American welfare state and, more particularly, the dream ofnthe Great Community in America.nSeemingly nothing disturbs the growth and momentumnof the crisis machinery of the welfare state. Not economicnprosperity; some say the welfare state grows as fast undernboom as recession. A fourth crisis came along in the 1960’s,nthat of the war in Vietnam and on the campuses of majornuniversities in America. For some reason President Johnsonnspurned Great Gommunity as his landmark, preferring thenGreat Society. Perhaps an ex-schoolteacher was refusing tonviolate further the word Gommunity.nCommunity, with its powers of enchantment, is as dangerousna companion of poUtics as rehgion. We know thenhazards of the latter.n161 CHRONICLESnThe appeal of the idea of national community is undiminishednin our time. The symbols and impedimenta areneverywhere to be seen. Gommunity threatens to becomenthe battleground of politics, replacing the enemy in thisnrespect. Gommunity is more siren-like, more seductive thanneconomic growth and the size of budget deficits. To be sure,nin some minds the goal of national community includes thengreat corporations, as in some of the presentations of FelixnRohatyn, Robert Reich, and the New York Review. GovernornGuomo was presumably not excluding the corporatengiants from the American national family he described innSan Francisco before the Democratic Gonvention in 1984.nBy my count there were 23 references to the family; not onenaddressed to the household. America as community, family,nwagon train won the hearts and minds of those presentnalong with more than a few others in the listening audiencenat large. Within less than an hour’s stroking of the theme ofncommunity, he became a presidential candidate in all butndeclaration.nGommunity, with its powers of enchantment, is asndangerous a companion of politics as religion. We know thenhazards of the latter. For politics shares with religion ancapacity—not to be found in anything economic — forninspiring dreams of redemption. The passions aroused bynreligion and politics are from the same furnace in thenhuman heart. The state as theocracy repels most of us,nthinking inevitably of past and present instances of it in thenworld, in early New England, in present-day Iran.nThe same skepticism doesn’t seem to prevail, however,nwith respect to the vision of community. The original voicesnof national community — Dewey, Lippmann, Groly—backnin thd 1920’s were unfamiliar with the structure of modernnbureaucracy simply because there wasn’t any, or much, innAmerica at that time. We cannot blame them for theirnwell-intentioned but inevitably naive vision of the nationalncommunity as simply an effortless expansion of the village,nwith nothing else involved. The 1930’s taught them differently,nof course, when the administrative structure of thenNew Deal appeared under the name of community.nThe ideal of national community excites the imaginationnand seems to narcotize the nerves of caution. It is easy tonimagine citizens largely satisfied with a government committednto the common defense and the general welfare. It isnnnimpossible to conceive of a satisfied citizenry living in whatnis proclaimed to be a community. Expectations wouldnmount perilously. It would be hard to find a better recipe fornpermanent unrest.nThe idea of national community is supported by annassumed inevitability of a certain theoretical scheme ofnprogress. Democracy began, the scheme informs, with thensmall town, the church, the school, the family, and cooperativesnof one or other kind. But this democracy is gone andncan never be recovered. (One wonders at this point whatn3,000 reporters were visiting last winter in Iowa and NewnHampshire if not small towns meeting in churches, schoolsnand the like.) Democracy has passed through the purelynpolitical stage represented by our Constitution, through theneconomic state represented first by free private enterprise,nthen by government regulation, and is now reaching itsnhighest stage, national community.nIt is interesting that the same sketch of inevitable progressncarries a theory of the true center of democratic government.nIn the beginning, the center was the colonialnlegislature. Stage two was the passing of the center to annational Congress, under the Constitution. But, it is argued,nunder the iron discipline of the march of history, democracy,ntrue democracy, passed from Congress as center to thenpresidency. The President is, the script reads, the authenticncenter of national democracy, for he alone represents thenentire people. This theory of progress was doing quite wellnuntil yet another state was introduced a few years ago, onenthat appears to be flourishing in certain legal circles. NotnCongress, not the President, but the federal judge is the truenAtlas of modern democracy. Think how long, the apologeticsnsuggest, desegregation, apportionment, abortion legalization,nand abolition of school prayers would have taken ifnthese manifestly legislative acts had had to go throughnCongress and the presidency. For the federal judiciary theynwere the work of moments, by comparison. The federalnjudge, it is said, is untrammeled by the necessity of beingnelected, by the sweat and stench of politics, by any politicalnobligation whatever. Properly instructed by critical legalnstudies, he is the reincarnation of Solon and Solomon. Tonbring the dreamed-of national community into existencenthrough Congress and the presidency would take years,npossibly decades. A few Supreme Court decisions, and thenbasic work would be done. In any event, it is no exaggerationnto say that the mission of a centralized, unitary,nomnicompetent, national community has reached a numbernof notable law schools. Legislation, not interpretation, is thenproper business of the Benthamite legal mind.nAre there other currents of thought at the present time,ncounter to those I have been discussing? It seems to menthere are. It can hardly have escaped the attention ofneveryone that the present structure of the welfare state, thenframework of what is being called national community, isnthe outcome rarely of careful,, unhasty thought and contemplation,nbut rather of crisis and therefore crisis-thought. Itnwas the crisis of Worid War I that initiated the momentum,nthe crisis of Depression that established it, and the crisis ofnWorid War II that brought to its essentially present form thenidea of the welfare state or national community. Lookingnback 75 years it is hard to find a single major national eventnthat has not somehow furthered the cause of the central-n