American presidents from Jefferson through Lincoln andrnWilson to FDR thought that the racial preconditions of Americanrncihzenship were not mere personal idiosyncrasies or signsrnof generational bias. Tliey believed that a democratic societyrncould not function without an (at least residually) homogeneousrnpopulation. Such a concern, however embarrassing tornneoconservahves and other liberals, is quintessentially democratic.rnIn a regime dependent on an active popular will, as of)-rnposed to our current system of electronic manipulation, a deeprnsense of community is vital.rnSignificantly, the appeal to equality made by Ward Connerlyrnand other supporters of Proposition 209 suggests the samernmisunderstanding about democracy encountered among neoconservahves.rnConnerly crisscrossed the country with the usualrnegalitarian platitudes: Allowing commercial and educationalrnenterprises to engage in discrimination, for the purpose of rectifyingrnpast injustices against blacks, Hispanics, and women,rngoes against the “vision of equalify” preached by Lincoln andrnMartin Luther King. It also contradicts the 1964 Civil RightsrnAct, which tried to implement that vision by creating a “colorblind”rnsociety. Not surprisingly. Proposition 209 drew on thernlanguage of that act.rnBut the Civil Rights Act promoted neither conservatism norrndemocratic government. It empowered a federal commission,rnoverlapping the congressional and executive branches, whichrnmonitors all sorts of social and commercial relations. Whilernsupposedly designed to fight discrimination, that oversightrncommission, in alliance with the courts, has been inflicting minorityrnquotas and mandating minority set-asides since thern1960’s. Whether or not this was supposed to happen, the fact isrnthat it did, and for an obvious reason: Vast discretionary powerrnwas conferred on the central state to alter social behavior. Howrncould anyone have expected a different outcome?rnIn taking sides on a false issue such as Proposition 209,rnpotential critics of the managerial state are distracted from thernreal question that is important for a democracy. Is the incursionrnby federal engineers into communal relations across thernUnited States compatible with self-government and with therncivic life necessary to generate and preserve it? Unfortunately,rnthis question was never addressed in the debates over Propositionrn209. Partisans on both sides agreed about the central rolernof the managerial state as the source and instrument of socialization.rnA ritualistic debate took place, appealing to the fictitiousrnvisions of Lincoln and Martin Luther King and to variantrnstrategies for democratically enforcing “true” equalify. For genuinerndemocrats and for those of the right, however, it is notrnworth fighting over whether public administrators create a color-rnblind, gender-neutral sociefy with or without explicit quotas.rnYielding such power in the first place is entirely unacceptable.rnThough I for one have no special preference for authenticallyrndemocratic regimes, they do feature distinctive strengths andrnways of life. But our “democratists,” as Claes Ryn calls them,rnhave no interest in fostering these characteristics, and they attackrnthose who would restore popular government as right-wingrnextremists. By now, it is clear that this talk about democraticrnequalify is not the profession of a philosophic creed, but thernself-justification of careerists attached to a post-democratic andrnpost-conservative American empire. The pampered defendersrnof a generous regime have little interest in philosophy and stillrnless in meeting the objections of anyone to their right. <&rnSculpture Gardenrnby Alan SullivanrnA blue jay on the Segal scoldsrnAs sunshine gilds the marigolds.rnThe yellow elms and gravel walks.rnOn a park bench, a couple talksrnOf Life and Art while pigeons wheelrnAnd children tLig the rusty stalksrnWhich rotate leaves of Calder’s steel.rnLike Circe changing men to swine.rnThis butcher of poetic linernReduces stone to posterboard.rnPity the mason who deploredrnCarving her testimonial.rnYet craving work, could ill-affordrnTo spurn a fee on principle.rnHow droll to find, discreetly hidrnAmid the topiary grid,rnA nook where graven slabs and wallsrnBlazon in Roman capitalsrnThe grievances of womankindrnCasting aside her veils and shawlsrnTo demonstrate her strength of mind.rnWe share his lack of sympathyrnFor jolted incivilityrnMisplaced on this October lawnrnWhere lovers loll and children yawn.rnReady after their play for napsrnAs autumn’s early dusk comes onrnAnd far away some stray bitch yaps.rn20/CHRONlCLESrnrnrn