tolerable. What is even odder is that sonperceptive a sociologist would miss thenpoint that Christianity was precisely supposednto bring about a moral revolutionnin the world. It would be strange indeednif the morality of the early Church differednin no significant way from that ofnthe Roman Empire. I do not know whatnNisbet’s personal religious and moralnbeliefs are. From this book, however, Ininfer that his man-of-the-world conservatismnis finally a kind of classicism, innthe sense of fidelity to the world view ofnGreece and Rome, from which later centuriesnmark a deleterious falling off. Then20th-century sociologist from Berkeleynstands revealed as a kind of Ciceroniannmoralist. Thus religion is treated somewhatnskittishly. While the supernaturalndimension of Christianity is acknowledged,nthe claim is also made that historicallynthe paramount religion of the Westnsucceeded mainly for what it taughtnabout this life, not for its doctrines aboutnthe next, a judgment with which I disagree.nNisbet, although a learned man,nis not always on sure footing when hendeals with religion, as in his handling ofnthe Galileo case and his claim (repeatednmore than once) that St. Francis of Assisinwas almost burned at the stake, and thatnsome of his followers actually were,nbecause they denied man’s dominionnover nature. St. Francis was never in realndanger of being burned, and those of hisnfollowers who got into trouble with thenChurch did so mainly for their extremendoctrine concerning the practice ofnpoverty, which undermined hierarchicalnauthority.nLike most conservatives, Nisbetnrecognizes religion as essential for thenmoral and intellectual stability of a society.nBut he is equally aware of its revolutionarynpotential, its propensity for “enthusiasm”nin the 18th-century sense ofnthe word. I have the impression that henwould prefer to dispense with such anvolatile and unpredictable substance ifnthat were possible, and to rely on thenripe, tempered wisdom of the gentleman’sncode. The last line of the book extolsnthe Roman virtue oigravitas. Nisbetnseems to be of two minds about the kindnof social conservatism summed up in thenmovement called the Moral Majority.nWhile generally disapproving, he alsontakes gleeful satisfaction in the fact that itnhas frightened the dogmatic liberals,nwho see it as a serious threat to theirnmoral hegemony over American life. Butnin his entry on conservatism, he alsonestimates that, despite Ronald Reagan,nthe conservative movement is losingnground in America and cannot in thenend defeat the ubiquitous liberal state.nHere Nisbet’s personal opinionsnmerge with one of the intriguing questionsnin current American politics—nwhether recent elections indicate a permanentnconservative counterrevolution.nLike the leaders of the Republican Party,nNisbet seems to enjoy watching religiousn”enthusiasts” ram sticks into liberalnCrime & BahhlenTime, tiiat haven (or ili-ini-iniclli-ttuals,nrail not lone ngo a cover .story on thenficaih pcinliy. Aiconlinj; lo 7/wr’inpublisiicr. ilic- youilil’ul author liU’s iiiadcn;in fpoilml (livovi-rv. lie notiifi) then”pitlpahlf ‘ii-n.M- ofthi- liitily. inti-riniiv.ililcnmonot‘ ttTIr pui’liinlii’lul-.A’;.nHowever, in another pan ol Tiwf’iin-.i-nLiBi-RAL CuiirRi:nnnnspokes, but he is unwilling to admitnthem into the inner circle of conservatism.nThus his pessimism about thenfuture of conservatism can be seen as anself-fulfilling prophecy, paralleling thenperennial death wish of traditional Republicanism.nFor in the end the merendefense of property, or even of semiabstractionsnlike liberty, will not be enoughnto sustain the effort which would be necessarynto reverse 50 years of the kind ofndeleterious social policy that Nisbet deplores.nNeither will a mainly negativenreaction to especially egregious exercisesnin liberal social engineering. Such anmovement, to have any chance of success,nmust have a spiritual heart, and atnpresent it seems as though that heart cannonly be supplied by the kinds of religiousnenthusiasts Nisbet seems to want to keepnon the margins of his civilization. Dn1 !«• welaii read lliai tnj;land sirimeratentoday is “ania^ittply low”- 7/>/A”.I e.xpre.s.^ion-nat 1.1 niurder’i per 100,000npeople. fL’..S. homicide rate i.s ‘). pi-rn100.000.) Obviously. TZ/w V editorialnbrain.s do not correlate rhe’^e two jiieies oininforinatioii one Iroin the previous ajjenand one from oiir.>.. They ju.M do tioinbring into mutual relation two element’:nol their own narratioti- the mark ofnmetiial underdeclopmetir. That” whvnlimr is a paradise tor a denii-itiiellij;enineditor and a ((.’rebral exercise manual (orna i|tiarier-inielli{;eni reader.n•HBMianApril 1983n