to the West. ThenWest, in its period of vibrant mercantilenand industrial capitalism, has overrunnthese other cultures. Indeed, the onlynnon-Western cultures that are now advancingnare doing so by adopting Westernnforms. To be worthy of the termn”civilization” a culture must do morenthan exist; it must be successful, spreadingnits influence and setting a patternnothers will wish to follow.nHistorians have debated endlesslynabout what factors produced in thenWest the matrix that propelled it pastnthe other societies that in the 14thncentury were on a par with Europe, ifnindeed not somewhat ahead. What isnknown is that there has been a markedncontrast between Europe and the rest ofnthe world since then.nThe most advanced civilization, China,nwas in decline as the Confuciannphilosophy tightened its grip on thenbureaucratic state in the 15 th century.nWith a philosophy that scorned bothnmilitary and commercial affairs, Chinanturned inward for five centuries. Lawsnwere passed prohibiting the building ofnocean-going ships; thus the fleets thatn