tin Luther King, Jr. was a great mannand that anybody to the right of himselfn(for instance Pat Buchanan) is un-Americannand probably a dangerous demagoguento boot. Although he perceivesninitially that, “a culture war … is anwar to the death,” he is too much thenofficial spokesman and intellectual trimmernto resist contradicting himself bynforeseeing a happy conclusion to it: “Valuesnthat were once in exile,” he booms,n”are being welcomed home. The Americarinpeople are renewing their commitmentnto our common principles.nAnd so the task of cultural reconstructionnhas begun.” Thanks be to Godnthat William Bennett—and not M.E.nBradford—won confirmation as chairmannof the NEH! The job was divinelyncreated for him, and for those like him.nBennett’s pragmatic optimism (whichnis that of the professional vote-getter)noverlaps partly the ideological optimismn(which is that of the professional liberal)nof Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. on thensubject of those vertical divisions innAmerican society that used to be welcomednas “pluralism” but are increasinglynviewed askance as “multiculturalism.”n”There are those today still,” Bennettnobserves darkly, “who claim we are nowntoo diverse a nation, that we consistnof too many competing convictions andninterests to instill common values. Theynare wrong.” Professor Schlesinger, thoughnof course he expects that all will eventuallynbe for the best in the United Statesnof America as it has been since the Northnwon the Civil War, does not sound quitenso confident.nArthur Schlesinger’s great concernn28/CHRONICLESnLIBERALARTSnANDREA DWORKIN’S DREAMnis for what he calls, after Gunnar Myrdal,n”the American Creed,” defined by thenSwedish writer as “the most explicitlynexpressed system of general ideals” of anynWestern country. Schlesinger endorsesnCrevecoeur’s vision during the AmericannRevolution of “a new race of men”ngathered from all the nations to act uponna newly created principle—a principle henbelieves is threatened by the “cult of ethnicity,”nwhich denies that this new racenis either possible or desirable, assailsnthe idea of “a common American identity,”nand emphasizes the rights of groupsnabove the rights of individuals in a waynthat is not congment with the expressednmeaning of the Constitution.nThe weakness of Schlesinger’s argumentnlies in his romantic understandingnof American history, which he views asnthe progressive vindication of a latitudinariannconception of the mottonE pluribus unum. For ProfessornSchlesinger, the story of America (oncenthe paradox of slavery was resolved) is anglorious pageant of ethnic and culturalnassimilation accompanied by an expandingntolerance, in course of which the idealnof a new race has been substantiallynrealized. Unfortunately, this story incorporatesnas much myth as it does reality,nas James Lincoln Collier has shown in hisnrecent book. The Rise of Selfishness innAmerica, where he describes the sociallyndestructive impact of non-Anglo-Saxonnand non-Nordic immigration to thenUnited States. Schlesinger’s is the classicnliberal fallacy: the notion that politicalnprinciples define, create, and shapena society, and not the reverse. E pluribusnunum was an idea pregnant with dan-n”But in what way has this [ant] society evolved beyond thatnof humans? It is far ahead in women’s liberation. Male antsnare totally unimportant. When their biological usefulnessnis over, they are discarded and not permitted to retum to thennest. The entire ant social world is female, including the soldiers,nthe workers, the farmers, and, of course, the queen. Malenants have wings, and they are expected to use them—to getnout.”n—from Getting the Facts, a sixth-grade textbooknnnger from the beginning, but that dangernrequired a century to make itself apparent;nlong before the advent of multiculturalism,nit had outstripped the pluralistnideal. The profound truth is thatnthe matrix of American individualismnhas historically been Christianity, notnEnlightenment philosophy; that it wasnChristianity, not democratism, thatninspired American idealism and floggednthe American conscience to surpassnitself. Although Schlesinger observesnthat, “The crimes of the West have producedntheir own antidote,” he fails tonidentify the Christian religion as thatnantidote. In fact, in the course of 138npages of text defending the Westernnintellectual heritage, he does not mentionnChristianity at all. (“The Americannmind,” he has written elsewhere, “is bynnature and tradition skeptical, irreverent,npluralistic and relativistic”)nIf the United States really is rapidlynbecoming a house divided against itself—angigantic college dormitory carefullynand precisely segregated accordingnto race and creed—is it possible tonhave any hope at all? For ProfessornSchlesinger there remains the ideal of thennew race—“still the best hope.” For Dr.nBennett, there is the prospect of a wellpaidnnew bully-pulpit—the SurgeonnGeneralship, say, which Dr. Koopnexploited so effectively as CondomnCzar—if President Bush is reelectednnext fall. For Professor Hunter, there isnthe probability that the culture war willnnot—at least in the foreseeable future—nescalate into a fighting war, in which thenmighty pen is abandoned for the trustynsword.nAlthough Hunter claims to find thenorthodox and the progressive camps fairlynevenly matched, he also seems tonbelieve that time and history favor thenprogressive cause. Citing the work ofnGramsci, he observes that the orthodoxnposition is peculiarly vulnerable to cooptation—anprocess that is already wellnadvanced in this country, and of whichnDr. Bennett himself is the personification.nTo this should be added the argumentn(Hunter himself does not make it)nthat while traditional society is less andnless adapted to the stmcture and purposenof the modern state, progressive societynis perfectly designed for it. Thus, innorder for the progressive armies of thencultural wars to triumph, they may havenonly to sit back and let the state pave thenway for them.n