hustlers promoting something of the same vision of the goodnlife, one that mocks decent people with the promise ofnsudden wealth and glamour.nNone of this gets into Ehrenreich’s account of thencultural class war. Indeed she denies the existence ofnsuch a conflict, preferring to interpret the debate aboutn”values” as a debate confined to the new class. To admit thatnworking people are concerned about such issues and arentherefore attracted to right-wing explanations (even if thosenexplanations prove unsatisfactory in the end) would shatternher image of militant workers steadfast in their devotion tonsocial democracy. She therefore tries to exonerate thenworking class of any responsibility for the “backlash” againstnliberalism. This backlash, according to Ehrenreich, is anfantasy conjured up by neoconservative intellectuals. Theirntalk of cultural breakdown and moral anarchy finds annaudience not among workers but among upper-middle-classnprofessionals, because it plays insidiously on their “fear ofnfalling” into self-indulgence. In the 60’s, neoconservativesnled the media campaign against the flower children andnstudent radicals by depicting them as traitors to their class,nwhich is built on discipline and self-denial. They furthernunnerved the new class by “discovering” working-classnopposition to liberalism — another fantasy, according tonEhrenreich, but one that shook liberals’ confidence in theirnability to speak for Americans as a whole and thus had andeeply demoralizing effect. A “wave of contrition” sweptnthrough the new class. The “forgotten” workers came tonstand “for what the [professional] class itself had lost, ornalways seemed to be on the verge of losing: the capacity fornself-denial and deferred gratification.”nThe stereotype of the hard hat blinded the media to thentrue nature of working-class revolt, according to Ehrenreich.n”For all the talk of racial backlash, black and white workersnwere marching, picketing, and organizing together in a spiritnof class solidarity that had not been seen since the thirties.”nThey were “wearing their hair shoulder length, smokingnpot, and beginning to question the totalitarian regimen ofnfactory life.” Indeed “there was even the possibility, in thenlate sixties, of an explosive convergence of working-classninsurgency and the student movement.” The inspirationalnrhetoric packed into these sentences — “black and whitentogether,” “class solidarity,” “the thirties,” “working-classninsurgency,” “explosive convergence” — indicates thatnEhrenreich has left the land of the living for a visit to thenMarxist mortuary, where old revolutionary slogans lienbeautifully embalmed. She counters one stereotype of thenworker with another, the image of Archie Bunker with thenimage of revolutionary solidarity enshrined in the annals ofnthe left. The second image bears no closer relation to realitynthan the first.nEhrenreich’s account of “yuppie guilt” is just as fancifulnas her account of working-class “insurgency.” The rathernobscure title of her book. Fear of Falling: The Inner Life ofnthe Middle Class, refers not to the fear of falling down thensocial ladder, but to the fear of falling away from thenupper-middle-class ethic of self-denial. The professionalnclass feels guilty about its increasing affluence, according tonEhrenreich. It has an irrational horror of “softness,” which itntries to “expiate” by means of exercise and overwork. Thisn24/CHRONICLESnnnresidual puritanism makes the new class curiously receptivento ideological denunciations of itself “The right’s attack onnthe new class . . . rang true because it touched on thenperennial fear within the professional middle class ofngrowing soft, of failing to strive, of falling into the snares ofnaffluence.”nThe left’s reply to the neoconservative version of newnclass theory turns out to be its mirror image. Fornneoconservatives, the new class is the source of the attack onn”traditional values.” For Ehrenreich, its misguided fear ofnself-indulgence has made it, for the moment, the mainnbastion of those values. Once it overcomes its irrational neednfor “expiation,” however, the new class can be expected tonside with the “insurgent” workers in their quest for socialnjustice. The struggle for the “soul” of the new class is still innits early stages, according to Ehrenreich. The new class hasnnot yet decided what it wants to be, “generous or selfish,noverindulged or aggrieved.” If it makes the proper choices, itnwill become the hope of the future. Ehrenreich concludes,nwith the breathtaking arrogance so often found amongnprofessionals, that it has the makings of a universal class andnthat its “program,” accordingly, should seek “to expand thenclass, welcoming everyone, until there remains no othernclass.”nNeither left- nor right-wing intellectuals, strangely unitednin their determination to rescue the new class from itself,nseem to have much interest in the rest of American society.nTheir view of the United States begins and ends with thenknowledge industry. Other classes enter the picture only asnimages and stereotypes projected on the consciousness ofnthe new class. It does not occur to these intellectuals that thenrest of the country may have only a limited interest in then”soul” of the new class. Nor does it occur to them thatnuniversal access to professional status may not describe thenambitions of most Americans, much less an ideal of the goodnsociety. Ehrenreich herself acknowledges the limits of hernperspective at one point. “Left and right, we are still lockednin a [professional] culture that is almost wholly insular,nself-referential, and, in its own way, parochial.” Her booknshows, however, just how difficult it is for intellectuals tonbreak out of this comfortable confinement.nThe truth about the new class, if we try to see it from thenoutside, is that its members, in spite of the diversity ofntheir occupations and their political beliefs, share a commonnoutlook, best described as a “culture of critical discourse,” innthe words of Alvin Gouldner. They share an inordinatenrespect for educational credentials, a refusal to acceptnanything on faith, a commitment to free inquiry, a tendencynto question authority, a belief in tolerance as the supremenpolitical virtue. At their best, these qualities describe thenscientific habit of mind — the willingness to submit everynidea, no matter how distasteful or attractive, to criticalnscrutiny and to suspend judgment until all the relevantnevidence can be assessed. “Nothing is sacred to them,”nGouldner wrote; “nothing is exempt from re-examination.”nGouldner’s last work. The Future of Intellectuals and thenRise of the New Class (1979), remains one of the bestnexplorations of the subject. The concept of critical discourse,nunlike “hedonism,” “nihilism,” “permissiveness,”nor just plain “liberalism,” is broad enough to apply to then