“progressive” the professor the more he apes the clothes, habits,rnwords, and sounds of the young. Young men no longer emulaternmature men; but since it is in the nature of youth to emulate,rnthey emulate the customs and the clothes of the barbarians theyrnsee, often through their determined cult of ugliness. In sum,rnthere is a culture of juvenility, while there is no such thing as arnjuvenile civilization. There cannot be. Civilization calls forrnmaturity, and our culture now is largely puerile—consider onlyrnthat the majority of movies and records are made for teenagernconsumers. This kind of cultural rot has pervaded the nationalrneconomy—the so-called material basis of our society. As reportedrnin the New York Times last year, four of the five most successfulrnstocks of the previous six years were Coca-Cola, Pepsico,rnMotorola, and Disney, producers and promoters of juvenilernslurping and of puerile entertainment, i.e.. Fizz, i.e., the YouthrnCulture. Three of the principal “losers” were IBM, Westinghouse,rnand Ford. This tells us something about where not onlyrnAmerican cidture but American industry is going, or not going.rn(Eight months later I read a column in the Times by WilliamrnSafire, who, a proponent of “free enterprise,” attacked thosernwho object to turning the Virginia battlefields of the Civil Warrninto a great Disney theme park and entertainment center.rnSafire is a Republican, a “conservative,” and a self-proclaimedrn”Man of the Right.”) Civilization means the restriction of manyrna “freedom.” When will our newfangled — and many of thernnot-so-newfangled —”conservatives” and “libertarians” everrnlearn? . . .rnIt is the—often masochistic—contempt of civilized man thatrnmarks much of “modern” culture in the 20th century. I will notrngo so far as to say that Picasso or Klee or Le Corbusier—and,rnyes, Frank Lloyd Wright—were neobarbarians (though the caserncan and will one day be made), even preceding John Cage orrnJackson Pollock or the ghoulish Warhol and that example of anrnoxymoron, the Museum of Primitive Art; they were surely opponentsrnnot of culture but of civilization. (I read that WoodyrnAllen is a “cultural icon.” Perhaps, but is he an emblem of civilization?)rnWe live in a society where the term “middle class” has lostrnall of its meaning, since nearly everybody is “middlernclass” in one way or another, including criminals, who are nornlonger a recognizable or definable stratum of the population.rnThe crime rate rises rapidly, yet the proportion of professionalrncriminals, professional burglars, professional robbers, professionalrnprostitutes actually decreases. Because of the breakdownrnof civilization, that once grey area, or no-man’s-land, betweenrnthe habitual (and recognizable) criminal and the common citizenrnhas now spilled over into vast areas of society, and I am notrneven thinking of the criminality of drug abusers. I am thinkingrnof the awful fact—and it is a fact—that large numbers of parttimernburglars and part-time robbers and part-time prostitutesrnnow regard themselves, and are not infrequently regarded byrnothers, as more or less normal and (to alarmingly many people)rnas more or less acceptable citizens. Why not, since prototypesrnof many of them are so portrayed in movies, television, etc.?rnWithin that enormous bubble of a national middle class there isrnnow a wide scatteration of barbarians; and the sense of community,rnwhich is inseparable from the relations of the sexes (thernsexual act in itself meaning the temporary formation of a communityrnof two), has changed. Now it is men and women not ofrnthe same “class” but of the same “culture” that seek each otherrnout, which is an interesting and even intriguing development.rnthough it has little to do with civilization, the decay of whichrnhas now seeped down deep enough to involve the relations ofrnthe sexes. For meanwhile, the insistence on women’s rightsrnproceeds apace with the loss of respect for them, which is extremelyrndamaging to civilization, since women are the naturalrncreators and protectors not only of their young but of the virtuesrnof domesticity and of privacy.rnThe American ideal of government includes the protectionrnof domesticity and privacy through the maintenance of enoughrnlaw and order to guarantee the safety of citizens so that they canrnprosper freely. But we have long forgotten that it is more difficultrnto be free than not to be free. That depends on civilization.rnIn 1848 Colonel Richard B. Mason drafted a proclamation tornthe inhabitants of California, after a treaty had ceded it to thernUnited States from Mexico. The United States was bringingrncivilization to California, with a stable government administeringrnequal justice. “The arts and sciences will flourish, and thernlabor of the agriculturist, guided by the lamp of learning, willrnstimulate the earth to the most beautiful production.” Well,rncivilization in California, as well as in the United States government,rnis in plenty of trouble now, not the least because of productionsrnof “culture,” not agriculture. Meanwhile “the arts andrnsciences” have become dependent on the government, withrnplenty of tiouble there, too, because of the absence of culturalrn”standards.” But this is not only a problem of standards; it is arnpractical one. Should government promote “culture” at all?rnThat is at least arguable. What is not arguable is that governmentrnmust protect civilization. When it fails to do so, government,rnas we know it, dissolves, with first anarchy and then barbaricrntyranny succeeding it.rnIt is possible to exaggerate the virtues of civilization. It is possiblernto exaggerate the virtues of Babbitts, but the idea of Babbittrnis now at least two generations behind us. Yes, there were toornmany Babbitts in this country at the time of Sinclair Lewis andrnCalvin Coolidge. But this was a powerful civilization then, withrnample and varied opportunities for the tending of culture, whenrneven the Babbitts, innocents as Sinclair Lewis described them,rnwere made to pay some respect to culture, usually through therninsistence of their wives. The yuppies are the grandchildren ofrnthe Babbitts; they are not innocent; they are “culture-oriented,”rnexcept that theirs is a movie culture. The New Yorker, foundedrnduring the Babbitt era, was supposed to have proclaimed that itsrnreadership would not include old ladies in Dubuque. Well, forrnsome years now the last readers of the old New Yorker, the remnantrnmembers of civilization, the true American Kulturtrdgerinnenrnwere, and still are, a few old ladies in places such asrnDubuque, while the New Yorker has become a soft-porn VanityrnFair, with a few cultiire cookies thrown in, but just about devoidrnof civilization, and with an emphatic presence of what its editorrnthinks is a tony barbarism.rnI read that Miss Susan Sontag has appeared in Sarajevo, arrangingrna performance there of Waiting for Godot. Wliat endangersrnthe lives of people there is a breakdown of civilization,rnnot of culture; but that is not my point. I respect the courage ofrnher impulse; but I question the clarity of her purpose. Wlienrnthe Papuans will again practice cannibalism —inspired by whatrnthey have seen of it on American television—will their victimsrnbe Waiting for Sontag? We face something new in the long historyrnof mankind. One can have culture without civilization.rnThe progressive notion of the great chain of evolution—fromrnprimitiveness to civilization to culture—has become laughable.rnJULY 2001/15rnrnrn