Visions ofrnDisorderrnby Clyde WilsonrnThe Vision of Richard WeaverrnEdited by ]oseph ScotchiernNew Brunswick:rnTransaction Publishers;rn245 pp., $39.95rnRichard M. Weaver, 1910-1963:rnA Life of the Mindrnby Fred Douglas YoungrnColumbia: University ofrnMissouri Press;rn224 pp., $39.95rnRichard Weaver once wrote that itrnwas difficult to perceive the declinernof civihzation because one of the characteristicsrnof decline was a dulling of thernperception of value, and thus of therncapacitv to judge the comparative worthrnof times. Weaver, I think, did not have usrncommon folk in mind, for whom it is notrnat all hard to see when things are gettingrnworse. When the rich flee to guardedrnenclaves; when the middle class dissolvesrninto the proletariat; when the distinctionrnbetween citizen and foreigner is lost;rnwhen savage criminals go free; whenrnpopular culture is reduced to brutal trivialitiesrnwith no vestige of Christian civilizationrn—then we know that somethingrnis wrong.rnWeaver’s remarks were addressedrnrather to the post-Worid War II intelligentsiarnwho were bus laying out plansrnfor a New World Order. Wc have grownrnaccustomed to Weaver’s accomplishmentsrnand have to be reminded of thernheroic context in which they werernmade—how out of step he was with thernglorious dawn of global democracy thatrnformed the stuff of public discourse inrnthe 1940’s. The intelligentsia, after all,rnspent Worid War II safely in the llnitedrnStates, gaining in pay, prestige, and power.rnThey did not see the war as the nadirrnof Western civilization but as a glorious-rnIv elating opportunity.rnThat mam of us are able to perceivernthe moral reality of our times in our materiallyrnobsessed culture is due in nornsmall measure to Richard Weaver, thernmonkish scholar who died at 55, leavingrna legac’ of eight slim books, half of themrnpublished after his death. The scenariornof Western decline that Weaver analyzedrnin Ideas Have Consequences and Visionsrnof Order is confirmed by everv day’s newsrn(both its content and its form). He isrnnow accepted as a prophet and one ofrnour keenest social observers. He has attractedrnconsiderable attention (ninernPh.D. dissertations so far) and will attractrnmore. Besides the volumes in hand,rnthere are at least three other scholarsrnpreparing works on the North Carolinianrnphilosopher.rnMr. Scotchie’s collection, the mostrnvaluable contribution to Weaver scholarshiprnso far, should have been publishedrnlong ago. It gathers 16 previously publishedrn(from 1964 to 1992) commentariesrnon Weaver’s individual works.rnWeaver as rhetor. Weaver as Southerner,rnand Weaver’s legacy. Many of the authorsrnwill be familiar to readers of Chronicles,rnincluding Chilton Williamson, Jr.,rnAllan C. Brownfeld, M.E. Bradford, MarionrnMontgomery, and Thomas Landess.rnThe manv-faccted treatment confirmsrnour sense of Weaver’s enduring importance.rn(How many celebrated and highlyrnrewarded intellectuals of his time arernnow uttedy and justly forgotten! So itrnever has been and is.)rnMr. Young has written a thorough andrndetailed biography from letters and interviews.rnHe has also elaborated on thernbackground to and influences on each ofrnWeaver’s works, giving them a contextrnthat we previouslv had only in fragments.rnThe influences arc clear—the SouthernrnAgrarians, in particular John Crowe Ransom’srn”unorthodox defense of orthodoxy,”rnand Donald Davidson’s teachingrnof “language as a covenant.” We learnrnhow Weaver felt about the moral ambiguitvrnof war, and how his deep thinkingrndiffered from the gibbering Chicagornintellectuals with whom he was thrown.rnOut of this heritage and a lifetime ofrnhard study, the reclusive scholar fashioned,rnas Thomas Landess writes, “arnsplendid vision of order that no crew ofrnsleek upstarts can ever tear down.”rnClyde Wilson is a professor of Americanrnhistory at the University ofrnSouth Carolina.rnSwimming Againstrnthe Tidernby William MillsrnA Fish in the Waterrnby Mario Vargas LlosarnNew York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux;rn532 pp., $25.00rnMario Vargas Llosa, the winnerrnof the 1991 T.S. Ehot Awardrnfor Creative Writing, has fashioned arnLIBERAL ARTSrnDOMESTIC SERVICErnAccording to the London Weekly Telegraph last January, John Whitmore, who lives inrnWest Midlands, England, received £23,000 in damages “for the loss of domestic services”rnafter he successfulK’ sued the man who killed his first wife in a drunk-driving accidentrnfour years ago. Whitmore believed that his second wife was not equal to his firstrnwife, whose “thrcc-coursc breakfasts” and other housework he assessed at £23,000.rnMAY 1996/27rnrnrn