Roger’s Rules

The lessons of culture

The last two installments in The New Criterion’s year long series  “Future Tense: The lessons of Culture in an Age of Upheaval”  appear in our June issue, now winging its way to subscribers throughout the civilized world and available online now at  In  “The Fourth Revolution,”  James Piereson asks whether America is “on the verge of a new upheaval, a ‘fourth revolution’ that will reshape U.S. politics for decades to come?” There are signs, he suggests, that it is, that “we may already be in the early stages of this twenty-first-century revolution” that follows the earlier upheavals of the War of Independence, the Civil War, and the widespread cultural transformation wrought by FDR’s New Deal.  In “The Lessons of Culture,”I ponder some of the prerequisites of cultural confidence.  “History,” Walter Bagehot noted in his little masterpiece Physics and Politics, “is strewn with the wrecks of nations which have gained a little progressiveness at the cost of a great deal of hard manliness, and have thus prepared themselves for destruction as soon as the movements of the world gave a chance for it.” Both essays are freely available on the web.