missing from the work of Robert Frostnand Ezra Pound. The three writers arenplayed off of one another in an instructivenfashion. Frost is for Montgomerynthe great equivocator; and Pound anstrange variety of liberal Utopian — atnleast until he discovered that knowledgenwas not enough, that the Renaissancenwas flawed at its core, had investedntoo much of human hope in thenimage of a salutary city. Montgomery’snoverviews of these two poets are persuasive.nMoreover, for some of us theynhelp to clear avyay difficulties. Frost asnpublic man often affected more thannguarded epiphanies, even recommendingnsomething close to Christian orthodoxynto his friends. But for Montgomery,nFrost is usually a poet like EdgarnAllan Poe — the “modern autonomousnand alienated man.” Frost fights shy ofnasking too much of his metaphors andnof reaching toward those meanings thatnthe heart desires to find. Montgomerynbelieves he is too Socratic. His reservationsnrecall the early comment of YvornWinters on Frost as “spiritual drifter.”nThey do not account for everythingnFrost wrote, but do point to a difficultynwith his characteristic strategy. ConcerningnMontgomery’s assessment ofnEzra Pound, even a small caveat isninappropriate. For Pound was alwaysnan American who had no home-placenin his country — a defender of thengreat traditions of the West who couldnnot participate in most of them. Likenmost moderns, he invested too muchnof himself in an imaginary future.nAleksandr Solzhenitsyn is the absolutenantitype of Pound. The Russiannnovelist, following the established Orthodoxntradition, condemns the pridefulneffects of Renaissance and Enlightenmentnprogressivism on the West,ntheir glorification of man and his abilitynto solve his own problems. Furthermore,nSolzhenitsyn, as in his 1978nspeech at Harvard University, denigratesnreason as a false idol and thenworship of science as alchemy — anninfernal magic, dangerous to the soulsnof those it touches. In experiencingnCommunism from Lenin to Stalin tonAndropov, the Russians, Solzhenitsynnbelieves, have had a chance to reachnthe bottom and to see how empty is thenmodern spirit: that it is a measure ofnwhere related statist arrangements willntend, once they have run their course.nIn an extraordinary essay Montgomeryncompares Solzhenitsyn to the NashvillenAgrarians who came together innI’ll Take My Stand. The analogy isnperceptive. For reasons that have to donwith why Richard Weaver, Solzhenitsyn,nand Donald Davidson all appearnon his list of prophets, Montgomerynreacts as he does to Cleanth Brooks,nEzra Pound, Robert Frost, and EricnVoegelin. For Montgomery is, in all ofnhis openness, a fierce traditionalist andnno part of the secular right, despite hisndeep suspicion of omnicompetent government.nThere is some evidence that,nlike Solzhenitsyn, he is more concernednwith the harm that may bendone by a secular American right thannhe is with Marxist ingenuity still functioningnin the civilized world.nAfter warning against the attractionsnof mere repose, mere submission tonwhat is providential, Marion Montgomerynconcludes his tribute to thosenwho have educated him on a pious,naccepting note, thankful for the givensnin his life. The imagination of the artistnfeeds on providential things; but henreminds us that it is by choice that wendefend or neglect particular positions,nrespecting what others have achievednby protecting their “self-ordering” andnthe “substance” it reveals: what willncome of it once we have appropriatednits excellence in what we do.nM.E. Bradford is a professor ofnEnglish at the University of Dallas.nBeyondnVictimologynby fames P. DegnannThe Content of Our Characternby Shelby SteelenNew York: St. Martin’s;n175 pp., $15.95nShelby Steele’s The Content of OurnCharacter, a collection of essays, isnmainly an attack on affirmative action,nblack separatism, and other such programs,npolicies, and trends that flourishnin American universities and thatnSteele opposes, first of all, because henregards them as racist. By virtue solelynof race, these programs reward blacksnand other minorities and punish whitesnnn— for example, by awarding jobs andnuniversity admissions to blacks, whilendenying them to whites. Race, Steelenbelieves, should never be “the sourcenof power, privilege, status, or entitlementnof any kind.”nBut Steele contends further thatnsuch programs are counterproductive.nGenerated by white guilt, by the desirenof whites to redeem themselves fromnthe imaginary guilt of participating innthe long, sad history of the oppressionnof blacks by whites, these programs, henargues, derive from the notion thatnbecause blacks have suffered, becausenthey are “victims,” they are thereforen”different,” “special,” and “unique”nbeings for whom “normal standardsnand values do not automatically apply.”n”With lower test scores and highnschool grade point averages thannwhites,” blacks are admitted to universitiesnand, once there, are accordednprivileges that university administratorsnwould never allow white students.n”Administrators would never givenwhite students a racial theme dormnwhere they could be ‘more comfortablenwith people of their own kind,'”nSteele writes; yet this is the sort ofnconcession administrators routinelyngrant to demanding black students.nAnd to what end? After twenty years ofnaffirmative action programs and blacknseparatist policies, of “Black studiesndepartments, black counseling programs,nAfro-houses, black themendorms, black homecoming dances,nblack graduations, and ethnic food innthe cafeterias,” blacks in Americannuniversities are worse off than beforenthe programs and policies began.n”Black students have the highest dropoutnrate (70 percent nationally) andnthe lowest grade point average of anyngroup in American universities,” accordingnto Steele. And despite extraordinarynefforts to recruit black studentsninto the universities, black enrollmentnhas dropped considerably since thenmid-1970’s. “There are more youngnblack men in prison than in college,”nSteele reminds the reader.nWhat is to be done? We mightnbegin, Steele suggests, by repudiatingnthe reverse racism of affirmative actionnand black separatism, not only becausenthese are unfair to whites but becausenthey are patronizing and demeaning tonblacks: “Such policies have the effectnof transforming whites from victimiz-nMAY 1991/33n