observing the Bolshevik, National Socialist,nand sexual revolutions. OutgrowingnDemocracy is the work of anEuropean, friendly to the aspirationsnof the American people, but distantnenough and culturally conservativenenough to observe the blemishes asnwell as the accomplishments of America.nThat is, the work examines usnsympathetically, but with historicalnperspective and from outside rathernthan inside the accepted conventionsnof American thought.nIt is just such an approach that findsnAmericans, and probably any people,nmost resistant. Large numbers ofnAmericans will accept any totalist rejectionnof their society that can beninvented, because that is compatiblenwith their categories of thought. To benrequired to examine and expose thenflaws in these categories of thoughtnthemselves is an uncomfortable andnunwanted experience. But this kind ofnexamination and exposure is just whatnhistorians should supply. We maynargue forever about the merits of internationalistnor anticommunist policies.nThat is for politicians and journalists.nWhat the historian can and shouldngive is the underlying pattern. Forninstance, Lukacs points out tellinglynthat in 1942 the Luce publicationsndeclared Lenin to be perhaps the greatestnman of the century, but in 1953nthey theologized that Communism pernse was mortal sin. Lukacs’ point is thatnboth positions fell short of an intelligentnassessment of reality and of anprudentially responsible patriotism,nand that the flipflop is characteristic ofnthe American way of going aboutnthings.nTo tell Americans that their sentimentalncelebration of the family hasnbeen demonstrably accompanied by anmassive breakdown of sound domesticnrelations; that their vast expendituresnand pretensions in education and culturenhave been largely counterproductive;nthat their national feeling hasnoften served ideology rather than patriotism,nand that their generous internationalismnhas been merely a naivennationalism; that their prosperity hasnoften been synonymous with rootlessnessnand declining standards and theirnequality with conformity; and thatntheir religion has been more sociologynthan faith; or to point out the obviousntruth that the American national char­nacter has been at least twice destabilizednby massive immigration, andnthat each ethnic group has broughtnnegative as well as positive additions tonthe melting pot—none of this is whatnwe want to hear, whether we are radicalsndedicated to a vision of endlessntampering with the social fabric orn”conservatives” who think the sufficientnends of life have been found innthe marketplace and anticommunism,nperhaps held together by a syntheticn”civic religion.”nMany of Lukacs’ familiar historicalnthemes have been worked into OutgrowingnDemocracy: the immaterialitynof materialism and especially of economics,nthe destructive Wilsoniannstraitjacket of American thinkingnabout the outside world, the passing ofnthe bourgeois age, the falsity of “publicnopinion.” There are many new (atnleast to me) themes as well. These, Insuspect, are intended to offer historicalnperspective on the emergent establishmentnof “conservatives” and “neoconservatives”nand are not apt to pleasenits leaders. For instance: the Eisenhowernera was not the halcyon time ofnAmerican goodness, but a tragedy ofnmissed opportunities and the seedbednof later disasters and degradations;nbureaucratization of mind is as endemicnin and characteristic of thenAmerican private sector as the public;nour anticommunism has sometimesnbeen as shortsighted as our internationalndo-goodism — that is, thatnAmericans have often exhibited nationalismnrather than that older and betternsentiment, patriotism.nMy recapitulation badly slights thensubtleties of Lukacs’ account of Americannhistory in the 20th century, fornnearly every page is freighted withnsubsidiary insights. Now and then,nnaturally, the American who is largelynpersuaded will yet be provoked to annobjection. In picturing, correctly, thenpernicious effects of the devolution ofnAmerican Puritanism and the dilutionnof American Catholicism, for instance,nLukacs has left out of thenpicture the continuing widespread vitalityn(obvious in the South) of anhealthy, non-Puritan Protestantism.nAnd American literature, one cannargue, despite the decline perceptivelynidentified by Lukacs, has in some waysnreflected the Western tradition betternthan has that of jaded Europe. True,nnnthere is not much doubt about thenAmerican obsession with physicalncomfort—but I have never heard of ansingle other nation that has not shownnthe same tendency when it could benafforded. There might even be somethingnto be said for American naivetenand “exceptionalism” (as long as it isnnot messianic), when one considersnhow regularly the wisdom and maturitynof Europe has stumbled over thenbrink of disaster.nI happen to think Lukacs is correctnon nearly every point. But even if he isnnot, he has fulfilled the historian’snduty in the highest manner by expandingnour ability to understand ourselvesnand our situation. He is the friend whonloves us enough to be objective whennwe need objectivity. I began by indulgingnin the fantasy that I was chargednwith the education of the best of futurenhistorians. Allow me the teacher’s ultimatenfantasy: that I am charged withnthe education of future statesmen. Thenfirst thing would be to make sure thatnthe promising youth learned to ridenhard, shoot straight, and tell the truth.nThen, I would set them to master thenancient and English classics (includingnthe Bible) and the Founding Fathers.nWhen that had been accomplished, itnwould be time for them to begin tonunderstand their century, their nation,nand the task demanded by their futuren—which Lukacs correctly formulatesnas the development of a mature Americannconservatism, aimed at the intelligentnadaptation and preservation ofnthe substance of the West. For thisnstage of the education of future statesmen,nI can think of no better place tonstart than Outgrowing Democracy, ccnREINVENTINGnTHE WHEELna tribute to public educationn”… Robert Hayden—who oncensaid that ‘nothing human isnforeign to me . . .'”nEdward Hirsch innThe Nation,nDecember 21, 1985nMARCH 1986177n