that truth is relative,” Bloom wrote in ThernClosing of the American Mind, and relativismrnwas to him the certain sign of thernuncertain future of civilization.rnRegardless of what Bloom’s studentsrnbelieved or said they believed, virtuallyrnno one other than professional philosophersrntruly espouses relativism, any morernthan anyone really acknowledges that hernis “decadent.” Students may profess relativismrnwhen they wish to question thernmorality of a punishment they don’t wantrnto suffer or of a war they don’t want tornfight or of any duty they don’t want to perform,rnbut they never invoke relativismrnwhen their own interests and preferencesrnare at issue. Nor is the ruling class of thernmanagerial regime relativist, for all itsrnchatter about the obsolescence of sexualrnmorality, the equality of races and cultures,rnand the impossibility of knowingrnthe truth about God, the universe, andrngood and evil. Neither the managerialrnelite nor their offspring who idled awayrntheir youths listening to Professor Bloomrnare relativists when it comes to punishingrnJohn Demjanjuk, General Pinochet, orrnTimothy McVeigh. When inner-cityrnblacks riot, the pet journalists and commentatorsrnof the managerial class whinernand whimper for weeks afterward aboutrnthe need to explore the “roots of thernrage,” but when suburban whites resistrnforced integration and busing, or a whiternseparatist in Idaho refuses to answer arncourt summons, it’s time to call in therntroops and shoot to kill. College studentsrnmay embrace relativism when they wantrnto shack up with their girlfriends, butrnthey are not relativists about “haterncrimes,” “racism,” “sexism,” “homophobia,”rnor any of the other high crimes andrnmisdemeanors that managerial moralsrncondemn and which the managerialrnclass does not hesitate to denounce, punish,rnand try to extirpate. It is simply notrntrue that the current ruling class recognizesrnno morality and standards, andrnw hen in Rockford,rnEat atrnLee’s Chinese Restaurantrn3443 N. Main Streetrnsince it does recognize and tr’ seriouslyrnto enforce the morals, standards, andrnrules that reflect its interests as an elite, itrncannot be said to be decadent or to presidernover a decadent societ)’.rnWhat has been happening in the advancedrnindustrial countries of the Westrnfor the past half-century is not merely therndecline of civilization but the decline ofrnone civilization and the emergence ofrnanother, as the ruling class that serves asrnthe core of one civilization wanes and thernclass that forms the core of the other civilizationrnwaxes. The old “bourgeois” eliternis in decline, not only in its influence andrnwealth in local and regional power basesrnand in owner-operated entrepreneurialrnfirms, but in the values, moral codes, politicalrnformulas, and ideologies that reflectrnits worldview, its identity, and its sociopoliticalrninterests. It is preciselyrnbecause the old elite is in decline and beingrnreplaced by a new elite that the oldrncivilization that formed the bulwark ofrnthe old elite is also disappearing, that itsrnvalues are discarded as obsolete and repressivernand its institutions, symbols, andrnheroes are eradicated or redefined as evilrnand tyrannical. So did Christianit}’ redefinernthe pagan gods as demons, whilernconverting pagan temples and festivals tornChristian churches and holy days.rnNevertheless, it is preposterous to comparernthe pathetic artifices of “managerialrncivilization” with the edifice of medievalrnChristendom or even with the vast civilizationalrnleviathan of postmedievalrnmodernity. Unlike both Christendomrnand modernism, managerialism has a seriousrnproblem: It has been unable to formulaterna myth or a coherent worldviewrnthat represents the interests of its creatorsrnand rulers in the managerial class aird alsornappeals to and mobilizes the loyaltiesrnand actions of its subject classes. Since itrnis militantly secularist, it cannot makernmuch use of Christianity or any other traditionalrnreligion that acknowledges thernrealit)’of transcendence. Managerial religionrnis simply humanitarianism flavoredrnwith a bit of syrup siphoned offrnfrom Marxism and Third World ethnicity.rnIndeed, managerial society cannotrnmake much use of myth at all. It is fliernnature of mytii to be fundamentally irrational,rnand the rationalism of managerialrnsociety persists in refuting and explodingrnevery m)’th that the managerial mythographersrncan manufacture. How manyrnmore managerial gods must fail beforernthe whole pantheon and the empire itrnsupports collapse?rnIt may be that managerial societ)’ willrneventually articiflate an effective rationalizationrnof the social and political dominationrnof technocracy. But so far, all tiratrnthe managerial class has been able torncome up with is the claim that what it hasrnto offer is materially and economicallyrnsuperior to any alternative. In the managerialrncapitalism of John Kenneth Galbraith’srn”New Industrial State,” you canrnmake more money, buy more stuff, curernmore diseases, have more facelifts, playrnwith more toys, get more vacation time,rnand enjoy more orgasms than in medievalrnChristendom or the dour, frugal,rnand hardworking modernity that replacedrnit. The justification, at least so far,rnof the managerial regimes that prevail inrnthe West is nothing more sophisticatedrnthan the kitchen debate between RichardrnNixon and Nikita Khrushchev at thernWorld’s Fair in 1960: We’re better thanrnyou because we have dishwashers andrnyou don’t. The communist branch ofrnmanagerial society offered exactly thernsame answer, except that it was unable tornproduce the dishwashers.rnOf course, a civilization that can fliinkrnof no better justification for itself than dishwashersrnand higher living standards canrnhardly be called a civilization at all.rnHowever useful its appeal to materialismrnmay be in prosperous and successfulrntimes, it won’t be able to use that appealrnto justify’ the sacrifices and risks that realrncivilizations demand, sooner or later, inrnthe course of their histories. How can itrnjustif)’ the wars it will have to fight, thernlives it will have to lose, the failures andrndefeats that it, like all human enterprises,rnwill inevitably have to experience? How,rnfor that matter, can it even justify the disciplinesrnthat it has to impose on children,rncriminals, and internal enemies?rnWhat appears to be the decadence ofrnAmerica or of Western civilization is inrnfact the result of a combination of two differentrnphenomena, the real decadence ofrnone elite that no longer understands orrneven believes in the civilization its forebearsrncreated and ruled and which it isrnnow unwilling and unable to defend andrntransmit, and the moral and culturalrnemptiness of what purports to be the civilizationrndestined to replace the one in decline.rnThe first is dying and cannot bernsalvaged; the second is up for grabs, andrnwhoever is able to press his hand on thernwax of its animating myths will determinernand define its content for as manyrnmillennia as the new civilization endures.rn<-•rn34/CHRONICLESrnrnrn