but Adams, however much he might re’crc the Virgin ofrnChartres as incarnation of the idea and as smbol of eternalrnbeauty, could not put credence in the idea of Providence.”rnIf Russell Kirk wrote with a Christian Agrarian bias, the samernis even more true of Walter Sullivan. Born in Nashville in 1924,rnSullivan has spent almost his entire adult life at Vanderbilt University.rnAfter receiving his B.A. from 4mderbilt and earning hisrnM.F.A. from Iowa State University, he returned to his almarnmater to teach in 1949. He was first a student and later a colleaguernof Donald Davidson. He knew most of the Fugiti’esrnand Agrarians personally and was a particularly good friend ofrnboth Allen Tate and Robert Penn Warren. Sullivan’s commitmentrnto the Agrarian vision is evident in his first two no’els andrnin the considerable amount of commentarv he has written onrnSouthern literature. What is most significant about his pointrnof view, however, are the grounds on which he criticizes Agrarianismrnand every other secular faith. As much as he values thernSouthern mvth and the great literature it produced, Sullianrnbelieves that this myth was bound to fail because, for all its appeal,rnit was finally a gnostic heresy. Protestant Christianitv wasrnan essential part of the culture of the Old South, but as a forcernshaping the lives of men it became inereasinglv subordinated tornthe secular authority of family, communitv, and tradition.rnFor the past three decades, Sullivan has persistently opposedrnthe secularization of culture, particularly litcrar’ culture, hi doingrnso, he has been willing to take on friend as well as foe. In arnPhi Beta Kappa lecture delivered at Vanderbilt in Novemberrn1989, he observed that his fellow Southern “New Critics”rn(many of them Agrarians) sometimes gave the impression ofrnvaluing art only for art’s sake. Such a valuation runs counter tornthe Augustinian notion that art, like all things, exists for the gloryrnof God. In medieval times, the sacred dimension of art wasrnobvious because most art was religious in nature. With the Renaissance,rnhowever, art entered the secular wodd and beaut}’rnbecame its own excuse for being. By the time of the Enlightenment,rnDcistic conceptions of God had made the diine sorntranscendent that an immediate sense of the sacred had largcKrnvanished from culture. If anything, the Romantic movementrnmade matters worse b’ creating “a God . . . not transcendent atrnall, but so absolutely immanent that he existed everywhere, arngod of and in all of nature.” As a consequence, even objects ofrnreligious art—crucifixes, holy statues, cathedrals—came to bernviewed primarily for their beauty, and the museum became thernnew church of our culture.rn”The process that I have sketched here developed over hundredsrnof years,” Sullivan contends, “but it seems to me that itrnreached a climax in my lifetime. By the middle of this century,rnNietzsche had proclaimed the death of God, Joyce had put thernartist on the throne from which God had been evicted, and thernnew critics had developed a system of judging literature thatrndid not accommodate moral or metaphvsical considerations.”rnIf the Nevy Critics were part of the problem, it is because theyrnhad been content to live on the spiritual capital of centuriesrnwithout realizing the seriousness of the threat posed to Westernrncivilization by the radical relativism of recent cultural theories.rn(The title of Sullivan’s talk is “Confessions of an Old New Critic”)rnIronically, the deconstructionists have now deposed thernartist from the throne where Joyce had placed him. If there isrnany hierarchy left at all, the critic as guru or m stificr reignsrnsupreme.rnSullivan’s refusal to build a wall of separation between his literaryrnand religious judgments is the characteristic that mostrndifferentiates him from the neoeonservative critics. That neoeonservativerncriticism should be so secular is certainly ironicrnwhen one considers that the single greatest literary hero of neoconscrvativesrn(and perhaps of paleoconscrvatives, as well) is thernuncompromisingly religious Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. An ardentrnRussian Orthodox Christian, Solzhenitsyn harbors a precapitalistrnview of society that would make I’ll Take My Standrnlook like a moderate document by comparison. The tcndcne’rnamong Western intellectuals has been to admire Solzhenitsyn’srncourageous battle against Soviet tyranny while condescendingrnto the very beliefs that made that battle possible.rnTo his credit, Norman Podhoretz does not take such an easyrnway out. Instead, he argues in The Bloody Crossroads thatrn”whether or not one believes in God, and whether or not onernbelieves that Solzhenitsyn is an instrument of the divine will,rnhis belief has produced those ‘clear effects’ to which WilliamrnJames pointed as the ‘pragmatic’ test of a genuine religious experience.”rnPodhoretz even concedes that the Russian novelistrnachieves a kind of superhuman selflessness in The GulagrnArchipelago, where he finds his prophetic vocation bv becomingrna vessel for powers beyond the mere craft of writing. ButrnPodhoretz fails to take what religious conservatives would regardrnas the next crucial step. As impressed as he may be withrnthe effects of Solzhenitsyn’s faith, Podhoretz is finallv unwillingrnto see it as an end in itself, much less the chief end of life. It isrnthis desire to enjoy the fruits of religion without embracing itsrnroots that Eliot found most objectionable in the neohumanismrnof his old professor Irving Babbitt. Walter Sullivan makes muchrnthe same criticism of his Agrarian ally Richard Weaver. Suchrnmedieval Catholic moralism (Anglican in Eliot’s ease, Romanrnin Sullivan’s) marks the extreme end of the paleoconservativernsjjcctrum.rnOf all the critics on the Old Right, the one who most infuriatedrnneoeonscrvatives was M.E. Bradford. Born in FortrnVvbrth, Texas, in 1934, Bradford was ten years younger thanrnWalter Sullivan and 16 years younger than Russell Kirk. Inrn1968, he took his Ph.D. at Vanderbilt, where he had studied underrnSullivan, Donald Davidson, and Thomas Daniel Young.rnDuring a career of a quarter century that ended with his deathrnill the spring of 1993, Bradford made substantial contributionsrnto the fields of rhetoric, constitutional law, and political theory.rnI le was a Burkean traditionalist and a fervent disciple ofrnRichard Weaver (who has been called the Saint Paul of thernVanded^ilt Agrarians, too young to have been one of the originalrn12 but the most effective evangelist for their position). Arnstates’ rights Southerner, Bradford supported George Wallacernfor President and had the temerity to suggest that the downfallrnof the American Republic began with Abraham Lincoln’s effortsrnto save it. If being a conservative means preserving the statusrnquo, Bradford was proud to call himself a reactionary.rnWhat was needed was a willingness to turn back the clock. Unfortunately,rnthe neoeonscrvatives would turn it back no fartherrnthan the Cold War 50’s. Bradford would have gone them atrnleast a century better.rnWhen word got around Washington in 1981 that the newrnPresident was likely to name Bradford to be head of the NationalrnEndowment for the Humanities, a coalition of Republicanrn”moderates” and neoeonscrvatives (including NormanrnPodhoretz) organized to oppose his appointment. The anti-rnBradford camp closed ranks around a thoroughly respectablernneoeonservative Democrat, the Brooklyn native William Ben-rn20/CHRONICLESrnrnrn