for the great cultural achievements ofnthe past. The legacy we idenhfy withnDead White European Males is notn”professed” but profaned by academicsnobsessed with racial quotas, questionsnof “gender,” the control of thought,nand the suppression of free speech.nDoes anyone suppose that the rapidlynapproaching anniversary of Columbus’snfirst voyage will be celebrated as anheroic achievement and as a positivengood, or that the consequent introductionnof Christianity will be presented asna civilizing transformation for the better?nStand by for many learned analysesnof “the imperial myth of cannibalism.”nRoger Kimball’s Tenured Radicalsnaccurately assesses the present tone ofnacademic life at some of our eliteninstitutions. What’s more, Kimballncomprehends the implications of leftwingnpolitics and the deep need for anrejection of the past by the professorsnof it. To the national debate on thencurriculum and the canon, he hasnmade an important contribution.n/.O. Tate is a professor of English atnDowling College on Long Island.nHappy at Homenby Chilton Williamson^ Jr.nThe Quest for Community:nA Study in the Ethics of Ordernand Freedomnby Robert NisbetnSan Francisco: Institute fornContemporary Studies Press;n272 pp., $10.95nNniino changes have been made innthe text of the book for thisnprinting,” Robert Nisbet wrote in hisnpreface to the 1970 edition of ThenQuest for Community. Nor havenchanges been made in the new ICSnPress edition, though it does carry an13-page foreward by William A.nSchambra that attempts to locate thencentral argument of Quest in the contextsnof the intellectual climate ofn1953, when the book was first published,nand that of 1990. Almost fortynyears after the initial appearance ofnwhat ICS fairly calls a classic work,nthere remains not much to be said —nfrom a mere reviewer’s point of viewn— about the intellectual and historicalnmerits of its thesis, or about the generalnaccuracy of its description of social,npolitical, and intellectual developmentsnin Western history over the past twonmillennia.n”The history of a society,” RobertnNisbet writes, “can be considered innmany aspects. It can be seen in termsnof the rise of democracy, the fall ofnaristocracy, the advance of technology,nthe recession of religion. It can benconceived, as Tocqueville conceived it,nas the work of equality; as Actonnconsidered it, as the work of freedom;nor, in Bertrand Russell’s terms, as thenstory of power.” In the case of ThenQuest for Community, Nisbet’s perspectivenis closest to Lord Russell’s:nI believe that the greatest singleninfluence upon socialnorganization in the modernnWest has been the developingnconcentration of function andnpower of the sovereign politicalnStates. To regard the State asnsimply a legal relationship, as anmere superstructure of power, isnprofoundly delusive. The realnsignificance of the modern Statenis inseparable from its successivenpenetrations of man’s economic,nreligious, kinship, and localnallegiances, and its revolutionaryndislocations of establishedncenters of function andnauthority. These, I believe, arenthe penetrations and dislocationsnthat form the most illuminatingnperspective for the twentiethcentury’snobsessive quest fornmoral certainty and socialncommunity and that make sondifficult present-day problems ofnfreedom and democracy. Thesenare the essential subject matternof this book.nThat was not a reading of history thatnthe liberal and democratic powers, innthe aftermath of great wars fought onnbehalf of “the more abundant life” andnagainst “the totalitarian threat,” wantednto contemplate in the eariy 50’s, andnnobody who has read — or will read —nProfessor Nisbet’s fine book can evernwonder at that fact. The largest andnmost immediate question raised by thenappearance of the 1990 printing of ThenQuest for Community is, therefore, tonnnwhat extent does it provide a reading ofnhistory that the United States ofnAmerica — self-chastised, humiliated,nand dilapidated in the ensuing fourndecades — is willing to contemplate today?nIt is a question that WilliamnSchambra ecstatically embraces, rushingnin where angels fear to tread andnpoliticians only speak.nIf Mr. Schambra had chosen tonwrite about the events in Eastern Europenduring the past 18 months —nabout the aggressive puncturing ofnwindbag “ideologies,” about the renewednempowerment of the RomannCatholic Church and the labor unions,nabout the liberation of ethnic sensibilities,nand so forth — I would have beennwilling to agree with him that, sincen1953, there has been some evidencenthat Western society has grown awarenof the wrongness of the notion of thenomnipotent and omnipresent state andnthat, yes, at present a kind of historicalnmomentum has arisen against it. Instead,nwhat I read is this:nPresident Reagan’s politicalncareer, for instance, was basednon sentiments captured nicely inna speech from his 1976ncampaign, in which he callednfor “an end to gigantism, for anreturn to the human scale — thenscale that human beings cannunderstand and cope with; thenscale of the local fraternal lodge,nthe church organization, thenblock club, the farm bureau. Itnis activity on a small, humannscale that creates the fabric ofncommunity.” After becomingnpresident, he continued to insistnthat “the renaissance of thenAmerican community, a rebirthnof neighborhood — that is thenheart and soul of rebuildingnAmerica.”nSimilarly, George Bushnrepudiated the idea of nationalncommunity in his vision of “annation of communities, ofnthousands of ethnic, religious,nsocial, business, labor union,nneighborhood, regional andnother organizations, all of themnvaried, voluntary andnunique … a brilliant diversitynspread like stars, like a thousandnpoints of light in a broad andnpeaceful sky.nSEPTEMBER 1990/37n