might reassess long-forgotten stock fromngreat-grandfather’s safe. When henspeaks of the perils of egalitarianism ornthe virtues of feudalism, it goes withoutnsaying that in a time of test-mbe babies,nApple computers, and Social Securitynthe notion of hierarchy has to be reinvented,nrevalidated, and morallynrefined—especially in light of the factnthat rigid hierarchies and purely feudalninterdependencies actually are bloomingnin our present reality, planted andnperpetuated by liberals, in spite of thencrude, perfidious, egalitarian cant of thenliberal media. “Emulation not imitationn,” Mr. Nisbet seems to say, and this isnhow his ideological tastes and methodologicalnsuggestions should be read. But itnseems to me that he somehow diminishesnthe impact of his work by not pressingnenough the case for incremental creativity,nfor his own apt and perspicacious suggestions,nputting in their stead a posturenof distinguished grief and cataclysmicnelegance. Not long ago, the noxiouslynleftist Nation featured a telling observationnby an ultraliberal social analyst:nFor the central verity of Americannpolitical life is that the 1960s producedna new class of voters, theneducated white-collar and professionalnmiddle-class, which makes up anThe Intelligent Woman’s Guidento Liberationnthird of the electorate. It is preciselynthis element which is coming tonbelieve that neither party can adequatelynaddress America’s problems.nThat’s fight. Those who can figute outnhow to present this stratum with the NewnWord, or a captivating message, will rulenAmerica, and perhaps the West. In onenof his best chapters, “Anomie,” Mr.nNisbet synthesizes with a superlativenforce of persuasion the sense of nomos,n”meaning the large body of laws, traditions,nand mores which people inheritnfrom the past and which provide thennorms, values, incentives and constraintsnin their lives.” He should have focusednmore, and more profoundly, on the incentives.nI, for one, believe that he couldnhave found an eager audience in thatn”new class of voters.” They are ready fornnew moral and existential proclamations.nWhich brings us back to Voltaire, annatural referent for any work subtitlednA Philosophical Dictionary. Why didnVoltaire have such tremendous andnlasting impact on minds, even on thosenwho disagteed with ot loathed him,nwhereas it would be irreflective to projectnthe same effect for Mr. Nisbet’s trearise?nAre history and sociotechnologicalnchange the only culprits? There arenLIBERAL CULTURE HnBeatrice Webb, so we’ve alwaysnthought, was a leading Fabian socialistnwho also happened to be the wife ofnSidney Webb. But in an adulatory reviewnoi The Diary of Beatrice Webb: Volume In1875-1892 appearing in the New YorknTimesBookReview, Ms. Jane Marcus discoversnmore, much more, about Mrs.nWebb: “Readers of this diary will see hownshe trained Sidney to be a good wife.”nA woman with a male wife.’ Andn10 inChronicles of CulturenH^n_.^^f-Ln^•..–iSn•••’:^xsfi^.-n” •nNO W’s leaders think they have inventedneverything. Unnnanalogies between their intellectualncomplexions and fates: Mr. Nisbet hasnchallenged the reigning cultural climate;nhis remarks are rooted in nonconformismnand originality; his erudition matchesnthat of M. Arouet. Voltaire was jailednand exiled for his beliefs; for the samenteason, Nisbet was—fot a long time—nblacked out by the hberal press, ostentatiouslynignored by the liberal opinionmakingnapparatus, and occasionallynburned at stakes fueled by copies of thenNew York Times. Both men have strong,nsingular influences from their culturalnhcfitages: Voltaire from Montaigne,nNisbet from Burke; their intellectual inheritancesnconverge in the distant past, innthe Socratic teachings about how and tonwhat puipose man’s cerebral endowmentnand mental equipment should benused. Voltaire wanted to rationalize thenunivetse; Nisbet wants to dissect andnutihze the permanence of wisdom—andnthose endeavors are not in conflict. FornVoltaire “philosophy” meant originality,nclarity, sharpness of speculation, andnboldness of inferences; for Nisbet “prejudice”nmeans the maturity of moralnvalue and intellectual reflection. T6te-atete,nI would imagine they could conversenquite amicably. Yet to many itnwould sound preposterous, if not sacrilegious,nto invoke a comparison. I do notnfeel quite at ease with it either, for fairlynobjective leasons. Mr. Nisbet’s weaknessnis his pose of sorrowful dignity. Voltaire’snstrength was that he saw his Dictionairenas a manual for triumphant rationalism,nthe yeast of oncoming ideologies, thencatechism of secular humanism; in thenend, it is a manifesto so endowed withncultural charm that it still tetains validitynand relevance, even if the luster has gone.nAnd he was right. He knew how to makena bannei out of a lexicon, to give his worknan intellectual vibrancy that generatesnacceptance through smiles. No one,nfriend or foe, could fail to tespond tonsuch a sagacious itony as this:nThe ancient oriental customs ate sonprodigiously different from our ownnthat nothing should appeal extra-n