gion and interests in other dimensionsnbecause the American people at the timenshared an unquestioned adherence tonthe self-evident truths of the Declarationnof Independence. Mrs. Kirkpatrick’snability to write an essay on The Federalistnwithout reference to the Declaration isnmerely another indication of how thenpolitics of compromise and moderationnin contemporary America have becomendivorced from the common roots—thatnis, “abstract” truth—that might providena basis for compromise. Following manynwriters of the self-identified politicaln”center,” Mrs. Kirkpatrick uses the termsn”interest” and “faction” interchangeably.nFor Publius, the terms were carefullyndistinguished: “factions” were a subcategorynof interests because they operatedn”adverse[ly] to the rights of otherncitizens or to the permanent and aggregateninterests of the community.”nA society can tolerate an infinite varietynof legitimate interests. A society thatnwould preserve equality and liberty cannotnengage in compromises that seek tonbalance its fundamental values with theirnperversions.nIter’s apply this “abstract” truth to ancouple of contemporary examples. ThenDeclaration is a well-ordered document.nIt recognizes that life is a precondition tonthe exercise of liberty or the pursuit ofnhappiness. Unless the right to life is securednequally for all, it is endangered fornall. In Publius’s terms, the people whonorganized to safeguard the inalienablenright to life represent a legitimate interest.nThose who wish to promote deathnmust be regulated carefully to insure thatnthe direction of their concern is lawful—ne.g., the death of criminals convicted ofnheinous crimes—rather than factiouslyndirected toward the death of innocents.nIn contrast, Mrs. Kirkpatrick likes to playnbalancing games that enable one to reachnconclusions without affirming the principlesnthat setde them. In the case of affirmativenaction, for example, she treatsngovernment policy, admittedly flawed,nas an effort to balance competing claimsnof people to scarce resources. This tech­n38inChronicles of Culturennique enables her to construct a middlenground that avoids the extremes of excessivenemphasis on either liberty (whichnresults in discrimination) or equalityn(which results in rigid quota systems).nPublius might have resolved this clash bynexamining the principle of affirmativenaction and comparing it to the equalitynprinciple of the Declaration. The Declaration’snequality is an equality of creation.nAffirmative action’s principle is an ideanthat various “ends” in society—includingnjobs, training programs, schoolnadmissions, etc.—^should be maden”equal.” The establishment of any notionnof “equal” ends must stand thenequality principle of the Declaration onnits head. The inversion of that principle isnspurious in and of itself, and any conflictnwith liberty that results only provides additionalngrounds for rejecting it. Bynutilizing Publius’s terms, we can avoidnthe discussion of extremes of left or rightnthat we want to balance on some middlenground. In fact, the notion of extremismnis a straw man in such cases, and ourn”practical” political leaders are discoveringnrepeatedly that the middle groundnthey seek is made of quicksand. Americannpolitics today cannot be understoodnfully if, like Mrs. Kirkpatrick, we cling tonthe belief that a social consensus on fun­nSophistry at PrincetonnThe Nation has decided to explain thenSoviet-American entanglement to itsnreaders. For this purpose, it hired anPrinceton professor, one Stephen F.nCohen. The Nation’s passion for thenSoviet Union is reminiscent of that ofnChevalier des Grieux for Manon Lescaut,nand Professor Cohen approached his tasknin the same manner. He explained thatnSoviet leadership consists of two factions:nbad guys and very bad guys; thus it’s bestnfor America to give to the just-bad onesneverything they wish, so the very badnones will be kept at bay. In the meantime,nhe called the goings-on in Afghanistanna “border crisis.” Predictably, thendamental values remains beneath ournpolitics. Whether we examine issues ofnforeign policy, economic policy, orndomestic social policy, the polarizationnof contemporary American politics is thensurface reflection of the dissolution ofnour once-common ground. Mrs. Kirkpatrickndoes not mention abortionndirecdy, but she should have litde difficultynrecognizing that there is no middlenground between life and death.nAlthough Mrs. Kirkpatrick favorsnmoral education that will enable our institutionsnto survive, one will search hernwork in vain for a convincing rationale fornthis preference. She has rejected the notionnthat the practice of our institutionsnrests on very profound abstract truths.nThat one as brilliant as she could remainnimpervious to this lesson is a profoundlyndisturbing comment on our educationalnsystem. The essays effectively endorsenpolitical drift with no underlying sense ofndirection. This rationalization of driftndemonstrates the depth of the contemporarynchallenge to America’s experimentnwith a democracy committed tonboth equality and liberty. One cannot benexcessively optimistic about the nation’snchances when even its brightest politiciansnfail to comprehend the depth of thenchallenge. DnLIBERAL CULTURE~|nnnworst bad guy in the game, according tonProf. G)hcn, is President Reagan.nReapan’.s crusade: ‘to prtvail’ on thenpipclifif i’-suc abfts the pnliiical fortunesnof the tno-st xenophobic. miliiaristic.npogrom-minded forici in Sovietnpoliiirs.nWhat Mr. Qihen perpetrates for the sakenof The Njtirin’s consuming love turnsnAbbe Prevost’s portraits of amatory ardorsninif) a Sadean exercise. …1n