OPINIONSrnA Good Communitarian Is Hard to Findrnby George W. Careyrn”Never say No when the world says Aye.”rn—E.B. BrowningrnThe New Communitarians and thernCrisis of Modern Liberahsmrnby Bruce FrohnenrnLawrence: University Press of Kansas;rn271 pp., $29.95rnThis thoughtful and provocativernanalysis of the new communitarianismrncan profitably be viewed as a casernstudy in how liberahsm, not unlikernscheming alien forces in sei-fi movies, assumesrnnew and attractive forms to beguilernthe unwary. Put otherwise, the liberalismrnof the New Deal or of the GreatrnSociety was simple and straightforwardrnwith regard to both its purposes andrnmethods: a meat-and-potatoes liberalismrnunconcerned with “authenticity,”rn”cultural awareness,” “multilogues,” orrnany of the various adornments of newrncommunitarian thought that mask itsrnagenda.rnGeorge W. Carey is a professor of governmentrnat Georgetown University and editorrnof the Political Science Reviewer.rnFrohnen’s unmasking is important,rnand long overdue. A traditional, morernsensible understanding of community,rnone that takes its bearings from Tocqueville,rnhas long been central to conservatism.rnAs a consequence, certain of thernnewer communitarians, by simply callingrnthemselves communitarians, have foundrna receptive audience in certain conservativerncircles. (Amitai Etzioni, for instance,rnhas found his way into National Reviewrnand The Economist.) Even the rhetoric ofrnacknowledged conservative leaders is unmistakablyrninspired by the writings ofrnMary Ann Gordon, V^^illiam Galston,rnand Robert Bellah. But, as Frohnen’srnanalysis makes abundantly clear, the substancernand approach of new communitarianrnthought contrasts sharply with therntraditional conservative communitarianismrnexpounded by such stalwarts asrnRobert Nisbet and Russell Kirk.rnWhat are these differences? Thernmost obvious is that the new communitariansrnare no friends of decentralizedrnauthority or relatively autonomous localrncommunities. On the contrary, theirrngoals require the centralization of authority.rnAs Frohnen points out, for instance,rnthe local communities may wellrn”fail to teach us universal benevolence.”rnWorse still, they may lead us “to focus attentionrnand affection on those closest tornus,” possibly even undermining a beliefrnin “the essential equality of all humanrnbeings,” the most fundamental tenetrnof the new communitarian creed. Hencernthe need for an independent, centralrnauthority to curb such tendencies.rnFrohnen points to even more profoundrndifferences. The new communitarians,rnunwilling to recognize any universalrnstandards of right and wrong, mustrnoperate in the context of core values consistentrnwith this relativism, namely,rnequality and toleration. Indeed, takenrntogether these values provide the “goldenrnrule” of new communitarianism: wernmust tolerate others, as they must toleraternus, since we both have equally validrngrounds for our beliefs or ways of life.rnTheir primary end is a nebulous kind ofrnself-fulfillment. As Frohnen shows,rnGhades Taylor regards “Individual autonomyrn—following one’s authentic orrnspontaneously generated desires andrn30/CHRONlCLESrnrnrn