ment in that regard doubtful. Alas, whynappeal to the need for a leavening ofnaristocracy and constitutionalism in thenlife of democracy? That question wasnsettled at Appomattox, a century and anquarter ago, in favor of aggressive andnself-congratulatory democracy. IfnAmericans had any real connectionnwith their constitutional traditions, thennthe Straussian sophistries (which Rynnskillfully skewers as the source of neoconservatism)nwould not be officiallynenshrined. They would be regardednmerely as silly, eccentric, and inconsequentialnGerman abstractions with nonrelevance to American history or principles.nAnd, I fear, we suffer not only fromnbad doctrine, but from defects of character.nThe kind of spirit that compelsnme to buckle my seat belt and forbidsnme to smoke, that finds virtue in subsidizingnmy private decision to kill mynunborn child while forbidding me toncriticize any favored foreigner or minorityngroup from fear of hurting tendernfeelings—that kind of spirit is not Jacobinismnonly. It is, rather, the naturalnreflection of what has come to be thenpredominant and normal strain of thenAmerican national character. And it isnso far from what our fathers regarded asnthe rights and duties of constitutionalnliberty as to render their spirit unrecoverable.nThe absentee, abstract, andnartificial moralism that Professor Ryn soneloquently exposes is not anything new.nIt was already evident a century and anhalf ago in what Robert Penn Warrenncalled, in his book on the legacy of thenCivil War, the Treasury of Virtue.nThe great political pamphlets of thenWest that this work resembles (and Inmean political pamphlet as a complimentarynterm) were addressed to thenindependent gentlemen of every communitynwho were capable of thoughtnand action. But who is to read and actnupon this eloquence in a society ofnbureaucrats, proletarians, hedonists, andncon artists calling themselves politicians?nYet I should not allow my pessimismnto blight Professor Ryn’s accomplishment.nHe has identified for us, asnwell as it can possibly be done, ournmalady and the course of treatment wenmust follow to survive. The rest is up tonus.nClyde Wilson is a professor of historynat the University of South Carolina.nDifferent Womennby Katherine DaltonnDorothy Thompson and RosenWilder Lane, Forty Years ofnFriendship: Letters, 1921-1960nedited by William HoltznColumbia: University of MissourinPress; 208 pp., $24.95nIn 1920, when Rose Wilder Lanenmet Dorothy Thompson, Lane wasn33 and working in Paris, writing publicitynstories for the American Red Cross.nShe had started out in California at thenSan Francisco Bulletin; written biographiesnof Herbert Hoover, Henry Ford,nand Jack London; and she would go onnto be one of the highest-paid magazinenwriters of her day and a best-sellingnnovelist, as well as her mother’s impetusnto write the Laura Ingalls WildernLittle House series.nDorothy Thompson, the 27-yearoldndaughter of a Methodist ministernfrom western New York, had sailed fornEurope earlier in that year with ancompanion, five hundred dollars, andnlittle else. She, too, was writing publicitynstories for the ARC, and since shenhad come abroad to be a foreign correspondentnshe was chafing under thosenconstraints. Her first mention of Lanenin her diary is characteristically sharp;nshe observes that at the ARC “RosenWilder Lane [is] their chiefest writernwith her sob stuff.” Yet these twonwomen had just begun a friendshipnthat was to last, with greater and lessernintimacy, for the rest of their lives.nRose Lane — the pioneer novelist andnindividualist, opponent of FDR, andnearly supporter of Ayn Rand — thenwoman who in 1965 at the age of 78nwent to Vietnam to cover the war fornWoman’s Day, is now largely forgotten.nDorothy Thompson, on the othernhand, as the first woman to head anforeign news bureau, as the journalistnHitler had thrown out of Germany inn1934, as the New York Herald Tribune’snenormously popular thriceweeklyncolumnist, and as the secondnwife of Sinclair Lewis, is much betternremembered.nThough when they met Lane was inna position to act as her mentor,nDorothy Thompson was a hard workernand a resourceful reporter who lostnlittle time in establishing herself.nnnThompson had been in Europe only anlittle over a year when the EmperornKari made his final bid for the Hungariannthrone, and in October 1921 she,nalong with the rest of the Europeannpress corps, arrived in Budapest toncover the attempted coup. Finding thatnKarl and the Empress Zita were secludednat Tata, Thompson persuadednher employer and friend. CaptainnJames Pedlow, Commissioner of thenARC in Hungary, to take her in, andnshe dressed as a nurse while he visitednthe couple and offered medical help tonthe eight-months-pregnant empress.nAs Pedlow talked to Kari, Thompsonnstood behind a velvet curtain, takingnnotes. With that interview she had anninternational scoop.nBoth women being reporters andnwell traveled, their letters to each otherncover international as well as personalnmatters. Between 1926 and 1928nLane lived in Albania, a country shencame to love, and commented oftennon Balkan politics. Thompson’s specialnattention was for Austria and Germany,nand there is much here as well onnher relationship with Lewis, though (innher letters at least) she spared hernfriends the more painful details of lifenwith an alcoholic. Her husband wasnnot alone in his selfishness, however.nWhen in 1930 Lewis was awarded thenNobel Prize for Literature, Thompsonnhad just had their first and only child,nMichael. At the time of the announcementnRose Lane was in New York on anbusiness trip; she was living in thenMissouri Ozarks in order to take carenof her parents and was working hard tonarrange an independent income fornthem. Nevertheless, she agreed to delaynher trip home in order to stay withnfive-month-old Michael and overseenthe Lewises’ large Westport household,nthus freeing Thompson to travel tonStockholm and on to Germany andnAustria, a trip that took three months.nSuch generosity was typical of Lane,nwhile the acceptance of it was likewisentypical of Thompson.nDorothy Thompson had a great dealnof charm, and whatever her failings as anmother, wife, or even journalist, shenexhibited a serious interest in humannnature as well as a humorous ambivalencentoward her chosen life. Reminiscingnabout her early years as ansuffragette, Thompson favorablynquotes Lucy Price, the Phyllis SchlaflynDECEMBER 1991/33n