In spite of his ridicule of leftist obscurantism,nEllul leaves little doubtnabout his own allegiance to revolutionarynradicalism. He asserts that “liberal,nbourgeois capitalist democracy”nnever honored its commitment to “thenindividual, reason, and freedom”; “thenvalues [that bourgeois democracy] proclaimednwere abstractions; they werenalgebraic signs and hypocritical justificationsnof a reality that was utterlyndifferent.” At the same time, “thenLeft, and only the Left, made its ownnall the values proper to the West,nwhile also breaking new paths.” Accordingnto Ellul, “The Left proclaimednthe rights of the poor,” and by emphasizingnsocial justice “was now endeavoringnto bring to fruition the institutionsnof Greece and the promisesnof Christianity.” The traditional Leftnalso brought forth two beatific visions:nthe one anarchist and the other socialist.nThe first stressed “the individualnand freedom with complete and radicalnseriousness”; while the second, althoughn”more prudent in its approach,”nalso learned from Marx “thatnthe end in view was always the individualnand his freedom.”nAt first it occurred to me that Ellulnmight be whitewashing the pre-WorldnWar II Left to disarm the hostility ofnhis readers. Like those Harvard professorsnwho supported McGovern tongo on “being heard” as critics of thenLeft, it seemed possible that he, too,nwas assuming protective coloration.nNonetheless, on second thought, thisninterpretation cannot be sustained. Hisndefense of the West is often that ofna sentimental and confused Marxist.nMarx is seen as the very personificationnof Western compassion, rationality,nand coherence. The greatnrevolutionary is identified with a quintessentiallynWestern rejection of annunjust and irrational society: in short,nof bourgeois life.nThe problem with Ellul’s repeatednequation of Marx and the West isneither one of redundancy or vulgarn13nChronicles of Culturenoversimplification. If Ellul is proposingnthat Marx, the anarchists, and evennthe fascists, drew upon some Westernnideas, while rejecting others, the statementnis simply self-evident. And yet,nhis text would suggest something else:nthat the purest expressions of thenWestern tradition in thinking andnethics are to be found in Marx andnin his revolutionary teachings. Whynnot make the same claims for ThomasnAquinas, Edmund Burke, or ArthurnSchopenhauer.’ The reason is to bensought in circular thinking. Once havingnreduced the uniqueness of thenWest to its rationalism and revolutionarynimpulse, it is then possible tonpraise Marx as the highest representativenof a civilization already seen asnhis mirror reflection. The aura of thensaintly Marx is then allowed to investnthat Left which Ellul associates withnhis youth. In 1930, we are told, “ThenLeft alone, with its great and generousnvision . . . truly embodied the Westnthat had been forged in the fires of thenlast two thousand years.” In fact, inn1930 most of the leaders of the FrenchnLeft were apologizing for Stalin withnthe same dishonesty that their descendantsnnow show in defending CastronBooks in the Mailnand Mao. In 1930 the anarchist Leftnwas committed to violence, and thencommunist Left to following Moscow’snorders.nHaving defended his own versionnof the Western heritage, Ellul endsnby urging his generation to re-embracenthe West as an unfinished revolutionaryntask. Modern man is now dominatednby machines and “mechanisms.”nDeluded by antirevolutionary politics,nhe has become captive to a “technicalnsociety” which is stifling his individualitynand the spirit of rebellion. Then”war against technique,” not the battlenagainst capitalism alone, is to be thentrue Western revolution which marxiannsocialism had only anticipated. Despitenthe Christian wrapping, the kindnof sentimental apocalypse beingnpreached bears resemblance to the utopianismnfound in Jerry Rubin and innother Luddites of the New Left. Whatnexactly Ellul’s vision has in common,nif anything, with Marx and Jesus (twonof his heroes) remains unclear. Andnyet, this Christian anarchist, who admiresnMarx and marxism, may thinknhimself, like Walt Whitman, greatnenough to embrace his own contradictions.nQnThe Death of Christian Culture, by John Senior; Arlington House; New Rochelle,nNew York. Liberalism, secularism, and nihilism as opposed to Christian culture.nExclusionary Injustice: The Problem of Illegally Obtained Evidence, by Steven R.nSchlesinger; Marcel Dekker, Inc.; New York. On the exclusionary rule in AmericannSupreme Court jurisprudence.nJohn Randolph of Roanoke: A Study in American Politics, by Russell Kirk;nLiberty Press; Indianapolis. A third edition and third publisher of Russell Kirk’snmassive work.nThe New American Political System, edited by Anthony King; The American EnterprisenInstitute for Public Policy Research; Washington, D.C. On changes in thenAmerican political system from I960 to the present.nPlanning, Politics and the Public Interest, edited by Walter Goldstein; ColumbianUniversity Press; New York. A symposium sponsored by Columbia University Seminarnon Technology and Social Change and AT&T on the issue of economic planning.nWhat’s Wrong with Public Education — From A to Z — : A Reference Book fornTaxpayers, by Carl Walter Salser, Jr.; Halcyon House; Portland, Oregon. About thenimplications of removing the public control of our schools and transferring it to thengovernmental sector.nThe Welfare Debate of 1978, by Gordon L. Weil; The Institute for SocioeconomicnStudies; White Plains, New York. A detailed examination of public assistance programs.nThe Women’s Movement: Achievements and Effects, Congressional Quarterly, Inc.;nWashington, D.C. A reference work on the social, economic and legal impact of then”women’s movement.”nnn