Got Here is not an echo of the neoconrnparty line, aUhough the author doesrnthrow some bones to his patrons. Tornthose who feel nostalgia for the llnitedrnStates of 50 years ago, Frum offers the establishmentrnretort: “It is not true thatrnthings in general were better half a centuryrnago, things in many respects werernworse —more militaristic, less innovative,rnmore statist, less tolerant, more unionized,rnless humane, more prejudicial.”rnMoreover, Frum insists that the UnitedrnStates has recoered morally after “thernscandals of the Clinton presidencyrntouched off an explosion of baby-boomerrnself-disgust.” Thus Vice President Gorerndelixers speeches “recalling the pridernwith w hich he wore his country’s uniformrnand describing Taith and family’ as hisrndeepest commitments. Former draftevadersrnqueued in bookstores to buy TomrnBrokaw’s Valentine to their wartime parents.”rnFrum is anxious to show thatrnAmericans of today combine the best ofrnpast and present, renewed “family values”rnand entrepreneurship with relaxed bordersrnand oozing tolerance.rnDespite his occasional imitation ofrnBen Wattenberg’s celebration of “America,rnthe World’s First Universal Nation,”rnFrimi offers truth as well as bromides.rnFlis cha])ter entitled “The People’srnHouse,” which lists the numerous powersrnseized by the judicial-administrativernstate over the last 5 5 years, leaves the impressionrnthat only minimal oppositionrnhas been mounted to this arrogation ofrnpower. While, in the 1940’s and 50’s, thernfederal government increased its sur’eillancernand regulator)’ acHvities b’ appealingrnto military neccssit)’, since the 60’s, itrnhas grown more intrusive, allegedly outrnof sheer niceness, controlling people’srnlives to help them overcome “prejudice”rnand ensuring the flow of middle-class entitlements.rnFrum notes that a close correlation hasrnexisted since the 70’s between the growingrnpresence of women and blacks in thernprofessions and universities and increasedrncomplaints of sexual harassmentrnand racial discrimination, prompting furtherrngovernment activity to eradicaternprejudice by modifying social behavior.rnFrom this, he leaps to the dubious assumptionrnthat growing complaints ofrnprejudice are a by-product of expectationsrnraised by the dismantling of barriersrnto employment. Yet the causal relationrnmay be somewhat different. Professionalrnand academic positions have been forcedrnopen by political fiat; indeed, much ofrnthe celebrated rise of a black middlernclass has depended on racial set-asides,rndeanships in minorit- affairs, and otherrngovernment-mandated forms of compensatoryrnjustice. For justifying and expandingrnthis system of preferential treatment,rngriping has been essential. Predictably,rndie more such behavior is rewarded, thernmore the decibel level rises.rnPYum’s basic argument is nonethelessrncon^incing. Although the 60’s did muchrnto aggrandize federal power and energizernthe ci’il-rights and antiwar movements,rntlie 70’s contributed even more to a newrnAmerican political culture; Feminism,rngay rights, and the expectation that governmentrnwould accommodate victimizedrnminorities were products of this decadernmore than of the preceding one. Frumrndemonstrates this by presenting the viewsrnof journalists, politicians, reform activists,rnand judges associated with that fatefulrndecade. He also stresses the impact of therncorrupt presidencies of the 60’s and earh’rn70’s in fueling the movement for structuralrnreforms, while noting also the ironicrneffect: Calls for more responsive goernmentrnled invariably to expanded and lessrnaccountable government.rnWliile much of what Frum has to sayrnon this subject is self-evident, the examplesrnhe cites are not always persuasive.rnThere is no reason to assume that the partyrnseniorify system in Congress or the partyrncaucuses before the emergence of presidentialrnprimaries promoted responsivernpopular government. ‘Fhe weakening ofrnthe two-party monopoly on Americanrnpolitics (if that indeed has occurred) ma-rnbe a happy outgrowth of the forces thatrnhave led generally toward judicial-administrativernt}’ranny; it is doubtful thatrneven more monopolistic parfy- organizationsrnwould have prevented the flow ofrnpower since the 70’s to the media, socialrnworkers, and practitioners of victimolog)’.rnrhe two parties have cooperated hapjjilyrnwith the ascending political elite, in returnrnfor the right to organize electionsrnand distribute patronage. On one point,rnthough, Frum is undoubtedly right: Allrnof the talk in the 60’s and 70’s aboutrn”openness” prefigured a rush in the oppositerndirection, toward an arbitran judiciary,rnthe mendacious politics of BillrnClinton and Janet Reno, and the furtherrndestruction of self-government.rnOne reason for the degradation ofrndemocracy in America is the growingrnpublic indifference to the government’srnas.saults on a once-free society. Althoughrnaffirmative-action, sexual-harassment.rnand other behavior-modification lawsrnhave a negative impact on tens of millionsrnof people, none has become a majorrnelectoral issue. Polls suggest thatrnfighting discrimination in the workplacernis a widely shared national concern, onernthat many Americans beliee the federalrngovernment should address. Even assumingrnthe obvious—that most of thosernwho expressed this opinion are liberatedrnwomen or government-coddled minoritiesrn—the question remains: Wliv is therernno equivalent countervailing outcry targetingrnthe government’s bullving ofrnwhite heterosexual males? In the UnitedrnStates and most other Western societies,rnwhite males and, more generally, thernidentifiable cultural majorit have eitherrnquit protesting their collective humiliationrnor have been unwilling to make thisrnhumiliation a major political issue.rnFrum underscores this point as he explainsrnthe rapid transformation of thern1964 Civil Rights Act into a springboardrnfor minority quotas. Although prominentrncongressional sponsors of that actrnexplicitly denied that it could be used tornsupport minorit}’ preferences, it “took thernfederal government all of twenty-fourrnmonths to rubbish eery one of thesernsolemn guarantees.” By April 1966, thernDepartment of Health, Education, andrnWelfare was citing the act to impose integrationrnquotas on Southern schools. Byrnthe mid-70’s, the Civil Rights Act hadrnbeen reinterpreted to mandate preferentialrntreatment in education, corporaternemployment, and civil service not onlyrnfor blacks but also for women (who arernmentioned specificalK’ as a protected category).rnThe same fype of preference wasrnsteadily extended to other official victims,rnwhile the media condemned oppositionrnto this practice as the “politics of bigotry.”rnBut why was there no public outcryrnagainst this violation of the rights of nonminorities?rnAnd why, almost 30 years later,rndoes the reaction remain so remarkablyrnweak, even after decades of enforcedrndiscrimination against whites and males?rnAlthough Frum’s work does not answerrnthese questions fully, it does shed light onrna decade that got us where we are. It alsornfurnishes a compelling brief against thernhappy talk gratuitously inserted by its authorrnin his conclusion.rnPaul Gottfried is a professor ofrnhumanities at Elizabethtown Collegernin Pennsylvania, and the author ofrn.’fter Liberalism: Mass Democracy inrnthe Managerial State (Princeton).rnOCTOBER 2000/33rnrnrn