spread a feast of welcome for him. Butndon’t unfold your napkin just yet.nMr. Lasch neither calls nor thinks ofnhimself as a conservative, and in that henis probably wise. Were he to do so,npassages such as the one quoted abovenwould be greeted with the most vituperativenabuse from those who claim thatntitle today. The self-appointed swamisnof the right, from their yachts andnAlpine retreats, would compare him tonexcrement, even as they perspired overnthe closing of the American mind andnpreached the virtues of pluralism. Criesnof “anti-Semite,” “xenophobe,” “nativist,”nand even “agrarian” would piercenthe walls of his study and silence hisnanimadversions on the subjects of progressnand universalism. His academicncareer would be threatened by unsolicitednphone calls to his dean from spitefulncolleagues. The tories who prancenthrough the parlors of Manhattan andnGeorgetown would make sedulous inquirynas to his thoughts during the civilnrights movement while awarding bountifulngrants to decrepit social democratsnand second-rate defectors from SDS.nWere Mr. Lasch to spread his sails tonthe winds from the American rightntoday, he would soon find himself maroonednin an archipelago of smallntowns, intact families, and agrarianncommunities far from the political sealanesnplied by the clipper ships of selfproclaimedn”conservatives.”nAlas, Mr. Lasch is not typical of thencontemporary left, however, nor are thenruminations emitted by the estimablenCohen or the honorable Gephardt. Mr.nLasch is correct that the mainstream ofnleft-liberalism in America today remainsnnearly comatose with dread of thenmainstream of America itself But thengreat fear on the left seems to benmatched on the right by an almost equalnaversion to the American heartland.nThe contemporary right by and largenmuch prefers the pina coladas of thensecularized, deracinated megalopolis ofnthe Northeast and the California Fringento the white lightning of the pineynwoods, the Rockies, and the GreatnPlains.nToday, the right talks and thinks likenthe left, and the left, sometimes, soundsnlike the right. That kind of confusionnsuggests that both labels have outlivedntheir usefulness and ought to be put tonsleep. They have become prisons thatnhouse so many different and conflictingnforces that the interests, values, andnaspirations incarcerated in them arenunable to find coherent political expression.nThe political conflict of the future isnlikely to be not on the horizontal planenbetween left and right but along anvertical axis: the Middle-American stratum,nwhich is wedded to the integrity ofna distinct national and cultural identity,nis sandwiched between an unassimilatednunderclass and an alienated and increasinglyncosmopolitan elite that has subsumednleft and right and shares morencommon ground with snappily dressednSoviet commissars and Japanese corporatenexecutives than with farmers innKansas, small businessmen in Ohio,nunion members in Detroit, or fundamentalistsnin Alabama.nThat conflict, of course, is not new,nand the American right has waxed fatnand happy by claiming to represent onenside of it. But today its enchantmentnwith global democracy, a global economy,nand a global culture that will displacennational particularity render thatnclaim transparently fraudulent.nIf the remaining nucleus of Americanncivilization is to survive, it will havento find a new label by which to identifynitself and new guardians to lead itsnstruggle.nSamuel Francis is deputy editorialnpage editor of The WashingtonnTimes.nLetter From thenLower Rightnby John Shelton ReednOf CoUard Greens and KingsnMy godson was graduated from anChicago high school last May.nTo my delight, he wanted to go to anSouthern college. Unfortunately henpicked Duke, which means that his ideanof the South will probably come toninclude things like the rice diet, deconstructionism,nMercedes Marxism, andnholistic therapy with crystals (“voodoonrocks,” my buddy Fetzer calls them).nEverything’s up-to-date at Buck Duke’snplace, alas.nnnNevertheless, the lad is moving in thenright geographical direction, and sincenhe will be physically present in Durhamnfor the next four years he may alsondiscover things like Levi Garrett andnShirley Caesar’s gospel music and thenDurham Bulls (not entirely destroyednby the success of the movie aboutnthem). So for a graduation present Ingave him a copy of the Encyclopedia ofnSouthern Culture, produced by a teamnat the Center for the Study of SouthernnCulture at the University of Mississippinand just published by the Universitynof North Carolina Press. “Here arena few things you ought to know,” I toldnhim.nAbout 1,300 things, as a matter ofnfact, that being the number of entries,nwritten by neariy 800 authors, spreadnover 1,634 pages, and ranging alphabeticallynfrom Aaron (Hank) tonZydeco. The time has come, apparently,nto talk of many things — of gays andngrits and shotgun shacks, of collardngreens and Kings (Martin Luther andnElvis I). At $50 ($60 after NewnYear’s), this book doesn’t cost a greatndeal more than a good country hamnthese days; weighing in at nine and anhalf pounds on my bathroom scale, it’sncheaper by weight than rib-eye. Recentlyna review in The New York Timesnsaid that the new Oxford English Dictionarynis a bargain at 11 cents a page:nwell, this sucker will cost you onlynthree.nOf course, the book is so cheap (yes,nyes — relatively speaking) because itnhas been heavily subsidized, especiallynby the National Endowment for thenHumanities. In other words, it’s yourntax dollars at work again, and I knownnobody asked you. But consider thenalternatives. It beats a Congressionalnpay raise, doesn’t it? As Confuciusnmight have said: if extortion is inevitable,nrelax and enjoy it.nAnd there is a lot to enjoy here, bynno means exclusively for Southerners.nOne of the pleasures of the book isnbrowsing for odd juxtapositions. In thencatchall “History and Manners” section,nfor instance, a charming sequencenof entries goes:nGardner, DavenGaysnGoo Goo ClustersnGritsnHammond, James HenrynSEPTEMBER 1989/41n