Walker Percy (c) makes a point to Russell Kirk (I) andrnThomas Fleming.rnear time and history. By a “certain view of realit}'” I am speakingrnof the hnearity of history, the density of things and events,rnthe mystery and uniqueness of persons, a view that seems naturalrnto us but is in fact the cultural heritage of Judeo-Christianity.rnWliich is to say that I haven’t read any good Buddhist novelsrnlately. It is to say also that B.F. Skinner, who believed that allrnlife is a matter of stimuli and responses, could not possibly writerna good novel—though I believe in fact that he did try. It is to sayrnthat the novels of H.G. Wells could not possibly be otherwisernthan as bad as they are. And I have never read a Marxist novelrnwithout being overwhelmed by the thesis.rn—from Walker Percy, “Physician as Novelist,” May 1989rnCLASSICAL PAIDEIArnIt is said that one bright young theorist told his friends as he layrndying of AIDS, “I die happy, because I was infected by MichelrnFoucault.” Those words could be, may yet be, the epitaph ofrnthe humanities in the United States. Unlike AIDS, there is arncure for postmodernism. It will not come from quoting a fewrnparagraphs of Derrida, or Said, or Kristeva out of the context ofrntheir entire careers. It must come from returning to the richrnand lively and essential traditions of editing and commentingrnon the texts that are the basis not only of literary studies, but ofrnour civilization, from antiquity to the present.rn—from E. Christian Kopff, “Postmodernism, Theory,rnand the End of the Humanities,” fanuary 1996rnI know we cannot get back to the ideal of “classical” man withrnclassical learning, classical books, and a closed and classicalrnworldview in which everything is neatly and finally put in itsrnplace; “classical man” of this kind was living in quite anotherrnworld than ours, if he ever was alive. We have consigned the logosrnto computers, which make it incredibly effective yet unintelligiblern(safe, specific details perceived by specialists of details),rnand to the media, where entertainment successfullyrnmasks the t’ranny of money.rnThe study of humanit”s evolution in history—and this finallyrnis what classical scholars, for their part, try to do—may still encouragerna fuller understanding of our world, in which humansrnare confronted with each other and with reality, confrontedrnwith the strangeness of people and the strangeness of being, tornbe —one can hope—overcome by insight. The hope of Greekrnphilosophers that it is possible to speak with intelligence aboutrnwhat is real should still persist, and even a Hellenist will acknowledgernthat this must not necessarily be done in Greek . . .rn—from Walter Burkert, “Classics—Past Ideologyrnand Persistent Reality,” April 1993rnThomas Fleming (I) and John Howard (r) with IngersollrnPrize winners Muriel Spark and Walter Burkert.rnDECLINE AND FALLrnI cannot swear that we are completely on the other side of thernage of reciprocal misunderstandings and ignorance, but Irnwould venture that at this moment, in the late 20th centur}’, ourrndemocracies are closer and more similar than ever before. Onrnboth sides of the Atlantic, we face the same big social quesdons,rnrendered more acute each day by the extension of the nohon ofrn”rights.” The more wealth our societies produce, the more intensernbecomes the debate over how it should be distributed. Inrnthis realm, America has the same sort of problems as Francernand Western Europeans in general. The list runs from the urbanrncrisis (which in Europe has taken the form of a suburbanrncrisis) to the problem of how to pay for Social Security. Everywhere,rnpolitical democracy has become social, and in this domain,rnAmerica, in spite of her tradition of extreme individualism,rnhas the same problems as the European welfare states.rn—from Frangois Furet, ‘The Long Apprenticeship:rnAmerican Democracy and the Future of Europe,”rnJuly 1996rnWhat will Americans of 2030 think when they walk the streetsrnof New York and Los Angeles as we walk the streets of the 19thcenturyrntowns? We cherish the remains of the older towns andrncities and take pride in the lives that created those communitiesrnand formed the character of those times. It is hard to imaginernany thoughtful, civilized American of 2030 looking at thern1980’s and 1990’s and having similar feelings of pride. In fact,rnNew York and Los Angeles and other aggregations of mass humanityrnmay not even exist then in a recognizable way. Theyrnmay have imploded, with responsible law-abiding, self-reliantrncitizens fleeing their precincts, leaving behind masses of irresponsible,rnlawless, dependent proletarians inhabiting a nearwasteland.rnAlready masses of young men who are unfit for anythingrnbut a life of crime fill the big cities, where car theft is a riternof passage and where indiscriminate, drive-by shootings have reducedrnstreets to the condition of Beirut.rn—from Anthony Harrigan, “The Plains Statesrnand America’s Future,” December J993rnJULY 2001/53rnrnrn