In commemoration of sociologist Robert Bellah, who died last week, a link to William Schambra's 1985 review of his pivotal Habits of the Heart.
"A war is being waged today for the soul of American liberalism—a war that will be won by the side that manages to incorporate its peculiar understanding of 'community' into liberal doctrine. The two antagonists in this struggle might be described as 'national community' liberalism and 'small community' liberalism. The former strand of thought dominated the Democratic party and American public policy generally for the past five decades, while the latter strand is the contemporary heir of the New Left thought of the 60s. We are given a superb view of this intellectual contest in the pages of Habits of the Heart (University of California Press, 355 pp., $16.95)—a new study of the American character written by Robert Bellah and four other scholars—for in the final analysis, Habits is a profoundly schizophrenic book, precisely because it cannot choose sides in that contest." -- William Schambra, Crisis