Western LegitimacynHerbert R. Lottman: The Left Bank;nHoughton Mififlin; Boston.nSteven M. Tipton: Getting Saved Fromnthe Sixties; University of CalifornianPress; Berkeley.nby Daniel J. O’Neilnrlow many citizens can reject thenideological basis of a society before thatnsociety collapses? What happens to ansociety when its underlying beliefs,nmyths, and symbols cease to inspire?nThere have been historical periodsnwhen first the intellectuals and subsequentlynimportant popular sectors abjurednthe official ideology and soughtnalternatives. Such was apparently thencase with 4th-century B.C. Greece, 4thcenturynA.D. Rome, the late MiddlenAges, late 18th-century France, andnlate 19th-century Russia. Perhaps ansimilar phenomenon is occurring innthe contemporary West, as indicatednby the fact that first large numbers ofnintellectuals and later significantngroupings of the less sophisticatednhave become dissatisfied with thenGreco-Roman, Judeo-Christian, humanistic-Enlighteimxentnmix that supportsnWestern culture and institutions.nIt is at such a time of ambiguity andnchallenge that the sect or cult—inneither religious or secular form—presentsnits most potent appeal. Itsnnature, rationale, and clientele havenbeen perceptively chronicled by EricnVoegelin in The New Science ofnPolitics, by Ronald Knox in Enthusiasm,nand by Norman Cohn in The Pursuitnof the Millennium. Its characteristicsnare generally the same, though innvarying combinations. Thereiis a rejectionnof the external world as materialistic,ncorrupt, and doomed. There isnthe sense of possessing a gnostic truthnMr. 0 ‘Neil is professor of politicalnscience at the University of Arizona.ndenied most mortals. There is an emphasisnon separating the tares from thenwheat and constructing a communitynof the redeemed in this world. There isnan apocalyptic sense of impendingndoom (“this age is crucial and now isnman’s last chance”). There is a rejectionnof nominalism and a demand for enthusiasmnand witness. To the degree that it isnsuccessful and provides a basis for a newnorder, a sect often evolves into a church.nThe routinization of charisma so poignandyndescribed by Max Weber occurs.nThe charismatics are replaced by bureaucrats;nenthusiasm is disciplined andnchanneled; a place is found for the lukewarm;nand the end is postponed indefinitely.nThe new church may then becomena target of sectarian schisms.nThere is a thread linking the Lottmannand Tipton books. It is the rejection syndromenthat spread from Western intellectualsnto the masses during the 60 ‘s andn70’s, as well as the subsequent attempt tonreinterpret and rebuild. It is the movementnfrom destmction to constmction.nLottman describes the milieu of thenFrench-centered intellectuals betweenn1930 and 1950, and notes their skepticismnof their ideological heritage andntheir flirtation with totalitarianism. It is anstory of conferences, manifestos, and pilgrimagesnto the latest Utopia, a snapshotnof the literati gnawing at the foimdationsnwithout concern for responsibility ornramification. The Left Bank is rich inncolor and vignettes, but it attempts litdenexplanation of what is portrayed. Tiptonnfocuses on a few of the less-notable casualtiesnof the 60’s who are attempting tonnnrestore order and meaning to their livesnvia fundamentalist Christianity, ZennBuddhism, or 20th-century Benthamismn. His book is American sociology at itsnbest. It deals with a vital question and isnboth descriptive and explanatory. Thenconnection between Lottman and Tiptonnis in their portrayal of the alienated.nLottman’s calculating intellectuals andnTipton’s aging hippies had been in revoltnagainst the middle-class world that nurturednand rewarded them. Most of themnsought a sectarian response. Havingnquestioned the traditional basis of order,nmany were confronted with the need tonrebuild. The slogans of the 60’s, ofncourse, proved ephemeral. Each of Tiptonn’s movements—^while rejecting traditionalnquestions and answers—did involventhe cult of the leader, a new emphasisnon discipline, a search for meaningnand community, and a reinterpretationnof work that resurrerted the muchdisparagednProtestant work ethic. Eachnmovement, in terms of its emphasis, wasnconstmctive.nInteresting as the two works are, whatnis probably more fiindamental than thenstory of French intellectual fads, or sectariannattempts at salvation, is the unexaminednexplanation for the rejection ofnthe traditional belief pattern. Why atnthis particular time did the old beliefs failnto motivate and to demand affection?nWhy did so many French intellectuals rejectnan indigenous solution to the problemsnof a generation? Why did Tipton’snsubjects turn to Buddhist monasticismnrather than to their own Christian asceticism?nWhy didn’t his extreme fundamentalistsnfind solace in mainstreamnProtestantism? Insights that attempt tonaccount for the decline of belief must benspeculative, but it would seem that therenare a nimiber of factors that, collectively,nhave contributed to the apostasy of ournage and the search for alternatives. ThenGreco-Roman, Judeo-Christian, humanistic-Enlighteimicntnmix has prob-nM ^ ^ I H I SnFebruary 19^3n