sive social ideology in our society.”nIndeed it is, as anyone who has evernspent time in the academy quicklynlearns. Capaldi sees in contemporarynliberalism a psychologistic view ofnman and society, one that presupposesnan individual motive behind all thatnexists. If there is injustice or inequalityn(regarded as synonymous), someonenmust be to blame. This is the mentalitynthat sees discrimination wherevernthere is group inequality. If Jewishnschoolteachers earn more than Irishnschoolteachers, it must be due to discrimination.nIt is rarely considerednthat Jewish teachers typically work innwell-paid public schools, whereasnmany Irish teachers choose to work innpoorly paid Catholic schools. All ideologuesnunderstand is the equation ofninequality with injustice.nHaving jettisoned an interest innequal opportunity, today’s liberalsnhave embraced a right to equality.nCapaldi is at his best in describing thenway in which affirmative action hasnbeen manufactured in this country.nUnelected bureaucrats, in a variety ofnadministrahve agencies of the Federalngovernment, have discovered rights innareas of the law where none previouslynexisted. More than that, they havensucceeded, with the help of the courts,nin enforcing these rights.nIt is the university that has beennhardest hit by affirmative action. Ostensiblyncommitted to excellence, thenquota-run institutions of higher educationnhave substituted equality for quality.nIt is a situation which, as Capaldinnotes, “was not imposed from withoutnby politicians but positively engineerednfrom within the university community.n” Those who have served on facultynsearch committees can testify to thenextent that race and sex have becomenprimary determinants in the evaluationnprocess. Let me correct myself. Inshould have said that race and sexncount only when there is a true positionnavailable. I have never met onenperson in academia who expressed anbelief in affirmative action and whondidn’t also try to pull strings (politelyncalled “networking”) for a friend ornlover interested in an opening. Thenunstated rule is “Affirmative action isnfine just so long as no one has anynpersonal interest in which gentlepersonngets the job.”nProminent among the new rightsncrusaders have been the U.S. Catholicnbishops. The first draft of their 1984npastoral letter on the economy assertednthat having a job was a basic humannright. While the second draft wasnsomewhat more moderate in tone,nprovoking Michael Novak to praise thenbishops for making “scores of changes,”nthe injunction that a job is a rightnremained unchanged. The logic thatnwhat is good to have entails a right tonhave remained as popular as ever. It isnthe Utopian cast to Catholic socialnthought that explains such logic. Thencommunitarian spirit that is the font ofnCatholic teaching inclines toward collectivistnresponses to economic need.nThis ethos, which may be good innitself, prevents them from realizingnthat the public good may often be bestnserved by allowing people to pursuentheir own interests.nMichael Novak is actively engagednin trying to change the way we havencome to think about the relationshipnbetween Catholic social thought andnbourgeois democracy. He is determinednto show that: (a) there is morenfecundity in Catholic social thoughtnthan we’ve been led to believe; and (b)nthere is a goodness of fit between thencentral teachings of Catholicism andnthe institutions of democratic capitalism.nAs any conservative Catholic willnadmit, this is a tall order. There can benno denying the influence of the Catholicnleft, which has, since Vatican II,nset the agenda.nCatholics of every ideological bentnagree that the heart and soul of Catholicnsocial thought is the principle ofnindividual human dignity. When juxtaposednwith the duty to love thynneighbor, we have a catechism thatnmakes human rights and social obligationsna religious imperative. The problemnis how to achieve these noblenends. Following Jacques Maritain,nNovak implores us to consider alternativesnto statist prescriptions.nState and society, as both Marx andnMaritain observed, are analytically distinctnentities. When the state seeks tondo for others what they can do fornthemselves, or what others can do forntheir neighbors, it nullifies social obligationsnby usurping the role of voluntarynassociations. More important, itndeadens civic spirit. A plural socialnorder is absolutely indispensable if socialnobligations are to be realized. Thatnnnthe state has failed to provide for thenpeople what they could have providednfor themselves—if only left alone—isnthe legacy of Ethiopia’s Leviathan andnother progeny of Marxist philosophy.nIf democratic capitalism is the way,nwhy the resistance? The hard evidencenthat capitalism works and socialismndoesn’t is not good enough. As long asnsocialism continues to be seductiventhrough its humanitarian appeals onnbehalf of the poor, the relative affluencenthat is Taiwan, Hong Kong, andnSouth Korea and the poverty that isnAfrica will not be understood as thentriumph of capitalism and the failurenof socialism. It is the rhetoric of thenliberation theologians that exercisesnsuch a visceral appeal to Catholic bishops.nThe case for democratic capitalismnmust go beyond statistical data tonreach those who don’t understand howncommunitarian values can exist in anmarket economy. Novak, fortunately,nis doing just that.nThe political institutions of democracyncan serve human rights only if wendon’t expect more from them thannthey can deliver. Once we place demandsnon them to settle every conceivablendispute and provide resolutionnof all human conflict, we arenbegging the impossible and insuringndismay. Richard Posner is rightlynalarmed about the toll which an overtaxednFederal court system has beennasked to bear in recent years. Posnernoffers both diagnosis and prescription:nhe is insightful, creative, andnpractical.nThe case-load explosion in the Federalncourts can be traced (as almostnevery other problem of the 80’s can be)nto the events of the 1960’s. The I960’snwas the era of rights, ushered in mostnvisibly by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.n”The last quarter-century,” writes Posner,n”has seen much legislative andnparticularly judicial creation of federalnrights.” There can be no doubting theneffect which the Great Society has hadnon increasing the load of the Federalncourts. From the rights of prisoners tonthe rights of welfare recipients, thennumber of proceedings has skyrocketed,nespecially at the appeal level (almostnall Federal criminal defendantsnappeal). Equality before the laws wasngiven new meaning as public interestnlawyers and activist judges interpretednit as meaning McGovernism.nAPRIL 1986/29n