evidence were needed, the degenerationnof the Philippines should be sufficientnargument against crusading democracy.nIn After Apartheid, libertarian authorsnKendall and Louw dispense withnthe “unitary state” presumption. Innplace of “one man, one vote” theynsuggest a system that would enablencitizens to express their political will atnseveral different levels: in short, “onenman, many votes.” On the economicnfront, the authors advocate deregulation,nremoval of prohibitive standardsnrequirements, and a general “devolution”nof decision-making to the privatensector. Finally, they insist that all apartheidnlaws must be repealed immediately.nAfter sketching the history of apartheid,nas well as outlining South Africa’sncurrent political and economic landscape,nKendall and Louw propose ancanton system of decentralized andndepoliticized administration, followingna Swiss model. Under this system, thenfederal government would be strictlynlimited and constitutionally defined,nleaving education, transportation, judiciary,nregulation, etc. at communenlevel—with the cantons. Each cantonnwould have its own legislative body.nTHE NATIVE AMERICANnIn the business of literature, which hasnsince the 30’s been dominated by morenrecent immigrants. Gore Vidal, old-linenWSP, has emerged as the champion ofna distinctly American civilization, ornwhat he thinks is left of it. The mantlenassumed by Emerson and Lowell andnWilliam Dean Howells has fallen onnVidal’s rather unlikely shoulders. In AtnHome: Essays 1982-1988 (RandomnHouse, 303 pp., $18.95), the tirelessnVidal has collected six years’ worth ofnpieces from The New York Review ofnBooks, the TLS, The Nation, and evennArchitectural Digest. Most of them donindeed have a longer shelf-life than, say.nThe Nation’s newsprint, and are wellnworth reading or re-reading. Here arenpieces on some of his standard heroesn(Tennessee Williams and, with all irony,nRichard Nixon; I should saynantiheroes), and standard villains (Mr.nand Mrs. Reagan: Laurence Learner’snbook Make Believe sets him off). He isnand perhaps even its own constitution.nThe residents of each canton wouldndetermine their own social and legalnarrangements; everything from communismnto pure free enterprise tonracial domination would be permittednwithin the cantons, but none would benfederally imposed. Freedom of movementnwould be guaranteed by thenconstitution and enforced by the federalngovernment, so that no one wouldnbe made to live under an offensivensystem.nThis is a remarkably fresh and hopefulnbook because it not only explodesnthe widespread mythology about SouthnAfrica (e.g., that apartheid is an aberrationnof capitalism), but also proposes ansolution that has a genuine chance ofnsuccess. One indication of the potentialnof the canton proposal may bengleaned from the book’s dust jacket,nwhich carries endorsements fromnSouth African leaders includingnWinnie Mandela, Zulu Chief Buthelezi,nand the late Alan Paton.nThe authors’ analysis, however, isnflawed in several respects. While admittingnthe reality of the Marxist threatnand of Communist influence in severalnof the black political parties, Kendallnand Louw tend to underestimate thenREVISIONSnstill mocking the millennialists in onenbreath while harping with another onnthe end of the world he fears he will see.nHe is still obsessed with America, bemoaningnthe crumbling empire it hasnbecome. He is still taken with Americannwriters, and among the best pieces innthe book are appreciations and somencriticism of Henry James, Howellsn(whom Vidal is quite right to complainnis ignored), and Frederic Prokosch.nVidal can still write, too, and very well.nVidal can afford the luxury of criticizingnhis own business with the authoritynof an insider. In a very funny passagenin his piece on Howells, he tries tonimagine the route a literarily-ambitiousnHowells would take today. “Today, ifnthe son of an Ohio newspaper editornwould like to be a novelist, he would notnquit school at fifteen to become anprinter, and then learn six languagesnand do his best to read all the greatnliterary figures of the present as well asnof the past. . . . Rather, he would graduatenfrom high school; go on to anuniversity and take a creative writingnnnrole of Communism in, for example,nthe ANC. Since the authors are proposingna solution for the internal strifenof South Africa, and not looking at thensituation in geopolitical terms, thisnoversight, though significant, is notnfatal.nAlso, except for a few passing references,nthe authors ignore the role ofnthe Christian Church in South Africannpolitics and society. In a nation asnChristian as South Africa, religiousninstitutions must play a central role innany effort to dismantie apartheid. Unlessnthere are profound changes innChristian attitudes on race issues (andnthese changes have been taking place),nany political or economic reform, nonmatter how sensible in itself, is just sonmuch tinkering with the machinery.nOn the other hand, if the churches cannprovide moral and theological mooringsnfor the canton proposal (as theynhave in the past for apartheid), and ifnthey can avoid the perilous extremes ofnintransigent traditionalism and revolutionarynliberationism, there may yet benhope for this troubled nation.nPeter J. Leithart is the editor ofnAmerican Vision. He lives innAtlanta.ncourse; get an M.A. for having submittedna novel (about the son of an Ohioneditor who grew up in a small town andnfound out about sex and wants to be anwriter and so goes to a university wherenhe submits etc.)”nVidal’s complaint about modernnAmerican literature is that “what tendsnto be left out of these works is the world.nWorld gone, no voluntary readers. Nonvoluntary readers, no literature—onlyncreative writing courses and Englishnstudies, activities marginal (to put itntactfully) to civilization.”nThere is, of course, threadingnthrough these essays, the usual hatred ofnChristianity (and Judaism, and Islam),nand the frequent defense, oblique andndirect, of inversion. There is also ancertain preoccupation with autobiographynand self-defense—but then he hasnled an interesting life, and kicks, generally,nthose who have kicked first. And tonhis credit his first concern, whether he isntactful about it or not, is always civilization,nespecially the odd civilization ofnthe American Republic. (KD)nMARCH 1989/37n