Rifkin’s fancy for the Charismatics:n”For the New Left and its cogeners,”nHook writes, ” ‘science’ and ‘reason’ arensuspect tools of the Establishment usednto fashion rationalizations in behalf ofnthe status quo.” There is indeed anmethod to Jeremy Rifkin’s madness.nlo dismiss Rif kin as nothing morenthan a cynical exploiter of Charismaticnantirationalism will not suffice, though.nRif kin states flatly: “America is a Christiannnation”; Christianity alone offersnthe sense of transcendence Rifkin needsnfor his New Order. Drawing upon suchnwriters as Francis Schaeffer, Rifkinnargues that the New Evangelicals haveninitiated a revolution in Christian theology,none that will replace the Protestantnwork ethic’s exploitative attitude towardnthe natural world with a “conservationnethic.” Rifkin may impress some readersnwith his flashing insight, but, in reality,nhe exposes the shallowness of hisngrounding in 20th-century Christiannthought. A more profound treatment ofnthe same ideas that Rifkin hails as revolutionarynappears in G. K. Chesterton’snOrthodoxy (1908), and more recently innFor the Life of the World (1973), AlexandernSchmemann’s rendering of thensacramental theology of Eastern Orthodoxy.nChesterton and Schmemann proposena “conservation ethic” of sortsnwithout the glib superficiality of suchnNew Evangelicals as Schaeffer. But tonRifkin’s credit, he correctly sees thatnAmerica desperately needs a spiritual revivalnthat will combat materialism andnprovide the transcendence our nationnhas so sorely missed in recent times.nSidney Hook bridles at such talk. As anself-proclaimed “militant secularist,” hendismisses religion as nothing more thann”consolation to the individual for thenirremediable evils and tragedies of existence,”nand he fears that pining afterntranscendence will lead to “ecclesiasticalnfascism.” Hook has his own religion,nthough—democracy; “instead of a revivalnof religious faith in general, wenshould work specifically toward a revival,nor a new birth, of faith in de­nmocracy.” That has a familiar ring.nSince the early days of the RepublicnAmericans have been exhorted by thencheerleaders of democracy to make anreligion of their social and politicalnsystem. Who needs God when you cannclaim equality with your fellows, forcenyour governors to grovel for your vote,nand march triumphantly to the polls tonparticipate in the rituals of the greatnsecular religion?nDisturbing as Sidney Hook’s worshipnof democracy and denigration ofnChristianity may be, one would be sadlynmistaken to turn to Jeremy Rifkin fornwisdom. Rifkin evinces no deep personalncommitment to Christianity; likenCharles Maurras in the France of then1920’s, he welcomes Christians to hisncause and seeks to use the Faith to flaynhis enemies. For that reason, Rifkin’snThe Emerging Order promises to be antroublesome and potentially dangerousnbook. Many Charismatics and NewnEvangelicals will rejoice at the recognitionnaccorded them by Rifkin. Theynhave been accustomed to suffering fromnthe barbs of the intellectually sophisticated,nwhile liberal religionists—thenHarvey Coxes and William Sloane Coffinsnof the world—have pranced aboutnin the flattering spotlights of the media.nCan the Charismatics and New Evangelicalsnbe blamed if they bask in theirnnew-found acclaim?nSad to say, some God-fearing folksnwill probably be taken in by Rifkin’sncleverness. Rifkin desperately wants tonhasten in “The Emerging Order,” andnif he can ride to glory on the backs ofnthe practitioners of glossolalia he willndo so. But well-meaning men andnwomen of the Charismatic and NewnEvangelical persuasions had best takennna cold, hard look at Rifkin’s New Order.nWith a forced redistribution of wealth,nwith no private property other thann”consumer goods and services,” andnwith a careful regimentation of our livesnlest we upset the ecological balance,nwe will dwell in something considerablynshort of Utopian bliss. The Charismaticsnwill furnish an emotional opiate to helpnus forget our troubles, and a new breednof Protestant theologians will writenlearned treatises on “Our Friends thenTrees.” Jeremy Rifkin will scurry aboutnsniffing out the reactionary ruimingndogs of reason, science, technology andnthe Protestant work ethic.nIn the battle for America in whichnconservatives have unsheathed thensword, Jeremy Rifkin stands on thenother side of the barricades. But SidneynHook should not be consigned therensimply because he espouses socialism,nfor our present plight transcends anynneat dichotomy between competing economicnsystems. Hook cares deeply aboutnfreedom—after all, he has been battlingnStalinists and assorted totalitariansnlonger than many of today’s conservativesnhave been alive. He favors a stronglynanticommunist foreign policy, and onnthe domestic front he recognizes thenneed for “considerable private enterprise”nto accompany his socialisticnmeasures. For conservatives who doubtnwhich side Hook is on, consider this:nhe denounces the new left, deplores thenlaw’s protection of smut-peddling pornographers,nopposes “reverse discrimination,”nand assails the “ritualisticnliberals” (“those who think they can benliberal without being intelligent”) forntheir sentimental blather about thenrights of criminals. For those still unconvinced,nI submit this clincher: “LilliannHellman,” Hook writes, “is an eagernbut unaccomplished liar.”n(conservatives rightly cast a skepticalneye upon anyone who calls for cooperationnwith the left. Throughout the 20thncentury American leftists have spearheadednthe attack on religion and thenfamily and have poured their energiesnJttly/Aiigustl980n