English as fluently as his elder brotherrnused to quote Marx or Engcls in Russian,rnwhile the President of the UnitedrnStates is no more ashamed of acting likerna Tammany boss of a century ago thanrnhis running mate is ashamed of spellingrnlike one.rnThere is more to this than some Orwcllianrnforeboding that totalitarianismrnis destined to become the last custodianrnof democracy’s illusions, called politics,rnas it was the last custodian of the aristocraticrnillusions whose sum total is Westernrnculture. There is also the dawningrncertainty that the underlying realitiesrnhave been so twisted out of recognition,rndisfigured by time and warped throughrndisuse, that never again will they rise tornanimate the illusions as they once did,rnmost spectacularly during that centurylongrnEuropean summer.rnThe illusions of which 1 speak were,rnafter all, human inventions—no lessrnthan compassion, chastity or chivalry,rnthe categorical imperative or the steamrnlocomotive—of several epochs, notablyrnthe Protestant Reformation and the Enlightenment.rnAs any schoolboy with arnmental age above that of a Presidentialrncandidate knows, the American Dreamrnin particular was the philosophical issuernof those epochs. The schoolboy mayrneven realize that its seminal illusions ofrnliberty, equality, and fraternity began asrnideas sketched on the back of an old envelope,rnrather in the manner of Da Vinci’srnhelicopter. One need not dwell onrnLIBERAL ARTSrnJUST SAY YES’rnChicago’s Whitney Young HighrnSchool was the distribution point lastrnNovember for the recently formedrnCoalition for Positive Sexualitv’srn”Just Say Yes” how-to sex pamphlet.rnWritten in explicit language andrnaccompanied by free condoms, thern18-page manual is “pro-sex, progay,rnpro-lesbian and pro-choice,”rnaccording to Anne Elizabeth Murdy,rna spokeswoman for the coalition,rnwhich includes members of thernAIDS Coalition to Unleash Powerrn(ACT UP), Queer Nation, and thernEmergency Clinic Defense Coalition,rnas well as high school students fromrnthe Chicago area. The pamphlet usesrncommon slang to describe sexualrnpractices and offers tips on where tornobtain birth control devices and abortionrnservices.rnthe original test flight of 1789. Just becausernsome wing-flapping rascal of a flyingrnmachine does not fly should notrnmean that Newton’s Third Law is a mirage.rnModern helicopters do fly.rnAnd so did the illusions of the Age ofrnReason, eventually lifting their correspondingrnrealities above the millennialrnplateau of slavery. Even England, whosernprotracted isolation had enabled it tornanticipate many of these practical innovationsrnby a few hundred years—ratherrnas North America, similarly sheltered byrnthe Atlantic, proved itself the most suitablernground for their perpetuation—rnhalf-bowed before the genius of thernphilosophes as it had half-bowed tornLuther. Much of the rest of the civilizedrnworid, however, did not have thernblessing of shelter, offered by channelrnand ocean much the way Yugoslavia’srnmountains offered protection againstrnStalin’s armor. Consequently, it was thernAnglo-Saxon worid, rather than Luther’srnnative Germany or Voltaire’s nativernErance, that became the custodian ofrnboth the living practice of civic evolutionrn(see Burke’s Reflections) and thernrevolutionary genius of social reformrn(see Goethe’s Faust).rnThen a funny thing happened. Notrnonly did no one say “Look, fellows, thisrnhere machirre only flies in warm weather!”rn(or, for example, “This form ofrndemocracy is going to collapse as soon asrnsomebody invents something better thanrngunpowder, not to mention a weaponrnof mass coercion!”), but all research wasrnsummarily discontinued. The illusions,rncorroborated as they were or seemed tornbe by the realities of the century-longrnsummer, became the West’s axiom,rngospel, and code. If science had followedrnsuit and ended in Newton, thatrnfabulous, gentle summer would haverncontinued forever.rnBut science, whose own domain hadrnbeen shaped by the sociopolitical innovationsrnof which I speak, did not shutrndown the laboratory and the study oncernWilbur Wright’s flying machine flewrn852 feet in 59 seconds or once AlexanderrnFleming was knighted for the discoveryrnof penicillin. The republic of science,rnafter all, was sheltered by talentrnand knowledge, natural obstacles evenrnmore insuperable than oceans or mountains.rnNo people on Earth was betterrnsuited to curate the Anglo-Saxon traditionrnof freedom and the Continentalrnpassion for reform than the naturalrnphilosophers who inhabit it. And curaternthem they did—while the rest ofrnthe world sat still, clinging to 300-yearoldrnillusions about liberty, equality, andrnfraternity that in practice had long agornbecome irrelevant platitudes.rnUnmodified, unverified, undoubted,rnthese antediluvian relics of the Age ofrnReason were less and less relevant in arnworid where a bombing plane cost thernequivalent of 800 pairs of silk stockings,rna world where new means of mass communicationrnand new weapons of massrncoercion were rapidly reducing man tornthe level of a biological cell. Enlargingrnthe individual, by increasing his capacityrnfor self-defense against the encroachmentsrnof tyranny, had been the aim ofrncivilization since the Magna Carta. Thernnoble illusions of the French philosophesrnadvanced that aim. The reversal of thatrnprogress, which John Stuart Mill foundrnthe intellectual courage to anticipaternduring the balmiest days of that fabulousrnsummer, was accomplished in a fewrndecades.rnWhy? Because, as Mill observed withrnhis own eyes, no sooner were the innovationsrnof the philosophes consolidatedrninto a dogma than the West began tornmarginalize or persecute those whornwould challenge or rebel against it, forgettingrnthat the dynamic essence of therndogma was challenge or rebellion. ThusrnDarwin, who challenged the biblicalrnaccount of Creation, has not been challengedrnfor a century. Thus politicalrncorrectness, now for the first timernshamelessly called by its own name yetrnno different from the age-old, ostensiblyrnbenign “accepted truth” unmaskedrnby Mill. Thus Maastricht, unabashedlyrnsubstituting bureaucracy for democracy.rnEcce the human cell. Tyranny was itsrncontagion. Once upon a time Anglo-rnSaxon tradition made it resistant to lawlessness,rnteaching it to defend its whimsrnagainst the caprices of tyrants. ThenrnContinental paradox gave it further immunity,rnteaching it to rebel againstrntyranny, no less useful than the earlierrngift. But then it stopped learning, experimenting,rnthinking—while the aggressiverninfection became ever more aggressive,rnselective, sophisticated. Smallrnwonder that the cell is bound to end uprnas a specimen in totalitarianism’s experimentalrnward. Nobody has taught itrnto withstand the new tyrannies of thernbureaucracy, the media, the university,rnthe corporation. How can it withstandrnnuclear blackmail or produce a leaderrn48/CHRONICLESrnrnrn