Blaming the Sixtiesrnby Paul Gottfriedrn”In dirt and darkness hundreds stink content.rn—^Alexander PopernThe Dream and the Nightmare:rnThe Sixties’ Legacy to thernUnderclassrnby Myron MagnetrnNew York: William Morrow;rn320 pp., $23.00rnDespite the hype that welcomed thisrnbook—gushing praise in the WallrnStreet Journal and National Review and arnbash hosted by the Kristols for thernBradley Foundation—Myron Magnet’srnstudy of American pohtical culture isrnsurprisingly sound. The reasons the neoconservativesrnshowcased this work arernobvious: namely, their shared backgroundrnwith the author and his talkrnabout “values,” something neocons havernmade lucrative public careers in pushing.rnFor most of these people, all questionsrnconcerning the best possible governmentrnhave been resolved in favor of a federallyrncentralized welfare state throughrnwhich they and their progeny can enrichrnPaul Gottfried is a professor ofrnhumanities at Elizabethtown Collegernin Pennsylvania.rnthemselves. What remain unresolvedrnfrom this perspective are exactly whatrnteachings the democratic welfare staternshould be instilling in the course of managingrnour lives and incomes. Of course,rneven this politicized question of “values”rnno longer really matters, sincernthe managerial welfare state that hasrnovertaken America encourages habits ofrnservility and brooks no obstacles to itsrncontrol of a captive public. It cannotrnbecome the instrument of republicanrnvirtue or of individual responsibilityrnwithout abandoning its identity and, ultimately,rnits power.rnWhile this demoralizing rule hasrnsometimes been likened to that ofrnHobbes’s “mortal god” Leviathan,rnMagnet does not make the unfortunaternmistake of conflating them. The currentrnAmerican government, he reminds us,rnhas nothing in common with thernHobbesian state. That sovereign mechanism,rnconceived to maintain public order,rndid not glorify antisocial and deviantrnbehavior: it was intended primarilyrnto prevent people from devouring eachrnother. Magnet recognizes the ancientrnand medieval roots of Leviathan, particularlyrnits link to the godly magistraternchastising sinful violence. It was a conceptrnof political authority based onrnrecognition of man’s natural depravityrnthat Hobbes integrated into his “sciencernof politics.” The trick for Hobbes was tornexpound the political implications ofrnoriginal sin while appealing to a materialistrnanthropology dressed in geometricrnargumentation; this was in fact the fatefulrncompromise from which was born inrnpostmedieval Europe a still ambivalentrnform of modernism. That politicalrnmodernity typified by Hobbes, Machiavelli,rnand, more recently, James Burnhamrnwas not purely secularist, but ratherrna series of “scientific” adaptations of thernChristian view of a fallen human nature.rnIt was the radical Whig pamphleteerrnand philosophical empiricist John Lockernwho separated this materialist anthropologyrnfrom its traditionalist hinges. Byrndeclaring that everyone was equally thernbearer of a cognitive blank slate at birth,rnand by linking human conduct to acquisitivenessrnrather than to violent passionrnfor self-aggrandizement, Locke preparedrnthe way for the reduction ofrnpolitical life to economic transactions.rnHe also expounded social views that ignoredrnthe intractability of human evil.rn28/CHRONICLESrnrnrn