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Two cheers only: nco-conservative kingpin Irving Kristol has not only the Left to blame, He is distressed with the affluent, non-acquisitive professionals--and especially their offspring--who spurn Scarsdale and seek, by bureaucratic meddling, ""to improve 'the quality of life.' "" He is unhappy with the business community for letting capitalism become merely ""an engine for the creation of affluence"" (whereas, once upon a time, Horatio Alger stood for success with honor). Both the bias against capitalism and its weakness under attack stem, in his view, from the decline of religion: unreasonable earthly expectations have succeeded belief in a perfect afterlife. The responsible citizen has turned into a greedy consumer, the pursuit of happiness has devolved into a chase after ""all possible brands of pie-in-the-sky."" ""Where, oh where,"" asks Kristol, ""are the bumpkins of yesteryear?"" By his own accounting, they have--through mass higher education--caught the virus of disaffection from the intellectuals, always and inevitably hostile to ""the 'middling' nature of a bourgeois society."" Now, alas, its very pillars are crumbling. But 30 Kristol essays constitute more than a paean to God and Horatio Alger. There is also Kristol the crisis-buster, misrepresenting Russia, China, and India as responsible for ""the current food shortage"" and inveighing against enviornmentalism on the untenable basis, for one, that strip-mining causes only ""temporary disfigurement""; Kristol the Republican adviser (even in victory they lose, for lack of a positive program); Kristol the better-business consultant, who's against management stock options (""if they wish to become rich, they should go into business for themselves"") and in favor of shareholders' sharing management power. A generous assortment, in toto, of strong views, potshots, annoyance, advice, and concern--from a critic as invaluable to his foes as they are to him.

Pub Date: April 10th, 1978
Publisher: Basic Books