liberal—who sees both sides of the case, arguing first againstrnthe folly of letting the girl throw herself away on the tailor andrnlater against excessive severity, once it is clear she has made uprnher mind. The Countess is, undoubtedly, a harsh motherrnwhose obstinate pride has made matters worse, but the snakernin this garden is not a mother’s pride but a young man’s stubbornrnindividualism and contempt for social distinctions. Hisrnneglect of parental rights is a sign of his deeper desire tornoverturn society. One can only hope, for the girl’s sake, that hernhas not adopted the Jacobin view of marriage as a temporaryrnconvenience.rnThe marriage ceremony devised by the Jacobins was somethingrnless solemn than “Gentlemen, start your engines,” andrnthe Hebertiste procurator of Paris designed a pretty little divorcernceremony in which he congratulated the couple on theirrndecision to start a new life. The pendulum has swung backrnand forth several times in 200 years, but the leftward forth is alwaysrnfurther than the rightward back. By the 1970’s, it was beingrnargued that marriage is fundamentally incompatible withrnmodern life. However, the leftists who used to make the casernfor open marriage, “swinging,” group sex, child molesting, andrnincest, soon discovered that even if ordinary people do notrnhonor marriage in fact, they cling to the superstitions ofrnmonogamy even as they are concealing their affairs or explainingrna divorce to their children.rnThe superstition of marriage is more than sentimentality.rnWhat distinguishes us from our admirable first cousins, therngorillas and chimpanzees, is the human race’s preference for arnstable household and a statistical tendency toward monogamy.rnGeorge Gilder’s notion (borrowed from Lionel Tiger) thatrnwomen, in forcing men to quit their jackrabbit ways and settlerndown to a k-strategy of propagation, created civilization, isrnpure bosh. To the extent we are men we are family men, andrnthe species might better have been named Homo familias.rnOf course, the survival of our race depends not on goodrnjudgment but on appetites. In primitive circumstances it isrndifficult to get enough protein and fat in the diet, hence modernrnman’s excessive consumption of steak, and if sex were notrnthe other greatest pleasure, our species would have died out arnlong time ago. By way of insurance man has a greater sex drivernthan he needs, and the more virile and ambitious he is, therngreater his appetite for women, hence Edward O. Wilson’s descriptionrnof man as slightly polygenous. True civilization, so farrnfrom being inconsistent with human nature, is man’s fulfillment.rnIf primitive men protect their body with skins and extendrnthe use of their hands with chipping tools and throwingrnsticks, civilized men wear togas or three-piece suits; they designrncrossbows, chisels, and split bamboo flyrods. In this sense, culturernis hypertrophic in exaggerating our natural tendencies. Ifrnsex roles are only sketchily defined among hunter-gatherers,rngreat civilizations are all patriarchal and do everything they canrnto emphasize and celebrate the differences between the sexes.rnThe problem comes when civilizations succeed in producingrna leisure class with excess wealth. Under these conditions,rnmen start acting as if they had read Lionel Tiger. No longerrncontent with a fling or two, successful men begin to find waysrnof getting around marriage. They consort with prostitutes andrntake concubines, but that is not enough. We are all, so far asrnwe are human, marrying men, and if we cannot get what wernwant in the arms of one wife, we can always look for anotherrnand another and another until we exhaust our resources—andrnour energies. In the late days of the republic, the Roman upperrnclass went through a marriage crisis that we do not findrnremarkable today, simply because it seems to mirror our own.rnDivorce revolutions typically strike the very rich, becausernonly the rich can afford to waste their time on amours. Therernis no evidence to suggest that the Roman elite’s immoralismrnspread to the other classes, even to the provincial squirearchyrnthat was the backbone of the empire. But the great genius ofrndemocratic capitalism is that it brings upper-class degeneracyrnwithin the reach of every man, woman, and child. The role ofrndemocracy is faidy straightforward, since modern democraciesrnrefuse to tolerate distinctions of any kind—of class, sex, region,rnreligion, race. The political engine of democracy is alwaysrnenvy and resentment against anyone who happens to possess arnpeculiar advantage that cannot be justified by a universal rule.rnIf rich women can afford to pay a doctor to kill their unbornrnbabies, then poor women should be given the same opportunityrnto kill theirs. If Nelson Rockefeller can die embracing twornprostitutes, why cannot I, at least, have access to the PlayboyrnChannel?rnThe role of capitalism is somewhat more complicated.’rnMarx and Engels recognized the symptoms: ‘They haverndissolved every bond between man and man and replacedrnit with the cash nexus.” Capitalism is a powerful energy; itrnthrives on growth and must expand or die. That, in a nutshell,rnis the philosophy of the Wall Street journal. The most benignrnform of expansion is imperialism. Japan had to be chiviedrnopen by my wife’s ancestor to create markets for Americanrnbusiness, and in the 1950’s Dwight Eisenhower declared thatrnAmerican business interests dictated an expanding militaryrnrole in Southeast Asia.rnThose business interests ended up costing American taxpayersrna sum of money that is a substantial part of our nationalrndebt, and they levied a blood tribute on the young men of myrnown generation, just as they had levied even greater tributesrnupon my father’s and grandfather’s generations. Robert Mc-rnNamara probably regards the Vietnam War, which spelled therncollapse of the American political system, as a small price tornpay for affluence. The really serious victims of democraticrncapitalism are internal, for as much energy as goes into internationalrnexpansion, there is enough left over to devour all thernmoral habits and social institutions that are the capital reservesrninherited from a precapitalist world.rnCapitalism has to make money, and if capitalists cannot sellrnrefrigerators to Eskimos, they have to find ways of turningrnnoneconomic activities into commercial transactions. Oncernupon a time our ancestors knew how to entertain themselves:rnthey told stories, played musical instruments, and read, overrnand over, the few books they owned or could borrow. Boysrnplayed rude games, and when they grew up they hunted andrnfished with gear they might have inherited. Not much profit inrnany of that, but with a little social restructuring we were persuadedrnthat it was better to listen to phonograph records thanrnto play the piano, to watch the Super Bowl than to play softball.rnThe publishing industry could hardly get rich putting outrna few good books a year or republishing the classics; a wholern”1 am not criticizing the free market, or even big business, but arnpolitical-economic system in which the great economic interestsrnare able to buy governments and use them both to further theirrnown interests and to invade the private and social spheres ofrneveryday life.rn14/CHRONICLESrnrnrn