man’s bullets would not hatm them.nThis belief lay behind such well-knownnIndian experiences as William HenrynHarrison’s victory at Tippecanoe Creeknand the famous Wounded Knee Massaaenof 1890.nWhether to accept new and challengingnintellectual conditions under thenpressure of changing events that one’snideas cannot accommodate, or to dancenthe Ghost Dance, is a choice many culturesnhave had to face. Today that choicenfaces socialism and its kinky offshoot,nAmerican liberalism.nBennettM. Berger, a sociology professornin southern California, has written anbook defending sociology (the means)nand a rural commune (the end). He hasnspent his academic career using such conceptsnas “cultural lag” to show that thenbeliefs of the ordinary American arenselfish, incoherent, counterproductive;nthat they do not respond to the realnworld. “Ideological work” is the thinkingnand acting that people must do tonlive in a world that does not reward orneven correspond to their system ofnbeliefs. Either you do ideological work ornyou compromise. Everybody does bothnto some extent.nUntil a few years ago, the worldnseemed to be moving in one (good) directionntoward one far-off secular event.nNow that movement has been stymied.nAmong the flotsam and jetsam left bynthe retreating tide are scores of communesnfounded in the 60’s and earlyn70’s. In pursuit of grant money, Bergernagreed to study them. He has chosenn”The Ranch,” a “secular,” “open” orn”anarchist” commune, to show that thendream still lives, that ideological worknhere makes sense and, beyond that, thatnsociology (up to this point in Berger’snhands a perpetual solvent of beliefs andninstitutions) is capable of understandingnand making sense of a culture, ofndefending it, when that culture is sanenand healthy.nDoth book and commune seem to benfailures. In the area of sexual openness,nthe Ranch never progressed beyond ann36inChronicles of Culturenexchange of partners. Feminism hit itnlike a tidal wave and, though the schoolnrun by the commune continues to makenit fmancially viable, by 1979 the remainingncommunards consisted of six bisexualnwomen and three hapless men with nowherenelse to go. Berger seeks signs of sexualnactivity and drug use among thenchildren but, alas, he comes up emptyhanded.n”The Ranch seems to havenbecome increasingly traditional aboutndrug use by children, acknowledgingnthat it occurs routinely in nearby communes,nbut denying that it occurs amongntheir own children.” He consoles himselfnthat the Ranch has somewhat less “agengrading”—keeping children in theirnplaces and out of decision-making—thannin other American families. This is notnthe only indication that Professor Bergernis unfamiliar with suburban America.nThe Ranch has lasted twelve years, andecade longer than most communes thatnlack “formal religious organization” or ancharismatic leader. Its population hasnshrunk and it seems to be dying, thoughnBerger denies this. Even his refusal to seenreligious roots is dubious. On his lastntrip, a visiting rabbi was conducting basnmitzvah’s for two children. Earlier Bonnie,na recent Christian convert, had leftnher husband, Abe, and taken theirndaughter. Swallow, to a local Christianncommune. The Ranch tried to rescue thenchild. It seems tendentious of Berger tondeny the Ranch clear, if not “formal,”nreligious identification. And if thenparents want their children bas mitzvahednand kept from drugs and sex, where isnthe hippie, flower-child openness thatnBerger wants to praise?nThe commune experience, usuallynheaded by charismatic leaders or con­nnnnected with established religious ideas,nbegan as a reaction against Future Shock,nmuch as the Indian Ghost Dance movementndid. Most communards have returnednto the surrounding world. Thenfew communes that have not repudiatednthe extreme forms of untraditionalism,nof hope in drugs and sex and promiscuity,nhave maintained them only with thenauthority of a charismatic leader. ThenRanch has survived by edging back towardntraditional norms. Even the embracenof feminism is largely a repudiationnof selfish liberal or libertarian male behavior.nProfessor Berger, tenured andnwell paid at a California university, dispensesnhis grant money and calls uponnothers to try the life of dmgs and amorphousnsex, of freedom from roles andnage-grading. All too many can say, withnHuck Finn, “I bin there.” Berger urgesnthem to begin the Ghost Dance, to ignorenreality. But the birth of children hasncorrupted the Ranch’s dream of innocentnpromiscuity and drug-induced nirvanas.nIt is one thing to risk your own life ornsanity for the Great Spirit; the prospectnof offering up one’s child has proved tonbe a sobering one.nBerger is obsessed with proving thenworth of sociology to an uncomprehendingnworld of conservatives and patriots.nWhen Abe, “poet, bard, reciter ofnUpanishads,” defends sociology to theninhabitants of the Ranch, who instinctivelyndistrust both it and Berger, hen”pointed out to my prosecutors,” asnBerger writes, “that two generations ofnsocial-science ethnography (he citednBenedict, Mead, and the Lynds bynname), by bringing home the message ofncultural relativism to the Americannpublic, had gone far to create the atmospherenof tolerance for ‘deviants,’ permittingnthem to live, relatively unharassed,nin the style that they had chosen. Andnrather than regard social science as theirnenemy, they had every reason to bengrateful to it for furthering progress andnenlightenment and toleration for unusualnlife styles. … I had never heard anmore persuasive defense of ournbusiness,” comments Berger.n